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Release Date: February 12, 2019
Genre: Women's Fiction
Actual Rating: 4 stars
I found With or Without You to be a relevant and original read, one that I had a hard time putting down when I needed to deal with life. Shari Low has managed to write a beautiful story that has just as many laugh-out-loud moments as it does tearful ones. And because of this, I really enjoyed the story. This book illuminates second guessing oneself. It shows the trials and tribulations or marriage and if a person made the right choice and it is done so in a manner that is 100% believable. While I am glad I am not standing in Liv and Nate's shoes, I am so happy to have been on the journey with them.
I have only read a few of the authors books to date but you can be certain that I will be reading many more of them in the future. Her books are very believable and interesting and it's very hard not to fall in love with them. I honestly cannot wait to see what she writes next! I recommend this one with all my heart.
Read an Excerpt
I’d been planning for a while to introduce Richard to the group tonight, but the fact that Nate was bringing his new girlfriend made me even more determined that yes, he was coming, and no, he wasn’t faking bloody tuberculosis to get out of it.
After shift, I dashed home, showered and poured myself into a size14, trusty, black dress and decided to forgo my super strength, girdle-style knickers. Richard wasn’t a fan. Said that removing them took up valuable energy required for the next stage in the process. Bugger it, I would just have to breathe in all night and hope there was nothing irresistible on the buffet.
By the time Richard arrived, I was on my second glass of Lambrusco and starting to feel a tad light-headed. I blamed Chloe. If she were here, I’d be fine, but her shift didn’t finish until eight and then she was going straight to the party. She’d been taking on loads of extra shifts since she’d split with Rob. I poured a third glass. Come on, no one met up with their ex and his new partner, or introduced their new boyfriend to their ex, on just two glasses of plonk. Maybe a bottle and a straw would be a better idea.
‘Right let’s go then,’ I chirped, with completely fake enthusiasm, before my last shred of confidence deserted me and I ended up staying in with a bottle of wine and watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.
Okay, I could do this.
It would be fine.
We were all adults.
The mantra went over and over in my head all the way there.
‘Nervous about introducing me to Nate?’ Richard asked in his usual forthright way.
‘No, not at all.’ It was a lie, but I didn’t want my anxiety to reignite his fake tuberculosis plan, so it was better to play it cool.
As always, Sasha had gone full on with an elaborate celebration. Somewhere along the line, she’d transformed from a fellow student with a partiality for Pot Noodles and being both funny and offensive when fuelled by cider, to a business studies teacher, who had a real, grown up, fully functioning life. She knew things that I’d never understand, like how to get red wine stains out of carpets and how to maximise and spend the points on those supermarket loyalty cards. That kind of adult stuff was all a blur to me.
We were greeted at the door of the restaurant with glasses of champagne, and I tried to ignore the slight lurch this caused in my stomach, courtesy of a flashback to the last time I drank expensive bubbly stuff, in a posh hotel at New Year.
That already seemed like a lifetime ago.
‘Liv, you’re here!’ Sasha said, throwing her arms out and hugging me, making balancing the champagne a feat of dexterity.
‘I am! Happy birthday, gorgeous!’ I said, giving her a kiss. Gorgeous was an understatement. She was the perfect, stunning vamp in a figure-hugging, red Hervé Léger dress. She always did know how to make an impact.
If her outfit hadn’t taken my breath away, the decor in the room would have sealed the deal. Curtains of white lights were draped in every window, swing music was playing in the background, glittering chandeliers dropped from the ceiling, and the leather banquettes surrounded dark wood tables with magnificent centrepieces. It was beyond beautiful.
Sasha’s non-too subtle cough and head tilt in Richard’s direction snapped me back to the present company.
‘This is Richard. Richard meet Sasha.’ They shook hands, but before Sasha could chip in with any kind of sarcastic comment or intrusive question, I jumped back in with, ‘First, I’ve to tell you again that Ida said she’s absolutely gutted that she’s not here.’
‘Och, we’ll miss her,’ Sasha said. Sometimes it felt like Sasha was closer to my mother than I was. Two Alpha, rebellious personalities that had clicked the moment they met. The first time I took Sasha home, Ida had insisted we venture out on a pub crawl, which culminated in them doing a duet to ‘Suspicious Minds’ in an all-night café, over cream-piled lattes surreptitiously infused with vodka. To Ida’s horror, Sasha’s party had coincided with a Mediterranean cruise she’d had booked for months. She’d consoled me with, ‘Oh, darling, I know it won’t be the same without me, but try to enjoy yourself even though I’m not there.’
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