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Rebecca McCormick. Powered by Blogger.

Without You by Saskia Sarginson

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My friend Laura lent me this book when we swapped a bunch of our favourite novels last year. I was mooching around my bookshelves and thought I would pick this up. I found the premise intriguing and although I found it a bit difficult to get into due to changing points of view, once I'd read over half of it I was totally hooked and really interested in how it would end.

Eva is seventeen and lives with her mum Clara, her dad Max, and her little sister Faith. Eva has always felt like the odd one out in her family, but she doesn't know why. She goes out sailing with her dad a lot, and on one trip she goes overboard and washes up on the shore of the island just off the coast. She is rescued by Billy, an ex soldier who hears voices and who believes Eva has been sent to him specially. He won't let her go, though, and imprisons her in abandoned military buildings on the island, where they forage for food.

Meanwhile, Eva's lifejacket washes up on shore, so she is presumed dead. Max can't remember exactly what happened, but Clara blames him for losing their daughter and the two start to grow apart from each other. Faith, though, Faith believes that Eva is still alive and that she is on the island. No one believes her and the family start to think that they should move away from the area. Faith is bullied at school and is generally quite an unhappy child.

The point of view alters between first person parts from both Faith and Eva, both of which are very immediate and draw us into the action, and third person parts featuring both Max and Clara, which delve into the family's history and reveal things drip by drip. It's a really good way of writing a novel.

The book is set in Suffolk, on the desolate coastline which I've visited a couple of times, so I could totally imagine where exactly the family lived. I really like it when that happens - I like a strong sense of place in books I read. All in all, I give this a strong eight of ten. I'd definitely be interested in reading something else by the same author.


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