Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review: The Lives We Touch

By Becky Gulc

‘In our lives we'll meet something like eighty thousand people. Most of them just in passing, sitting beside them on a bus, buying a latte from them, overtaking them too fast on the motorway. Others will become friends, lovers, family. Some will stay in our lives forever, and some will be swept away by the flow of life. But we touch all of these people in some way, tiny or huge, making more of a difference that any of us can imagine.

Rosie is in a coma, unable to reach out to the world or communicate. She only has one chance to make it back to consciousness - but she's slipping deeper and deeper into a maze of memories and it's going to be hard to find her way out.

Daisy, Rosie's sister, is devastated by the accident. She's always been the good, dependable girl to Rosie's free spirit - but some of Rosie's attitude seems to be creeping into Daisy's dull existence. Can Daisy find the courage to be herself?

It only takes one tiny step to change a life forever...’ (Synopsis courtesy of Little, Brown UK)

One of my favourite novels of last year was the memorable and uplifting How To Be Happy by Eva Woods so I was more than keen to read her latest novel, The Lives We Touch. (US title: The Inbetween Days.)

This novel is a story of two sisters, Rosie and Daisy. When Rosie is hit by a bus one day she is left in a coma, seemingly isolated from family and friends there are question marks over whether this was an accident, or a suicide-attempt. Despite a clear falling out Daisy is devastated by the accident and her life is turned upside down, she is determined to find out more about Rosie’s recent life and what may have driven her to think she had no way out. And with no one knowing who the mysterious Luke is that Rosie called out for just after the accident Daisy has her hands full.

Just like Eva’s previous novel I was immediately immersed in her writing. It begins with a captivating opening chapter on the lives touched by Rosie’s accident, not those who knew her but witnesses and those delayed in their everyday lives by what happened. The narrative then switches between Rosie and Daisy.

Rosie, in her coma, is experiencing locked-in syndrome –she wants to remember, she wants to wake up, make people know she can see them and hear them, she just can’t. Cue several people from Rosie’s past who help her to remember what she needs to through visiting her memories. Through these we learn more about Rosie’s past, her relationships, pivotal moments leading her to where she is now. She’s a complex character, not instantly likable, but I grew quite attached to her in the end. I admit the steps back in time took a bit of getting used to but they soon felt natural to the story.

Daisy’s story remains in the present; a kind caring individual that strives to please but has perhaps forgotten to think about what she wants from life along the way. I loved Daisy’s story!

This is another fabulous novel by Eva and yet again a novel I feel I will remember and recommend for a long time to come. It’s moving, thought-provoking, and had me gripped until the very end. If you haven’t tried Eva Woods yet please do!

Thanks to Sphere for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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