Friday, February 2, 2024

Book Review: The Last Days of You and Me

By Sara Steven

They didn’t know – when Winter gave way to Spring that year – that their lives were all about to change…

Marnie didn’t realise – when she stormed into a bookshop one day, demanding a self-help book – that she was about to make a new best friend.

Bookshop-owner Rae didn’t know she had been living like a shadow since her parents died. But then Marnie exploded into her life. And suddenly she realised things had to change… more so when she meets handsome nurse, Jack.

And when Forrest’s life is turned upside down by a fatal car crash, he knew he was being given a second chance, but didn’t know why. He thinks Marnie might just be the woman he’s destined to be with. But – as she discovers that she has an illness she may never recover from – what if it’s too late for them?

Can it ever be too late though? To make friendships that change everything. To grow, to change, to start again. Even – for two unlikely new best friends to find love at last…? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

This is a beautifully written tearjerker, and worth every single one of my tears! I’m not prone to getting sentimental, so that's saying a lot. 

I loved how the primary characters had stories that were intertwined with one another. Marnie can’t believe she’s stuck in a small-town, having to wait out her chance to travel and get back to civilization. But over time, she develops a friendship with Rae, the bookshop owner who would prefer to lean into her reclusive tendencies instead of branching out and enjoying connectedness with others. Marnie also runs into Jack, and while Jack is just some guy she has had some deep conversations with because she figures he’s just a stranger and will stay that way, he’s also recently taken an interest in Rae. Forrest is the jerk lawyer who Marnie has to tolerate, but the next time she sees him, he’s a changed man. He’s so unlike anyone she’s ever met before.

Despite some heavy moments that deal with illness, grief, and death, it was written in such a way that opened up a lens into how much (or how little) we choose to deal with the fact that death at some point in time, for everyone, is inevitable. It was sad and heartbreaking, but there was beauty in getting to see how each character deals with such heavy topics, especially those who are dealing with it face on. In the last semester of college, I enrolled in a death and dying course, and much like with The Last Days of You and Me, it was a total eye-opener. It made me less fearful and more appreciative of how different cultures celebrate and honor those who have passed on, with a better understanding, too, of the viewpoints about life after death, past lives, and multiple lives.

The biggest layer within all of it is love. Jack’s neighbor mentions the power of love and how its strength and integrity can do incredible and amazing things, which we see with the relationship shared between Forrest and Marnie, as well as Marnie and Rae. Love has the strength to move mountains and transcend past what we see or what we know of as fact, which I believe in wholeheartedly. The Last Days of You and Me reminds us of the power of love and what it can do, making it a five-star experience!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:

Debbie Howells’s
first novel, a psychological thriller, The Bones of You, was a Sunday Times bestseller for Macmillan. Four more bestsellers followed, including most recently The Vow, published by Avon. Fulfilling her dream of writing women’s fiction, she has found a home with Boldwood and her first title with them, The Life You Left Behind was published in February 2022.

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