14/12/2010

Since I don't have you (by Louise Candlish)

I am very much enjoying the novels by Louise Candlish. I had not heard of her until about 18 months ago, when I was offered her book 'Before we say goodbye' to review for The Bookbag. I liked it so much that I put some of her books on my wishlist, and was delighted to receive three for my last birthday.

It took me several months to start reading 'Since I don't have you' - my to-be-read shelf is packed with books, and sometimes I've wanted to read quick, light books rather than one like this which was longer, and (I guessed) quite thought-provoking and emotionally deep.

And, indeed, it's a moving book. Narrated by Rachel, it tells of her deep and long-standing friendship with the impulsive Jenny and the diplomatic Mariel. Each of them has one daughter, born within months of each other. By the age of six the girls - Emma, Daisy and Catherine - are becoming as close friends as their mothers are.

Tragedy is foreshadowed in the opening section of the book when Rachel, Mariel and Jenny promise to look after each other's daughters, if anything should happen to one of them. Sure enough, the unthinkable happens, although not quite in the way I would have expected ... and then life changes dramatically for all of them. To say any more would be too much of a spoiler; I started reading another review of this book after a couple of chapters and was most disappointed that the review mentioned what happened.

Much of the book is set in the Greek island of Santorini, amongst people whom I almost recognised since I have lived for many years in Cyprus. But it's the main characters who drive the book. The names and personalities are realistic, and clear enough that I had no trouble at all remembering who was whom. I felt almost as if I knew them; finding out what would happen next kept me reading often past the time when I wanted to be asleep at night.

The writing is very good, without too much description. There are some very moving moments when I had tears in my eyes, but mostly the emotional impact was inward. Overall it's a gradual story of healing and new love, and while the ending is a tad more abrupt than would have liked, it wrapped the story up nicely.

Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys character-driven women's fiction with a depth of insight.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 14th December 2010

1 comment:

Kaye said...

I like the way reality endured on this book, even when it brought to tears.