|Without You by Saskia Sarginson|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A throwback to the 80s, a teenage girl is missing, but only her sister still holds on to the hope that she'll return.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: July 2014|
Eva is 17 years old and missing following a sailing disaster. Most people presume she died at sea, but her sister Faith has, well, faith. And in fact, Eva is not dead, but she’s not safe either. Held captive on an island just off the coast, she is so near and yet so far from home, and with every day, week, month that passes, her desperation grows.
This is a really interesting book on a number of levels. Set in the 1980s, with the odd flashback to the 60s, you can alternate between knowing where you are in time, and forgetting you're not in the present day. It’s not so much that the technology referred to is old, more that it's rarely mentioned, and it's only items like hit songs and artists that anchor the decade. It was a mysterious choice as it's not so long ago for it to count as historical fiction, and it also is quite an unremarkable time - it adds little to the story so there's no real reason for it to be set then, but I suppose there's also no real reason for it not to be.
I also liked the parallel stories of Eva on the island and her family back home. It's quite a popular premise in books I've read recently, where you know someone has gone missing but you also know they're alive. In this case, however, the ending was unclear and kept me guessing. Finally, I thought the backgrounds of the different characters added an interesting dimension, from the au pair to the boys Faith befriends whose upbringing is far from her own.
Eva on the island was the most interesting bit for me. It was so vividly described that you could understand the torment she was going though, feel her get weaker and malnourished as the days went by. There were no loose ends in this part of the story, no unanswered questions of why she wouldn't have been able to plan an escape, because all the details are there, from the bindings of her hands and feet to the deep pit she is banished to when her captor needs to leave her alone.
It is hard to pin Billy down. His background explains his actions in many ways, and yet his breakdown seemed a bit too mild, almost as if he were flirting with psychosis in passing. I don't believe he would have remained in that stage for as long as he did, especially given the harsh environmental factors, and in a way it all seemed a bit superficial. His relationship with Eva, however, was more intriguing and indeed all the men in her life, from Robert to Marco, brought something to the story.
I enjoyed the book but it was a little longer than I felt it needed to be, and some small story arcs seemed unnecessary as if they were just there to pad a little. The core is great, but for my purposes the waffle was a teensy bit off putting, so I've docked a star for that.
Otherwise, I found it an unusual and engaging read, that I would recommend. Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica is actually longer but feels shorter to read, and if you like the sound of Without You, that should also appeal.
You can read more book reviews or buy Without You by Saskia Sarginson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Without You by Saskia Sarginson at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.