Wendy’s life can be neatly divided into two: before and after.
Before her husband’s car accident, it was just the two of them. They never took the train at rush hour, and they avoided their noisy neighbour upstairs. Naveem devoted his spare time to vintage train models, and Wendy to re-reading the well-thumbed pages of her favourite books. It didn’t matter what others thought about their small, quiet life together – they were happy.
After the coma, Wendy barely recognises herself. When she’s not holding the love of her life’s hand, accompanied by the beep of the life-support machine, who is she? The nurse tells her to talk to Naveem – that he can still hear her – but she doesn’t have a single thing to say.
Suddenly Wendy can’t bear the silence. She needs something, anything, to talk to Naveem about. Suddenly she’s losing herself at fairgrounds packed with crowds and candyfloss, she’s at the airport, waiting for the whoosh of the planes as they take off, making friends with the neighbour she has spent over a decade avoiding.
Knowing that every breath her husband takes might be his last, Wendy has no choice but to try to carry on without him. Should she feel guilty about living while his life is on pause? And when – if – he wakes up, will he still love the woman she has become?
This poignant, moving and uplifting tale is for anyone who has taken life for granted, neglected to say ‘I love you’ to their loved ones, or forgotten to find happiness in the little things. Perfect for fans of Josie Silver, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Jojo Moyes.
Mrs Dixit (Wendy) and her husband have no children and live a quiet but relatively happy life. I really felt for her when she gets the awful news of her husband being involved in an accident. She doesn’t have much in the way of family. She has a sister who she doesn’t have a great deal to do with and due to the culture differences between her and Naveem, they no longer speak to his family.
To be pretty much on your own without a good support system, I had every empathy for Wendy. It makes you think how reliant we can be on our partners and Wendy has to start doing things for herself of which she had always been happy to let Naveem be in control of. Wendy does find a friend of sorts in her neighbour Mrs Rampersad, who lives in the flat above her. The relationship between these two women truly makes this story. They are an unlikely pairing in terms of friendship and up until the accident, have kept themselves to themselves.
I so enjoyed getting to know both of these women. Mrs Rampersad is out spoken and quite bolshy whilst Wendy on the other hand, is pretty quiet and timid. It is a bit of a rocky friendship at times but you know that both women mean well and it makes for some humorous and heartwarming reading at times.
With Or Without You is a wonderfully gentle read that drew me straight into the story. The author covers many current topics but in a quiet and understated way of which I found had quite an impact on me. It’s a story of many things but for me, mainly it was about friendship and realising that we have more within us than we give ourselves credit for. I absolutely adored this novel of which for it’s genre, there were a few clever little twists that I hadn’t seen coming and had me thinking the worst of some of the characters only to have had it completely wrong! Highly recommended.
With Or Without You is available to purchase from Amazon.