All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Story Of Our Life by Shari Low

on June 9, 2017

The Story Of Our Life
Shari Low
Aria Books
2017, 410p
Copy courtesy Harper Collins AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Colm strolled into my life fifteen years ago. If there’s ever such a thing as love at first sight, that was it for us both. A few weeks later we married, celebrating with those who cared, ignoring the raised eyebrows of the cynics. We knew better. This was going to be forever. The dream come true. The happy ever after. Until it wasn’t.

Because a couple of months ago everything changed. We discovered a devastating truth, one that blew away our future and forced us to revisit our past, to test the bonds that were perhaps more fragile than they seemed.

So now I ask you again, what would you do if your ‘happy ever after’ was taken from you?

Because this is what I did.

I’m Shauna.

And this is the Story of Our Life…

Ok, I have to admit, I read a slightly different blurb online to the one I’ve included here, which is on the back of my cover. The blurb I read online was, I think, a bit misleading which is perhaps why this one is different. I went in expecting the story to go in a certain direction and although it does eventually go in that direction, it’s only a very small part of what’s going on and most of the focus is elsewhere.

Shauna had commitment issues due to being raised by self-absorbed parents completely and utterly disinterested in their only offspring…until she met Colm. The attraction was immediate and they fell into a relationship and married just weeks later. It was love at first sight and for many years, their relationship and life, was idyllic. It had its ups and downs and money worries like just about every other married couple but they remained in love and devoted to one another. Only Shauna’s longing for a child and Colm’s ambivalence about whether or not it happened provided a real blight on their marriage.

Fifteen years later, their world is rocked by horrible news, something that changes everything about who they are as a couple and what the future holds for them. I find books like this quite hard to read because they force me to address what I’d do in these sorts of situations and it’s never really a pleasant thing to think about.

The book is told in a back and forth manner, beginning rather vaguely in the present and then taking the reader back to 2001 when Shauna and Colm meet. The book jumps back and forth in time constantly, with chapters giving the year in which they take place as well as a relevant title, like 2001 “When Shauna Met Colm”, 2009 “The Revelation” and 2016 “Balancing the Books”. This works pretty well because you get a chance to really have the background of Shauna and Colm established (as well as their friends’) but in a way that allows more of the present day to feature evenly throughout the story, rather than having it chronological and all of the things currently taking place at the end of the book.

I found this book very realistic, from Shauna and Colm’s whirlwind courtship, to the dramas they faced in the present day – it just felt very genuine. They went through things that many couples do, they struggled to get businesses off the ground and just get ahead. But even though they had their difficulties and both of them had their faults, they still managed to maintain this really wonderful relationship underneath all of that. It went through ups and downs, ebbs and flows and wasn’t incredibly idyllic all of the time. This book was a very bittersweet portrayal of a lasting romance and relationship and it definitely left me with some emotional reactions.

When the biggest challenge of all was revealed, that felt realistic too. I don’t want to spoil what it is because I think the book works better if you don’t know – the clues are there before the reveal but it unfolds in a way that feels right, like how it would if you were living this yourself. Colm and Shauna both make mistakes and I’m not sure how I feel about the same mistake that they both make. I felt like in a way it sort of took away from the main part of the story because I spent a lot of time thinking about those mistakes and wondering if it was really realistic – it felt like the only part of the book that was a bit jarring for me and I can’t work out if that’s because of my personal feelings about it or if it was just unnecessary to the story. Going to have to ponder on that one a bit more.

Apart from that though, I did really enjoy this book – it was a great introduction to Shari Low and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more of her books as she has quite an extensive backlist to explore.

7/10

Book #100 of 2017

 

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