Without you - Saskia Sargison


From the publishers description ...
1984 - Suffolk, England.
When 17-year-old Eva goes missing at sea, everyone presumes that she drowned. Her parents' relationship is falling apart, undermined by guilt and grief. But her younger sister, Faith, refuses to consider a life without Eva; she's determined to find her sister and bring her home alive.
Close to the shore looms the shape of an island -- out of bounds, mysterious, and dotted with windowless concrete huts. What nobody knows is that inside one of the huts Eva is being held captive. That she is fighting to survive -- and return home...

My thoughts ...

A rather different take on the "girl goes missing" story. This story of sisters Eva and Faith reads like the deviant love child of Still Missing by Chevy Chase coupled with Enid Blytons famous five novels. But it does it with real panache. This story really hooked me and kept me reading wanting to know what happens.

The story is told in alternating narratives, those of Eva, the girl who goes missing and is held captive on an island, her younger sister Faith, whose remains true to her name in her conviction that Eva is not, as popular belief has it, dead, drowned in a boating accident with her Dad who can't remember the circumstances surrounding the accident.

We also get the take on the situation from the points of view of both their parents Dad Max and Clara their Mum, neither of whom are coping well with the loss of their beloved eldest girl.

We meet Billy too, the mystery man who rescued Eva and who is haunted by his own demons.

Faith tells the largest part of the story, she is rather a loner, finds it hard to fit in and is very much a coming of age story for both girls. We are taken back and forth in time and the setting of the main parts of the story is in the 70s and 80s both eras being portrayed particularly well. I expected a psychological thriller but its also emotionally charged and about family and secrets

Its quite a lovely story about growing up, not fitting in, loss, redemption and forgiveness. I can highly recommend it if you like a good mix of realistic characters, a gripping story with lots of off shoot storylines blended in, hints of legend and history and enough ambiguity to make you pause for thought now and again. Excellent.

My thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown book group publishers for my review copy.

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