2 May 2017

Book Review: My Everything by Katie Marsh

"On the day Hannah is finally going to tell her husband she's leaving him, he has a stroke . . . and life changes in an instant.

Tom's only 32. Now he can't walk or cut up his own food, let alone use his phone or take her in his arms. And Hannah's trapped. She knows she has to care for her husband, the very same man she was ready to walk away from.

But with the time and fresh perspective he's been given, Tom re-evaluates his life, and becomes determined to save his marriage. Can he once again become the man his wife fell in love with, or has he left it too late?"

Rating: 5/5

Sometimes, I enjoy taking a look at my bookshelves, and look for an older book, one that has somehow passed me by but one that I know I really want to read. Katie Marsh's book My Everything was one such book. I remember wanting to read it, but as usual, I haven't got time for everything so it got left on the shelf. Recently, I decided I had to read this one, and I am so pleased that I did because I found it was a compulsive read and I really didn't want to put it down. I now can't wait to read more of Katie's more recent novels!

Hannah has finally decided it's time to tell her husband that their marriage is over, and she's leaving. But when she awakes in the middle of the night and finds him on the floor, having suffered a stroke, she knows those plans have to go out of the window and she has to step up. Tom is really struggling with his new reality, barely able to walk and talk, and totally dependent on his wife and nurses to help him. However, it's made him realise how much he loves Hannah, and that he has to save their marriage, against the odds. Will Hannah be open to a reconciliation, or has too much passed to save something that has long been lost?

This story drew me in right from the beginning. We know Hannah's intentions, why she is wanting to leave her marriage, and how it all gets thrown away once she realises the horror that has happened to her husband. She of course can't leave him - who could? But now she is stuck caring for a husband she doesn't truly love anymore, unsure if she can carry on doing this for a long period of time like she knows she will have to do. I felt sorry for her, in an impossible situation, but at the same time, I wanted her to do the right thing and stand by her husband, to see if there was anything that could be saved. The way she let her dream of teaching abroad float away to stay with her husband was very admirable, and was a touching story, showing how far some will go to uphold their vows.

Tom was living every person's nightmare, especially someone at the peak of their life, a fit young man who has had every independent thing about him ripped away cruelly. I think anyone else would feel exactly as Tom does, helpless and trapped, but I liked how it made him decide he had to do something about the state of his marriage, to change what he feels could have been broken. Again, I hugely sympathised with Tom, his scenes were awful to read because he was in a horrible situation, and I hated his reality, it really was a nightmare.

What I loved about Marsh's writing was the way she gets right into the heads of her characters. She carefully balances Hannah's guilt, her reluctance, her duty to her husband and the dreams she is letting go, and places them perfectly into this story. This is held together by the flashbacks to Tom and Hannah's relationship building up, with an item that links to a chapter about that particular thing, showing their love growing in the days before things turned sour between the pair. It gave me hope that they could find that side of their love again, and I really enjoyed the balance of this book, and Marsh's detail in Hannah and Tom's romance.

This was a brilliantly written novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it. As the story hurtled towards its conclusion, I felt optismistic, hopeful that these two characters I had come to love and care about would be able to work it out, and that Tom's recovery would carry on in the right direction. Plenty of detail is given about what Tom goes through, how hard he has to work to aid his recovery, but also the toll it takes on not only him, but those around him too. This is a topic I haven't encountered before but found this book eye-opening and completely intriguing to read. A love story, a story of hope, grief, loss and acceptance. It's all in here, and I cannot wait to read more from Katie Marsh, this was simply brilliant.

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