Thursday 1 February 2024

The Last Days of You and Me by Debbie Howells
Release Date: 29th January 2024
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Genres: Women's Fiction

They didn’t know – when Winter gave way to Spring that year – that their lives were all about to change…

Marnie didn’t realise – when she stormed into a bookshop one day, demanding a self-help book – that she was about to make a new best friend.

Bookshop-owner Rae didn’t know she had been living like a shadow since her parents died. But then Marnie exploded into her life. And suddenly she realised things had to change… more so when she meets handsome nurse, Jack.

And when Forrest’s life is turned upside down by a fatal car crash, he knew he was being given a second chance, but didn’t know why. He thinks Marnie might just be the woman he’s destined to be with. But – as she discovers that she has an illness she may never recover from – what if it’s too late for them?

Can it ever be too late though? To make friendships that change everything. To grow, to change, to start again. Even – for two unlikely new best friends to find love at last…?

The Last Days of You and Me is a heart-breaking, uplifting, magical story about friendship, love and above all what it means to truly live. Perfect for fans of Me Before YouLove Actually and One Day.

The Last Days of Me and You is a character driven story of how life throws together individuals and how we all become part of each other's destinies. The story is told from the perspective of the main characters and so we shift from one perspective to another, each character giving their own take on what is happening in their lives and told in the first person. It is very cleverly written and does leave some little clues as to what possibly might be happening with one particular character. It's not obvious at first but I did figure it out towards the end.

Marnie is such a lost person and despite all her wonderful adventures travelling, she is alone despite being part of this big wide world. She has settled in Arundel while she regroups after a move from Spain and a failed relationship. But, its not where she wants to be. Arundel is boring and predictable and she feels suffocated in a place where she feels people have settled for a quiet and mundane life.

Rae is struggling with her grief which has consumed her so much that she hides away in her bookshop, not wanting to think about what is going on outside of Arundel, content that she is doing the best she can to look after her sister and keep her from harms way. But, its no life.

Jack is suffering his own kind of grief when the woman he loves lets him down in the worst way and so he feels his life will never be the same. He simply can't move on.

Forrest has an epiphany after his car crash and realises that he no longer likes the arrogant, greedy and self-centred man he was.

And then, everyone's worlds collide and a series of events see all the characters connect and re-evaluate their lives, past and present.

This was a lovely book that spoke about the importance of connections with people and how one person can change our perspective on the life we had imagined for ourselves and that happiness and contentment can be found in the most unlikely places with the most unlikely people. Its about taking a leap of faith too, on people and places. And, there is a little twist within the story. Get your tissues at the ready because you will cry!

Trigger warning: the book does touch on sensitive subjects like grief, death and illness but handled very well. 

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Debbie Howells’s first novel, a psychological thriller, The Bones of You, was a Sunday Times bestseller for Macmillan. Four more bestsellers followed, including most recently The Vow, published by Avon. Fulfilling her dream of writing women’s fiction, she has found a home with Boldwood and her first title with them, The Life You Left Behind was published in February 2022.

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