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Friday, June 22, 2007

With Or Without You by Carole Matthews

Carole Matthews
Romantic Comedy/Chic Lit/Women's Lit
ISBN-10: 0-373-89545-3
Red Dress Ink

International best selling author Carole Matthews delivers a heart-warming tale of personal growth and rediscovery in With or Without You. In the heroine’s misdirected attempt to make herself irresistible to an ex-lover, the hiatus from her comfort zone sets in motion a transformation process, to which the reader is given a front row seat. What ensues is quite different from the cookie cutter romance many readers might expect based on the cover art. From the detailed exploration of one woman’s emotional and cultural awakening, to the quick wit and what goes around comes around karma, With or Without You is a well written novel that’s a pleasure to read!

Whether because her sister, Edie, is a regular fertile myrtle with six children, her position at a baby magazine or because she envisions the clicking of some demonic biological clock, Lyssa is convinced that her very happiness depends on the changes that accompany having a baby. Jake, her live-in-boyfriend of fours years, was making plans for big changes too, but his didn’t include a baby or Lyssa. Needless to say she is shocked when after a fourth failed invitro attempt she expected to be consoled, instead, he announces his need for space, walks out, and closes the door to their relationship. This wasn’t a temporary split….she had been dumped! And for Jake’s adventure seeking coworker that’s evidently perfect in every way and climbs Everest in her free-time. Lyssa decides, anything Neve can do, she can do better! If climbing a mountain is what Jake wants – she will climb the mountain, regain her man and live happily ever after.

After taking a leave of absence and making the necessary arrangements, she trades her stilettos for hiking boots and heads off for a month long trek that will bring her into the most remote villages of Nepal. Lyssa finds much more than she ever anticipated, for starters, her gorgeous, American tour guide Dean! During her journey of self-discovery, she begins to re-evaluate her priorities, as well as the direction of her life. For the first time she sees all that had been missing, not only from her relationship with Jake, but her life in general. Returning to Britain, she is filled with new found confidence, as well as, a bit of trepidation. For what began as an act of revenge had effected change in every aspect of her life, the enormity of which expanded her emotionally and culturally. Could she go back? Would she?

Developing the central character as part of the main plot line puts the reader at the table, as an invisible guest and can be a risky literary move. Yet, in Matthews capable hands, the story reads as if being shared between girlfriends over lunch, a true testament to the author’s imagination and ability to convey depth and dimension. The reader experiences a wide array of conflicting emotions throughout the novel. While in the beginning Lyssa appears weak and difficult leading you to feel empathy for Jake, this changes dramatically as facts are revealed. The journey presented by Matthews is entertaining and thought provoking, filled with everything an astute reader of contemporary romance could ask for. If you’re headed to the beach or just enjoy a good read on a lazy Summer Saturday, take this one “with you”!
Happy Reading!


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