My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Single mother Stella Hill wakes up one morning to find her kitchen on fire, which in no time at all has spread throughout the house and her home is up in flames. What isn’t destroyed by the fire is ruined by water damage and Stella loses everything she ever thought she couldn’t live without. What follows is an amusing account of her journey to put her life back together and the obstacles she encounters along the way, including some disastrous dates and a healthy dose of self-discovery.
This is the second self-published novel I have read and I am delighted to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author has set the book in Milton Keynes, a town with which I am very well acquainted having spent a large chunk of my adult life living and working there, so it was good fun to read about settings so familiar to me.
The novel is cleverly written from both the first person and third person viewpoints, so you not only get to read the story through the heroine’s eyes, but Joanne effortlessly transports the reader inside the minds of the other main characters too.
The story arc itself is also very well constructed, with an adequate amount of enjoyable sub-plots; just enough to make you temporarily forget about the underlying love story until you are reminded in one of those ‘ooh yes!’ moments (a bit like the cliff-hangers you’re reminded of at the beginning of a program you’ve not seen for a week). All pending questions and loose ends are naturally and neatly sewn together for a pleasing and thought-provoking ending.
If you’re a fan of chick-lit, with dry humour, lots of inciting moments and an underlying romantic element, then try Can’t Live Without and support a very inspiring, hard-working Indie Author. Well done Joanne Phillips on a great first novel.