Together by Julie Cohen Orion July 13th 2017
The blurb on the back of the proof says ‘Is this is a great love story? Or is this a story of great love? You decide’
Ok, I thought, am not a great one for love stories but lets have a read and see if I can decide.
Meet Emily and Robbie, supposedly enjoying the latter stages of their lives. One morning Robbie wakes up, gets dressed, leaves a note on Emily’s bedside table and walks out into the morning fog and takes a swim from which he intends not to return. And so begins the story of Emily and Robbie.
Told from present to past their story slowly unfolds, from enjoying grandchildren in 2016 all the way back to their first meeting in 1962.
I have to say I quite liked this, it added to the intensity, the drama and indeed the growing mystery surrounding their relationship. You knew there was something not quite right, that Robbie and Emily were harbouring a secret and Cohen was brilliant at keeping you guessing. I must admit to a sharp intake of breath when all was revealed!
One thing I was worried about was that the story would be slightly over sentimental and mushy, but to my relief and indeed to the authors great skill it was definitely not. Yes, Robbie and Emily are deeply romantic and so deeply in love but it was never forced on you.
For me it was more about the characters and Cohen was adept at drawing out the individual and opposing traits of each character, Emily and her academic achievements and thoroughly British middle class background versus Robbie’s working class hard drinking background.
Its not all hearts and roses, there are many up and downs, secrets that threaten to surface and destroy everything they have, but what pervades is love and the strength that love has to bind us together.
Cohen has written a beautiful novel that I enjoyed immensely. When I finally closed the pages I thought long and hard before concluding that yes, this book is a great love story but what it is a story of great love.
Cohen has written a beautiful novel that I enjoyed immensely.
Thank you to Louise Swannell and Orion for a proof copy to read and review.
About the author
Raised in the Western Mountains of Maine, Julie was 11 when she wrote her first book. She went onto study English Literature at Brown University, Rhode Island and Canbridge University UK.
Before becoming a novelist Julie became a secondary school english teacher. Her big break came when the novel Dear Thing was chosen as a Richard and Judy Book Club pick.
Julie now lives in Berkshire with her husband and son.