Without You follows the life of a young girl – Ananya, as she finds love, then loses it, and then tries to find herself, while picking up the broken pieces of her heart.
The story starts with 20 year-old Ananya visiting her grandmother in Sreepuram. There, she falls head-over-heels in love with the very handsome Dr. Arjun, who works in a hospital, in-spite of the fact that he is the scion of the multi-million dollar Shine Group. Arjun, too, falls in love with Ananya, and soon they even have the grandmother’s blessing.
However, some unfavorable circumstances lead to Ananya and Arjun going their separate ways, and Ananya’s grief over the loss of her love, propels her into a dark depression. The plot then follows Ananya’s life, as she tries to come to terms with her loss, and move on.
Will she be ever be able to completely forget Arjun? Will Ananya and Arjun cross paths again? If they do – would they still be in love with each other? More importantly – will their love find the strength to conquer the hurdles in their path, this time around? – these are the questions that get answered in the rest of the book.
I had distinct experiences while reading different sections; so I am going to review the book in those sections/chunks.
The beginning ( First 25% of the book)
As I started reading, the first thing that caught my attention, was the vivid description of the picturesque Sreepuram. Describing places is clearly the author’s strong suit, and she has demonstrated that several times in this book – from Sreepuram to Bangalore to Dubai.
My biggest grouse with this section is something which is also my biggest pet peeve while reading romances – Insta Love! (or instant love)
If the book is in the genre of romance – I need to see the characters falling in love, and see the relationship progress. The love story is central to a romance novel, so I don’t like short cuts here.
Which is why, insta-love (an often used short cut) puts me off, and this book had a clear case of the same – Ananya was in love with Arjun, before she even met him. For Arjun too – it was love at first-sight!
Now, I have read enough romances to understand that, yes, there are times when a story/book starts with one person harboring a secret (or not so secret) crush on the other person. But even in those situations – the progression of the love story is shown, which makes it okay (Case in point – Against All Rules by Summerita Rhyane).
But in Without You – there was no development or progression shown.
Also, several things (plot/dialogue etc) in this section came across as immature, and juvenile (to me). There was too much repetition, and no subtlety. And this would have been understandable, and completely acceptable, if the characters were 16 or 18, but Ananya was 20 and Arjun was 26.
The middle ( 25%-75% of the book)
The highlight of this section (for me) was the author exploring Ananya’s thoughts and feelings post breakup, and I must say that it was well done. She has brought out the self doubt and anguish that follows the heartbreak of a young girl really well.
However, in-spite of that – this part dragged for me. Mostly because, the pace slowed down, and there was too much of Ananya, and not enough of Arjun.
I must mention here that I personally enjoy dual POV in romances, but if not that, I at-least require the presence of both the protagonists for majority of the book (in romances).
This is just my personal preference. If it doesn’t bother you to follow just one person – the main protagonist – this should not be a problem.
The end (Final 25% of the book)
This is where the story/book redeemed itself (in my eyes). Arjun was back on the scene, and the story progressed smoothly. This segment almost made up for some of my earlier issues.
I say some – because for me, nothing makes up for insta-love, and almost – because I have mixed feelings regarding the Colonel R.S.Nair track. While I can accept/understand it – the role he played in the lead pair’s love story, is a little unsettling – especially the supposed influence he had on the protagonist’s mind.
For someone like me, it raises the question if things would have panned out differently, if not for the influence. (I know this is vague, as I can’t even mention which protagonist, but this is the best way I can phrase it, while keeping the review spoiler-free).
In-spite of the flaws mentioned – it is a decent read; a good first attempt. I would be open to reading more from the author. But this one is more suitable for teens/young adults over mature audiences.
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That’s all from my end. I would love to hear from you guys. Do you read romances? What do you guys feel about insta-love in romances? Does it bother you at all? Or are you indifferent to it? Have you read Without You? If yes, I would love to hear your thoughts regarding the Colonel R.S.Nair track.
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