Tuesday 27 May 2014

Book ~ "Then and Always" (2014) Dani Atkins

From Goodreads ~ Absorbing, surprising, and heart-rending, Dani Atkins’s debut novel follows a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life … just not the one she remembers.

Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend and acceptance to the journalism program at a top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart. 

Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. 

But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.

Rachel, her handsome rich boyfriend, Matt, and close their friends have just graduated from high school.  Before they head off to university and whatever else lies before them, they have one last supper together.  Tragedy happens that night that leaves one of them dead and Rachel is scarred (literally) for life.  Her plans then drastically change after spending many months recovering ... she eventually moves to London, becomes a secretary and rarely sees her high school friends.

Five years later, Sarah is getting married and all the friends gather for supper beforehand ... the first time they have all been together since the tragedy.   Rachel collapses after she leaves the get together.  When she wakes up in the hospital, her life isn't as she knew it.  Despite breaking up five years ago, she and Matt are now engaged and living in London, she has a stressful job working for a magazine, has a cool apartment and the friend who had died is still alive.  Huh?!  These are not the memories that Rachel has of the last five years.  Does she have amnesia?  Is she insane?  Or has she crossed over into some kind of time travel? 

This is the debut novel of this author and I enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style and thought it was well-paced.  It is written in first person perspective from Rachel's point of view.  I thought the author handled Rachel's confusion when she wakes up in the hospital well.  It gave Rachel a chance for a "do over".  I was wondering if Rachel's two lives would connect and, if they did, how.  I suspected it would end the way it did and was satisfied and bought it.

I look forward to reading future books by this author.


Elizabeth Rosalyn said...

Dani Atkins certainly made a strong impression with this novel. If this is only her first book, I can't wait to see what she writes next!

Kim@Time2Read said...

This one sounds good! It reminds me a little of 'What Alice Forgot' by Liane Moriarty. I've got it on my 'to read' list!

Rachel said...

I don't think I was reading with an eye toward the ending so I was shocked, and then realized I should have seen it coming all along! It's such a lovely story. :) Great review!

Rachel @ Paper Cuts