Thursday, 8 May 2014

Review: Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her 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 her 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.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 20th 2014 by Ballantine Books
Genre: Womens Fiction/ Chick Lit

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I was confused when I first looked this book up to get details for my review because it appeared that it had two different titles and covers. This book was originally published as Fractured in the UK and will now be published as Then and Always in May.

I tried to sit down and write my review the minute I was done reading this book but I couldn't. I was far too emotional and I couldn't see through my tears to get anything down. For a debut novel I was blown away!

The story pulled me in from the very first page. In fact, I was teary at the very beginning of the book. Have you ever been immediately drawn to a character and just knew you were going to love them? That was me. I won't say which character but I have no doubt future readers will feel the same. Tragedy strikes just a few pages in and although the characters haven't been fully or even nearly developed at this point I found myself with that sad, hard to swallow lump in my throat. I thought there was just no way that an entire story could evolve after that. Boy was I wrong. In fact, it was the events of that night that impact the rest of the story.

We follow Rachel through her life for five years after that tragic night and learn how her grief impacts her life. Just when you think that the story is going to be about her journey through grief there is another accident that has her waking to find out that the events of those five years are nothing like she remembers. It is as if she was leading two lives at the same time. Which life was her actual reality?

As the book continues it follows the formula of the typical chick lit genre with the exception of not knowing which events are Rachel's true reality. She struggles to come to terms with a new life that she can't remember and the life she thought she knew. Which one was real and how come she can't let go of what she thought she knew even though it was tragic? I knew which version I wanted to be real but I had no idea which one was. Needless to say, I was glued!

I won't say anything more about what actually happens in the book because I don't want to give anything away. Then and Always was powerful, emotional, confusing, unique and interesting all wrapped up in 320 pages. At times it was gut wrenching, sweet, sad and suspenseful and I could not put it down. I always rate the books I read on how they make me feel at the time that I read them. The fact that I was teary on more than one occasion indicates that it had the power to move me and for that it gets 5 well deserved stars. As I read I could easily visualise this story on the big screen.

If this is Atkins' debut novel then I can't wait to see what she comes out with next. I am dying to know what other readers think of this book. Please, please, please come back and let me know. I loved it!

About the Author

Dani was born and brought up in Cockfosters, London, whose chief claim to fame is that it’s at the end of the Piccadilly Tube Line.

This served her well for commuting into the city, where from the age of 18 she worked in a succession of secretarial positions in companies as diverse as a BMW car dealership to the BBC. Dani spent her two hour commute avidly reading and dreamed that one day she would become an author herself.

When her two children grew up and left home, Dani set about turning this dream into reality and devoted her time to writing. She now lives in a rural Hertfordshire cottage with her husband, a crazy border collie dog and two geriatric cats.

FRACTURED/ THEN AND ALWAYS is her first novel.



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