Published: Random House - Ballantine
Date: 20 May 2014
Format: e ARC
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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.
Then and Always is by British author Dani Atkins and was first published under the title Fractured in Great Britain. It is well written and held my interest all the way through. I find it hard to review this book because to discuss it in any great length may lead me into letting out spoilers which I don't want to do - you really need to pick this book up fresh, and leave reviews about it alone until you've read it!
While this is a contemporary romance, it is something a little more. It begins normally enough, but then a little way in, Rachel finds herself in what seems to be some kind of alternate reality. As I was reading it I was reminded of Stephen Kings 11/22/63 that I read a little while ago. For awhile I was totally confused, in fact this is not a bad thing as it gives me the reader an idea of the confusion that Rachel experiences. This book is a mystery, and all the way through I kept asking myself - what is going on?
When we first meet Rachel her life has been flipped on its head. While partaking in a farewell meal with her friends, before they all go off to university, a car hits the restaurant and Rachel is badly injured. In the five years since this happened she has been scarred by the accident and has not fulfilled any of her dreams and has cut herself off from her friends except for Sarah. On returning home to be at Sarah's wedding she visits a graveside where one of her friends lies. She has been suffering from very bad headaches and lying on the ground at the graveside she passes out.
We are then swept into another world where things happened differently and Rachel finds herself living an entirely different life. There is no scar and she is engaged to her longtime rich boyfriend. Her other longtime friend is still alive. From there it is a matter of working out what is going on. Rachel finds she has a second chance, a time to make choices that will bring her fulfilment.
As I read along, I knew something was up but not what. When the ending came I was ready for it, it made sense and I was satisfied with it.