The new alternative to The Time Traveler's Wife, this is a must read for everyone, regardless of what city you work in.
'What If?' raises many interesting questions that make great topics to be discussed in Book Clubs. This edition comes complete with guideline questions for your book club to debate and discuss.
The Story :
Contemplating having an affair, bored with work, and convinced there must be something more to it all, James Quinn is a man just about to enter a mid-life crisis. James leads a successful life. But is it the right life? Instead of a Product Manager in Telecoms, should he have been a plumber, an Olympic athlete, or an artist? Life, as they say, isn't a practice run. This is it.
Convinced the 'grass is greener' everywhere else, and worried that he may be missing out, James Quinn is a man full of doubts.
It's not that he hates his own life. Far from it. His 'life', as others may call it, is good. It's just that, nowadays he can't stop looking at other people and wondering if he is living the right one? What if James has got it wrong?
And then there's Jane, the first girl he kissed at school, and the one that got away. What would life have been like if he had married her instead of his wife? Unable to control his curiosity he tracks her down through Facebook and discovers that she is now a beautiful woman, living in London, and unhappy in her marriage: like a moth drawn to a flame James finds himself heading for infidelity and feels powerless to stop.
Then one day, during the normal underground commute to work in London, he looks up from his book and doesn't recognise the station name on the Jubilee Line, …and in a split-second, everything changes.
Emerging onto a platform at "New Cross Gate North", a station that shouldn't exist, James finds that Canary Wharf has vanished. Gone. And so have Selfridges and mobile phones.
Instead, James finds himself in a parallel world, where the city he lived in has changed, and every moment is now a voyage of discovery into a new life: a new career in advertising, a new house, and a new wife: Jane-the object of all his fantasies.
In this new world, James discovers that he is a flamboyant, intelligent, charismatic, successful businessman. Yet, even though he now has everything he has always dreamt of, he finds that he longs for everything else that he used to have but has now lost: his two children, Keira and Nicole, and his wife Sarah. Sarah, the woman he loved but took for granted.
Convinced that both the past and present are real, he realises that somewhere Sarah must be as real in this world as she was in the last. Longing to hold her in his arms again, and with no apparent way back to his old world, he sets out to find Sarah in his new world. Wherever she is.
Using knowledge from their previous life together, he manages to track her down. But James realises that before he can truly be together with Sarah once again, he must first understand what went wrong between them in the other world to avoid it happening again.
What is the secret that his subconscious has hidden from his conscious mind, and which made him want to turn away from Sarah and into the arms of another woman? Will it be possible for Sarah to fall in love with him again in this new world? And is it too late to find a way back to the old world, and his old life?
Or will he be stuck forever in this other world, yearning for the green, green grass of home?