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4.3 out of 5 stars3,363
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238 of 250 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2013
This is a brilliant book. Awesome. A unique theme very well written. Keeps you guessing right to the bitterweet end. I really couldn't put this book down - make sure you read it in one sitting, you will need to. The story is about Rachel, the central character, and how she comes to terms with how her life changes, and how it affcts those close to her, following a devastating accident. The plot and the characters are really well constructed and I didn't want this book to end. More please from Dany Atkins. At 78p on Kindle it is a shame that this book is not being very heavily promoted. Found it by accident, would have happily paid full price for it and the lack of promotion and the price does not do the author justice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2015
I saw this book on a First Reads giveaway and thought that the plot sounded interesting and unlike anything I've read before. I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book and I chose to read it in December for a Christmas reading challenge, as the book has snow on the cover. Although most of the book is set in December, and a few pages mention Christmas, this isn't a Christmas book;it's so much more.

I was drawn in from the first page of this book. It starts off on the night of the accident, and it was emotional from the very start, as Rachel loses her best friend. Although Rachel has a boyfriend, you can tell that there's something between her and her best friend Jimmy from the first page.
Rachel's life after losing Jimmy was miserable. She lived in a tiny London flat, working as an Administrator for an Engineering company, a far cry from her dream job as a journalist. Rachel suffers severe headaches, caused by the accident five years earlier, and after a visit to her home town, she suffers a fall. When she wakes up, she finds her life is so much better than she remembers, and when Jimmy appears in her hospital room, she can't believe what she's seeing.

I read several of the pages too fast in this book, as I was so desperate for Rachel to find solace, and I had to go back a few times to re-read certain sections. I found myself really connecting with Rachel; she was in such a terrible situation that I just wanted a happy ending for her, and I had many late nights reading this book until I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more.

The connection between Rachel and Jimmy is beautiful. Although this book is described as a love story, and a large of it is certainly a love story, there was so much more to this story than just romance. It was filled with tragedy, heartbreak, happiness, hope, despair, and everything in between. There were times while I was reading this, as it often happens with stories with an element of mystery, that I had a guess at the outcome of Rachel's predicament. However, all of my guesses were wrong, and the ending was a big shock. This is definitely one of those books that will stay with me for a long time, and although I managed to avoid waterworks, it was a close call, so do keep your tissues nearby
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2014
highly recommended I loved every single page, consistent pace that moves along fast enough to want more yet not too quick that you get confused. a brilliant story by a talented writer one of the best novels I've read to date can't wait for the next book.
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152 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2013
I've been looking for a new contemporary romance to read (after ploughing through a lot of pretty sub-par erotica) and came across this novel. I am SO GLAD I FOUND IT.

This is a fantastic debut set in England, telling the story of Rachel, whose life is torn apart after a tragic accident. Five years later, she ends up returning to Great Bishopsford, where she used to live, but a fall lands her in hospital. Waking up she learns her life seems to have fractured - and everything that she thought had happened since the accident never took place. Instead she's in a world where everything is completely different . . . including her fiancé.

This book has everything - genuine, likeable characters and fantastic dialogue (with some definite laugh-out-loud moments), as well as a heartbreaking love triangle at the centre. I can't recommend this enough - but beware of reading the ending in public. I did NOT see it coming and it blew me away!
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
I decided to read this book after reading the reviews. My usual genre is Crime/Thriller and I felt like reading a book without any murders to solve for once :) The idea of parallel lives interested me and I must say I was drawn into the story immediately. Without spoiling the story the book explores two scenarios, two sets of events in the lives of a group of friends who experience an accident together - life could go one way.......... or another !!!! The stories are linked but very cleverly kept separate with no misunderstandings as to which life you are reading about at a particular time. I like the main character, she seemed very believable - all the characters did in fact. I read the book in three big chunks! It did turn out to be quite a page turner. I couldn't imagine how the author would tie everything up at the end - but she did and very well too. I will be looking out for more from Dani.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2014
Easy to read. I didn't get lost which can happen with two tales intertwined. And the final chapter was sad but happy and left me wondering which was reality. Great read and looking forward to next book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Rachel has been left scarred, guilty and unfulfilled since that fateful night five years ago when an accident changed everything. She lost her childhood friend and her aspirations to end up living in isolation from her family and friends. When she goes back home for her best friend's hen dinner and Wedding she becomes unwell and collapses, only to wake up to a completely different reality to the one she has been living for the past five years.

This mystery romance reminded me a little of the '90s film, Sliding Doors, without the sliding part and darker more tragic consequences in the story, but essentially in one reality Rachel has been to University, is engaged to her long-term boyfriend and has her dream job working for a magazine and her childhood friend Jimmy is alive and well, none of which she has any memory of as the life she recollects is the one where after the accident Jimmy died and she never went to University.

I enjoyed reading this book, not because it was perfect, there were a few sticky issues with it, like pressing the emergency buzzer because Rachel is deemed to be delusional, any one who is familiar with hospital knows the cardiac arrest alarm is used for the purpose stated, but because it is well-written and ultimately a tear-jerker. The character of Rachel is well written and relatable, even though at times a little exasperating and Jimmy is a strong dependable hero in this, other characters such as Sarah, Rachel's friend, Matt her boyfriend and Cathy aren't so written in depth and prop up the story. The best part of the book is in the last chapter which is written to move even the most stoic of hearts and made this the best romance I have read this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2014

I could stop there, but I'd better elaborate so that this is at least in some way helpful.

Have you seen The Adjustment Bureau? Matt Damon. It's one of my favourite movies. If you haven't seen it, fix that situation right now. The movie makes you think about how our lives are mapped out, about the reason why you spilled your coffee this morning or why you got stuck in traffic on your way to work trundling behind a tractor. Everything is planned and the Adjustment Bureau exists to make those little tiny tweaks to keep your life on 'The Plan'. It's ace. But not connected to this book in any way....

Back to the book. Then and Always settles its story around a similar kind of theme. What if something I do today could change my tomorrow? What if XXX didn't happen and my life took a different path? (See also Sliding Doors)

Rachel and her friends all gather for a farewell dinner before embarking on their individual University adventures. Something devastating happens that night, which leads to life-changing consequences for the group. But what if something different actually happened that fateful night.....

I won't mess about, this book is BRILLIANT. Compelling, addictive and emotional. (Yes I cried, what's new?) If you've ever wondered "What if..." and felt the pain of unrequited love (high-five sistas) then you REALLY NEED TO READ THIS. See how I'm using CAPITAL LETTERS to EMPHASISE just how much you NEED this book in your life?

You really should read this. It's all part of The Plan.

Copy received in exchange for an honest review.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2014
Was quite intrigued with this book. Different from my usual read but found the characters likeable and have to say overall I really enjoyed it. Found the ending to be a mixture of emotions and totally unexpected.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2014
I loved this book and from the first moment I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! The characters are funny, believable and flawed, but better than that is the writing style. Atkins manages to pull you along through the story without any qualms, making you feel entertained and interested until the very last page. My only one upset was the ending (which I won't spoil here, don't worry) because I felt it was a bit predictable and possibly an escape route rather than a genuinely thought out conclusion. Apart from that, I would definitely recommend this book.
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