Then and Always by Dani Atkins…Book Review!

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Firstly, I would like to thank RandomHouse Publishing and Netgalley for giving me advanced reading copy of this book.

The Blurb
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 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.

I really don’t think that words will pay this book justice. It really was that good. Rachel thinks she has the almost perfect life. She is finishing school and heading to university, has a boyfriend that idolises her and has the best friends she could ever dream of. Then in one instant on a night out with tragedy strikes and her life is turned upside down forever.

Permanently scared both physically and mentally from that night and wrecked with the guilt of her friend Jimmy’s death she moves away desperate to put everything and everyone in the past. Fast forward 5 years and she has to return to the world she once knew. The world were her friend Jimmy is dead. Her ex boyfriend has moved on and her poor father is battling illness.

That night she makes decisions that change her life and after wakening up in hospital she finds that her life has changed. Everything she knew from the last five years has changed and life as she knew it no longer exists. Doctors blame amnesia but Rachel knows there is more to it than that and with the help of Jimmy, who in her new life is fit and well, they set out to try to find answers.

This book is so smart and well written. At times I found it hard to keep up and get my head around the two different lives that Rachel has been living but the nature that the book is written in helps it flow along perfectly and brings you back to where your supposed to be in the book.

The characters are perfectly portrayed. Rachel is fragile but feisty and I genuinely felt sorry for her. Jimmy is the perfect gentle man and the chemistry between him and Rachel is evident from the first chapter. Sarah, Rachel’s best friend is lovely and honest but I feel could have been in the story more. Rachel’s father is also kind and paternal and has done a great job with Rachel.

The whole way through the book I was convinced I had it sussed out and with every page I read I changed my opinion on what was going to be the outcome. In saying that, I would have liked a much happier outcome and could never have predicted the ending. It was heartbreaking, sad and in an odd way considering the circumstances, although I would have liked a much happier outcome, the perfect ending to the perfect book.

I would highly recommend this book and is a definite must read. Dani Atkins has a new fan in me and I can’t wait to read her future work.

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