Monday, April 28, 2014

Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Then and Always by Dani Atkins - 320 pages

This hauntingly beautiful novel is Atkins' debut.  I was lucky to receive an ARC (it releases May 6).  Rachel Wiltshire was involved in an accident on the eve of leaving for college while dining out with friends and the event changed her life.  Five years later she is visiting home for her friend Sarah's wedding and collapses from an illness.  When she wakes up, she is in the hospital and everything has changed: she is well; her father never had the cancer; her ex-boyfriend is now her fiance; and her late friend, Jimmy, is alive.

Rachel embarks on a quest to determine how she can exist in two realities.  To this end,  it is Jimmy who helps her retrace the life she believed was hers and relate it to the life she has found herself in.  In short, it is a journey of self-realization. 

Atkins's writing is superb: vivid descriptions, subtle foreshadowing, and drawing out the mystery until the very end.

Lastly, in keeping with this month's theme, while in search of her missing memories she visits the library/archive of the magazine she works for to try to make sense of her life by examining the articles she wrote.

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