Review: Then and Always by Dani Atkins

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.

ThenandAlwaysWhat would you do if one day you woke up, and the entire world and everyone you knew were completely different from the way you remembered them? The premise behind Then and Now attracted me, and was the big hook of the novel. I devoured the book in a short space of time, entirely because I simply could not see how the author was going to resolve the puzzle, and I *had* to know what was going on!

The characters are a little bit cliché: the good-looking boyfriend, the beautiful alleged friend who appears to have her beady eye on the good-looking boyfriend, the childhood best friend who appears to be in love with the heroine but won’t tell her so. I was slightly confused by our heroine, who seems desperate to prove that her old life is the true reality, and given how unbelievably miserable her old life was, I had trouble understanding and believing that she would feel that way. I wasn’t entirely happy with some of her actions, which in actual fact I felt to be more realistic than characters who are complete saints 100% of the time, and I still rooted for her regardless.

The novel was slightly overwritten at times, with lengthy, mundane descriptive prose which took me a while to get used to, and was somewhat frustrating as I was keen to get to the nitty gritty of the plot, but overall it’s an easy summer read, with a plot that I couldn’t get out of my head and an ending that left me feeling somewhat shell-shocked.

Disclaimer: I was provided with an ecopy of Then and Always by NetGalley for the purposes of this review, but the opinions given are, as always, entirely my own. 
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