Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog.
What happens next will determine the rest of their lives.
Have you ever considered what if? “What if I said yes to that guy” or “what if I said yes to going to that party?” This book explores three what if situations involving the main characters, Eva and Jim. In each situation or “version” as the book calls it Eva makes different decisions, which sets her on different paths throughout her life.
However, just like in real life, certain events do still occur in all 3 versions; the events that cannot always be controlled by decisions such as birthdays and death. This makes the story much more realistic and adds another layer to each story as we see how each different version of Eva copes with these events.
I love the character of Eva as you see how she adapts to different situations. She is loving, kind-hearted but is also a strong female shown through how she copes through many difficult situations. She will do everything she can to protect her family, even sometimes if that means sacrificing her own happiness. In this book we see many different sides to Eva as well as Jim. We see the highs and the lows of their relationship and how one small decision can have such a major effect on their lives.
At first this book is difficult to follow as it can take a while to remember what is happening in each version but I urge you to push on through, it will be worth it. This is a brilliant yet heart-wrenching book and will keep your attention until the end. One bit of advice – have the tissues on standby as this can be a real tear-jerker at times.
This book is very much reminiscent of David Nicholls’ One Day in that the story focuses on two characters whom we see at various times in their lives from big events such as parties to the more general standard day for Eva and Jim.
This is a beautifully written debut novel and I can’t wait to read what else Laura Barnett has to give us.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.