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Then and Always by Dani Atkins
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Then and Always

by Dani Atkins

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One evening while out to dinner with friends, Rachel Wiltshire's life is changed forever. A car crashes into the front windows of the restaurant and Rachel is lucky to be alive, but her close friend Jimmy perishes while saving her life. From this day forward Rachel lives with scars both seen and unseen, as she suffers much post traumatic stress. She moves out of town, breaks up with her beau Matt and tries to move on as best as she can. Fast forward to five years when she is called back home for the wedding of one of her close friends.

When she arrives back home and is reunited with her old flame Matt and her friends, an accident leaves her in the hospital unconscious. When she awakens, she finds herself in an entirely alternate life. Jimmy is still alive, she is engaged to Matt and she has the career she always wanted. The problem is Rachel wonders where her old life went and how this new perfect life can possibly be real. As she tries to put together the pieces of the puzzle, she questions her sanity. As clues are revealed, more questions arise as to what happened to Rachel's life. Is she just suffering amnesia? Is she having a mental breakdown?

Despite its slow start, Then and Always drew me in. This plot driven novel had me wondering plenty. I guessed until the end because I really had no clue as to what was real or not. I wondered right alongside Rachel.

As I read, I rooted for Jimmy and wanted Rachel's final reality to include her involved with him. He dies for her at the start for crying out loud, how could she not choose him? Like I mentioned, the novel has a slow start, but once the momentum gets going, I could not put this one down. There were so many sweet scenes and so much tension between Rachel and Jimmy and I eagerly waited for what would happen next.

So thank you author Dani Atkins. I was totally surprised with the ending and I shed a tear.

"Maybe it wasn't just in fairy tales that the prince's kiss could bring the sleeping princess back to life."
p.183, Then and Always by Dani Atkins

disclaimer: I received my free copy of Then and Always by Dani Atkins via AmazonVine. This review is my honest opinion. Although I receive free books via publishers and authors, I am never obligated to write a positive review. ( )
  bookworm_naida | Jan 24, 2015 |
Keine ganz neue Geschichte, aber doch auch ganz anders - zumindest zu Anfang: Rachel, 18 Jahre jung, stürzt nach dem Tod ihres besten Freundes in eine tiefe Depression. Denn als er ihr Leben rettete, starb er selbst und sie gibt sich nun die Schuld daran. Fünf Jahre später muss sie wegen der Hochzeit ihrer besten Freundin zurück an den Unglücksort und fällt bei einem nächtlichen Besuch am Grab ihres Freundes ins Koma. Als sie erwacht, findet sie sich plötzlich in einer Gegenwart wieder, die mit der ihren nichts zu tun hat: ihr bester Freund lebt, sie ist verlobt mit ihrer Liebe aus Jugendtagen und ihr Leben scheint eine einzige Erfolgsgeschichte. Rachel macht sich auf die Suche nach Erklärungen...
Ich muss gestehen, dass sich meine Begeisterung etwas in Grenzen hält, was aber vermutlich damit zu tun hat, dass ich das Alter der Zielgruppe doch schon etwas überschritten habe ;-) Dachte ich noch zu Beginn, es handle sich um eine Art Selbstfindungsgeschichte im Rahmen einer Zeitreise, war spätestens nach dem 3. Kapitel klar, dass es bei dem Ganzen um eine Liebesgeschichte geht. Die Hauptfiguren sind recht deutlich schwarz-weiss gezeichnet, so dass trotz aller Widrigkeiten und Missverständnisse schnell erkennbar ist, wer für wen bestimmt bestimmt sein wird. Wesentlich unterhaltsamer fand ich dagegen Rachels Suche nach ihrer Vergangenheit: Wie sie ihr 'neues' Heim betritt oder auch ihren Arbeitsplatz. Oder der Besuch ihres alten Lebens, wo sie alles kennt, sie aber Allen unbekannt ist. Und auch die Form der 'Lösung' fand ich sehr stimmig, ganz im Gegensatz zu verschiedenen Geschehnissen, die ich als ausgesprochen unlogisch empfand.
So bleibt als Fazit: Eine streckenweise sehr gefühlige, leicht zu lesende Romanze mit einer (für mich) interessanteren Nebengeschichte, die der gedachten Zielgruppe (Young adults heisst die Reihe, hier sind aber vermutlich nur die weiblichen gemeint) wohl gut gefallen wird. ( )
  Xirxe | Dec 2, 2014 |
I got this book from the Goodreads giveaway. I didn't know much about the book or story when I started so I was a bit surprised when Rachel wakes up in the hospital about a third of the way through and it seems that she has led two parallel and different lives. This isn't my favourite type of story but I can appreciate the parallel lives schtick when it's well done. The most recent example that actually blew me away was Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. Unfortunately, this book fell a bit flat for me. I didn't have much sympathy for Rachel in either of her lives and the rest of the characters were fairly unidimensional. The best part for me ended up being the end when we find out the explanation for the parallel lives. It was both clever and sad. ( )
  Eesil | Sep 21, 2014 |
This book really had it all. It was emotional, romantic, and suspenseful in surprising ways. The characters were well developed and interesting. I am almost afraid to write too much in case that I in some way ruin the story and the reading experience. I finished this book in one day and was absorbed the entire time. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  LissaJ | May 22, 2014 |
I am not a big reader of women's fiction or the so called chick lit. Not that there is anything wrong with the genre, I just tend to favor historical novels or those of the legal/suspense, mystery genre. Very hard for me to give four stars to this kind of novel. So why than did this book have me sniffling at the end?

Well...... this book had some really great characters, some not so great ones as well, but it made the good ones come off even better. The big hook though is that once you are invested in the characters, there is another layer or big hook, shall we say. One keeps reading because it is imperative that one knows what is going on, an element of suspense injected that keeps the reader guessing, emotionally invested in the outcome. So I was, invested and kept reading, going over theories in my mind, all of which proved false. See, we all like the occasional happy ending, but was this a happy ending? If so why was I teary eyed at the end? Well, you will just have to read this yourself to find out the answer.

From me, a big well done to Dania Atkins.

ARC from Net Galley. ( )
  Beamis12 | May 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804178526, Paperback)

For fans of One Day, What Alice Forgot, and the hit film Sliding Doors, comes an absorbing and surprising debut novel about a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life . . . just not in one she remembers.
 
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.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:51:02 -0500)

"Rachel's life is perfect. A handsome boyfriend, great friends and the prospect of starting at university in a few weeks means she's never been happier. But in a single heartbeat, a single event tears her world apart. Five years later, Rachel is still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy that changed everything. Returning to her hometown for the first time in years for her best friend's wedding, she finds herself consumed by the thoughts of the life that could have been. But when a sudden fall lands her in hospital, Rachel awakes to discover that nothing is the way she thought it was. Unable to trust her own memories, Rachel is drawn into this new world where the man she lost is alive and well but where she is engaged to be married to someone else"--… (more)

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