Monday, 13 July 2015

Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

What if you had said yes? The moments that change everything... One Day meets Sliding Doors in this outstanding debut that is causing a buzz across the publishing world
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if...?

A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva's then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.

Review: I love the premise behind this book, I think it's a great idea to write about what if, about what could happen if you'd said he's instead of no or stayed instead of leaving. I really wanted to love this book but I just really didn't connect with it. I couldn't keep all of the characters starlight in my head and who was doing what in which version. This might be because I'm just really tired by now and I would definitely consider giving this book another chance at a later date but it just didn't thrill me on first reading. 

I like the characters of Eva and Jim, I thought they were really strong leads in this book. I definitely found myself liking one version of them more than others but overall I was really interested to see how they turned out. I also listened to this on audiobook and it was quite good to do that because the part of Jim was voiced by a male narrator and the part of Eva was voiced by a female narrator. I thought that this might help me to understand the versions a little better, but alas it did not.

I really liked the ending of this book and I'm definitely glad that I persevered all the way to the final page. Each version has it's own ending and in a way they seem to come together. I think the way each of the endings comes together depends on your interpretation of each of those versions and I really liked this about the book. The book takes place over a long time period and whilst I admire the author in being able to do that I think this didn't help in my confusion of the plots and the characters. I think if you've got the time to devote to this book, it could be a really good read. It's definitely something that makes you think and evaluate your own 'what if' situations but it just didn't engage me enough on this occasion. 

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