#onthebookshelf Then and Always- Dani Watkins


If you liked Who am I, Sliding doors, While You Were Sleeping and well, any romantic film from the late 80’s or 90’s involving amnesia, alternate universes and an ‘awww’ inducing ending, then this should be your next quick read. This debut novel from Dani Watkins follows the story of what might’ve been had not that one fateful night happened.

Rachel Wiltshire is feeling a strange sense of sadness on the eve of all her friends, friends she’s known almost all her life, are about to leave for university.  She has every reason to be happy: a gorgeous boyfriend, a place on her dream course and great friends. Everything looks like it’s going to pan out- until that a tragic accident leaves her best friend dead, herself scarred, not only on her face, but also deep in her heart and dilapidating headaches.

Five years later, her dreams of a becoming a journalist abandoned and having become introverted, Rachel returns home from London to attend her best friend’s wedding.  After  a fall though, Rachel finds herself with a second chance at life, a life she could’ve had had that fateful night not happened, the only problem is, she still has no idea what happened in those last five years!

The story had me riveted from the word go.  Impending tragedy is prominent from the first page and the twists and turns aren’t as predictable as you might think which avoids this book falling into the cliché category.

I do find sometimes it slips into being a bit American but I’ve been finding that more and more lately with women’s fiction.

Also, Cathy- what a bitch.

Also x2 Matt sounds vapid and insensitive.  Would Rachel really plausibly go for him in her real world or dream world? Plus in the dream world he doesn’t sound nearly as horrid as in the dream world. Weird.

Something light and easy- great for the morning tube commute when nothing else really computes

3.5 stars


Published 20th May – Ballentine Books

Click here to buy

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