Written in the Stars by Ali Harris. It looked like just the thing, something light and fluffy, about young people, romance, futures.
As I like to do I immediately checked to see if Ali Harris was on twitter, I love the ability to see what your favourite authors are up to and to send them messages, getting a reply is just amazing. I am a self confessed 'author-groupie' so following authors on twitter is the best thing (after following bearded men...bearded authors.....mmmmmm ... sorry where were we..).
Right, yes, so I found that Ali did indeed have a twitter account and I told her I hoped her book would cheer me.
About to start Written in the Stars by @AliHarrisWriter I hope it's not a weepy book. I need some smiles
— Tattooed_Mummy (@tattooed_mummy) February 15, 2015
Well, the story is a 'sliding doors' style 'what if' sort of book and it started cheerily enough. Light and fluffy as I wanted but soon it became obvious that there was something darker in the history of the characters and the excellent writing began to tease and draw the reader (me) in.
"as her wedding day approaches, her years of indecision are weighing heavily on her, and she can't help but wonder, 'What if, what if, what if….'
What if she hadn't upped sticks and moved to London? What if she hadn't grabbed the first job that came along and settled down with the first guy who showed an interest? But all of her questions are silenced when she slips while walking down the aisle and is knocked unconscious. In this split second her life splits into two: in one existence, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other she glides blissfully towards her intended."
The book initially spent a chapter on one side of the split life and one on the other, alternating so that each life mirrored the other, this made the story easy to follow but as the book continued the alternate chapter idea became less pronounced and sometimes 2 chapters followed one story. This initially threw me a bit but only because I'm a lazy reader, or maybe Ali hoped to trick us? Whichever it was I soon got back into the swing of things and found the story moving and gripping.
Is Bea's marriage happy? Is she happy single? Who can she live without and who can she love? Can her mum love her as she needs to be loved? and what of Bea's job, will she find the perfect job when single, or when married?
There were constant twists and turns as the two alternate 'what if' lives of our heroine gradually marched toward their inevitable conclusion.
It did make me cry. There were some deep and dark past memories for several key characters that were brought gasping to the surface. And the way that the characters could grasp the nettles of the past and move on to a new and calmer garden was beautiful. Friendship, love and family, as well as confidence, strength, growth and individuality seemed to be the themes of the book.
And my mixed water and plant metaphors in the paragraph above? Deliberate, water and gardening are big themes throughout the story.
I hope I've intrigued you without giving away any spoilers. A deceiving book, with more depth than its cover hints at. Well worth a read.