Thursday, 2 June 2016

Book Review: The Versions of Us

Title: The Versions of Us
Author: Laura Barnett
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Release Date: June 4th 2015
Pages: 401
Service: Bought
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @laura_jbarnett

'What if you had said yes?... Jim and Eva 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. We follow three different versions of their future - together and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.'

'The Versions of Us' was a book that I had heard a lot about from people around me and it was always one of the front facing books whenever I walked into Waterstones but one that I never seemed to pick up. Eventually, whilst I was away in Cambridge for a trip, I ended up deciding that I was going to buy it and see what everyone was raving about. 

We end up following three different versions of Jim and Eva's life from when the first met each other in university to much later in their adult life. We see how the smallest changes in the decisions they make impact their lives and the routes they end up taking. 

For a while, I was put off of reading any kind of book that heavily involved romance. I couldn't find one that worked at the right pace for me, was somewhat realistic and that I was able to enjoy at the same time. Ultimately, I thought I would just give them a break which was why I ended up putting of reading this book for so long. 'The Versions of Us' managed to draw me back into the world of romantic literature and showed how beautifully and elegantly they could be executed. Barnett wrote the story in such an amazing way that I became emotionally attached to the characters very quickly. Every feeling of anger, heartbreak and happiness felt by Jim and Eva was also felt by me. 

I did find that it wasn't the kind of book that I was able to put down and easily pick up  from where I left off. For me, it took me a little bit of time to be able to recall what happened in each version of the story so I knew exactly what was going on in each chapter. So, I'd definitely say to read this book when you know you have a lot of time because exam season is definitely not that time!

There was such a good pace throughout the book as you moved across the years with Jim and Eva. Laura Barnett put them both through trials that everyday people have to go through which made it all the more enjoyable to read. It was nice to be able to get my teeth into a book where the characters all have flaws that they need to deal with but not in a way that made them unrealistic and hard to relate to. 

The novel was heartbreaking and I was holding back tears as I finished the last chapter and shut the book. It ended up giving me a lot to think about long after I had put the book down but those are the kind of books, A lot of emotions were invoked and it lead me to winder the different versions of my own life had I decided upon things differently.

This is definitely a book that I will be recommending to anyone I know! 


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