5 STAR REVIEW: Our Song by Dani Atkins

Our SongOUR SONG
By Dani Atkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 21st January 2016
Format: Paperback (512 pages)
Source: ARC

This is the story of Ally and Charlotte, whose paths have intersected over the years though they’ve never really been close friends. Charlotte married Ally’s ex and first true love, David. Fate is about to bring them together one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever.

Full of Dani’s signature warmth and emotion, this is a gripping and emotional family drama. With breath-taking plot twists, Dani explores themes of serendipity, friendship and love. She fully engages the reader in the dilemmas faced by her characters. What would you do if your husband was the love of somebody else’s life? And when faced with an agonising decision, could you put the past behind you and do the right thing? (Goodreads)

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When I received the ARC of Our Song, I knew nothing of the author nor what was hidden beneath the pages. Little did I know that this would be the first book that genuinely reduced me to tears, for Atkins has crafted a story that makes you believe that there is a force greater than us and that sometimes fate will push us in a direction to get us where we are. Yes, the road may be full of bumps and obstacles but though the destination is not what we like, we can take hope and comfort.

The book centres around two women, who were once acquaintances during their time at university. Both are in avertedly in the same hospital on the worst night of their lives. During, what can only be described as the longest night either woman has ever had, we bare witness to how fate can affect the outcome of the paths these two woman’s lives were expected to lead.

The relationship between Ally, Charlotte, Joe and David is very complex, with David and Ally having been in a very serious relationship during University. For the most part, though both Ally and David were from very different social backgrounds, it looked like the both of them were set for the long term. That was until Charlotte ended up becoming a house mate to David and his friends. It turns out that David and Charlotte have a past, that David seems to have forgotten, but an attraction that Charlotte just can’t seem to shake.

When Ally and David break up, due to numerous circumstances (I’m doing my best to try not spoil things too much) Joe comes in like a white knight to help Ally at a time when she needs someone. The friendship blossoms into something deeper and now they are both married and deeply in love.

As I said, this book is set during the night where both Joe and David are fighting for their lives. Joe, the ever wondrous white knight, ended up falling into a frozen lake when he was attempting to save a little boy and his dog. David is also in a fight for his life, but it is due to an issue with his heart.

At first neither Ally nor Charlotte are aware of the other being in the hospital, but the ICU is a small place and eventually they end up facing each other. Rather than there being an all out war between the two women, they are curtuous and as the hours of the waiting tick by, we are told what happened all those years ago.

This is a very character driven book and as you get to know both Ally and Charlotte more, you begin to see that each woman has had their own struggles during their life since college. I began to feel as if I was getting to know Charlotte and Ally personally and as the flashbacks kept coming, a better picture was forming.

For most of the book, I did wonder how Charlotte ended up with David, especially as there was no real pursuit of David by Charlotte. She really seemed like a nice girl and she was only trying to do what was best. Yes, it seemed that fate was being a bitch but putting her in the path of the one that got away at time when he was with someone, but there was no malice to her actions. Every step of the way, she was trying to do the right thing. Even when the situation that started the ball rolling on David and Ally’s break up happened, I didn’t blame a Charlotte, though she was a part of it. Instead, I said to myself “David was once again in hero mode, without thinking of Ally.”

In that well known phrase from the TV show it seemed that Ally and David were “on a break” only for David to do something that broke them up for good. It was a dumb move and one countless male characters would have no doubt done before, but Atkins chose not to manouver it so that Ally and David get back together and for Ally to find her true love in Joe.

I think that is what is so great about this book. Atkins builds a deep history for her characters, so that even though you are not in the present for a lot of the time in the book, the past just makes what is going on in the present all that more affective.

As the night wore on, my gut told me that there would be no happy ending for one of the couples, but with both David and Joe in such critical condition, I couldn’t guess who would pull through. Though it seems callous, I really did hope for one of them to pull through more than the other. You may be able to guess who it was.

As I was getting closer and closer to the end of the book, “the event” happened and Atkins managed to do what no other author I have ever read has managed to make me do. I am not embarrassed to say that I blubbered like a child because what happened was so heart wrenchingly tragic. My heart ached for the character that had to endure this collosal loss. And yet, through this a glimmer of hope was given to the other woman whose husband was still battling to live.

In the last chapter, we found out that their husband had survived and that it meant the two women would forever be linked in a way that put into perspective everything that had happened before.

As I closed the book on that last chapter, I was left with this deep sense of hope and though I still felt this ache, I was comforted by the fact that the woman who lost her love still had something to hold on to.

VERDICT:

Never have I read a book that has left such an emotional impact on me. Atkins really has demonstrated a true art in telling a story where there is hope in the most darkest of times. Her characterisation is superb and you feel that you know her characters so well. You become heavily invested in what happens to them and you laugh, cry and feel such a connection with them that they become almost real.

This was my first book by this author, but it isn’t my last. So much so, I ended up buying her two previous books, Fractured and The Story of Us. I can’t recommend this book highly enough and urge you to buy this book.

5 star

 

BUY LINKS
AMAZON UK | BOOK DEPOSITORY | WATERSTONES | WORDERY

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DANI ATKINS ONLINE
GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

OTHER WORKS BY DANI ATKINS
Fractured
The Story of Us

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