Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.
Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.
When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.
Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget? (Goodreads)
It’s been a long time since a book has truly grabbed me and I’ve been unable to put it down until I’ve devoured every last page, so I’m pleased to say that The Night that Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice is one such book. It begins as these things often do, with protagonists Rebecca and Ben meeting for the first time at a bar. The bar has been opened by their mutual friend, Jamie, and when the pair meet there is an obvious spark between them. Rebecca usually doesn’t have time for men who drunkenly ask for her number, but there is something different about Ben and she hastily scrawls her number on a napkin before she leaves.
Fast-forward a year, and Rebecca and Ben’s relationship is going strong, with both having fallen head over heels with the other. They are almost inseparable and have grown to love each other’s little quirks and habits. In fact, they still tell the story about the night they met and the notorious napkin to anyone who will listen – much to their friends’ amused frustration. However, just as their relationship is about to move to the next level, Rebecca learns of a secret that threatens to blow a gaping hole in all they have built together, tearing their fairytale meeting to shreds.
As the novel continues it becomes a will-they-won’t-they situation as to whether Rebecca will take Ben back, or whether he can get over losing the love of his life. He is determined to win back her trust and fight for what they had, but there are some secrets that might prove too big to come back from. With the novel alternating between Rebecca and Ben’s perspectives, we are given an in-depth view into each of their lives both before and after, seeing how they both attempt to cope with the difficult and heartbreaking separation.
I absolutely adored this book from start to finish and found myself hooked with every passing chapter. The relationship between Rebecca and Ben is one I think the majority of people can associate with, having found that special someone you think is the one and the happy bubble it creates. You can feel Rebecca’s heartbreak when she finds out the truth, and Ben’s anguish at being unable to help the situation. He would do anything to get her back, but with their whole history changed she is struggling to see past what happened.
I don’t want to give too much away about this book, as I enjoyed it far more than I expected to and felt drawn to each of the characters. I could relate to both Ben and Rebecca, and could see events from both their perspectives, not really taking either of their sides. They both seek support from their mutual friends, and Jamie plays a fantastic role as mediator and truth teller. He is not afraid to tell them both what they need to hear, fed up of being stuck in the middle of his closest friends. I thought he was also a wonderful breath of fresh air in every scene, providing humour at the perfect moment.
The way the book alternates between the two characters is superbly written, as I found that I looked forward to hearing what each of them would do next, and whether they would come across each other again. It was interesting to see how each of them attempts to cope with life afterwards, and I thought some of the scenes were harrowingly realistic. There are some shocking moments along the way as well, serving as further indicators that sometimes life just gets in the way of what we want. I suffered a major reading slump following the conclusion of this book, struggling to find something to live up to its well written story, and I couldn’t recommend this realistic tale of love and loss any more highly.
A beautiful and poignant book that grabbed me from the first page and wouldn’t let go, I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough. The characters are well-rounded and developed, with the supporting cast also playing a vital role in keeping the plot engaging. Although the ending was not the outcome I wanted, I think it instead took a more realistic standing and indicated that life is not always like a novel. If you’re looking for more of a real life romance, then this novel is one for you.