The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Publisher: W & N  |  Published 28th May 2015  |  Edition: Paperback (review copy)

Ther version of us by Laura Barnett

The Versions of us is a story that ‘breathes’ as you read – it’s such a clever and thoughtful book.

What if one small decision could change the course of your life?

This is not an ordinary story. It doesn’t have a set conclusion, nor does it follow a direct path. It’s one that breathes, as it observes three possible outcomes from a chance meeting in 1958.

‘In The Versions on Us’, Eva and Jim first meet at side of the road when Eva has a puncture on her bike. From that moment on, their lives could take a varied number of paths depending on a decision they make in that small snapshot of time.

Bearing in mind Eva is already involved with someone called David at this point, the remainder of the book takes us on ‘what if’ journeys until we reach the current day in 2014.

I’d refer to it more of a life story than a love story, as it covers much more ground than just ‘boy meets girl’ one day and ‘X’ is therefore bound to happen.

It doesn’t. Life’s not always that simple.

Through heartache, missed opportunities, bad mistakes and the good times, you can’t anticipate the final version, as it ebbs and flows according to the places the characters have reached in their own careers, locations and selves.

‘The Versions of Us’ is much deeper than I’d initially given it credit for. The sheer brilliance of it lies with the fact that no matter which version is presented, it’s not wholly perfect. As in life, any number of circumstances, or the acts of individuals around us can influence what ‘fate’ may have in store – for better, or for worse.

Such a well thought out and highly memorable read that will play havoc with your emotions.

Rating: 4/5

(My sincere thanks to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to review this title @RebeccaGray.)


You can follow the author on Twitter: @laura_jbarnett | Website: http://www.laura-barnett.co.uk/

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The Coincidence Authority, by John Ironmonger

Publisher: W & N | Publication date: 4th September 2014 | Edition: Paperback (own copy)

Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.  Ian Flemming, Goldfinger

Co incidence Authority

I’m loving this cover!

Can coincidences always be explained, or does everything happen for a reason?

This book entertains that very notion, and the storytelling is so perfect I have no choice but to offer five stars.

I do like a ‘different’ read and this book didn’t disappoint. It flicks backwards and forwards through various points in time, but this is handled well and it’s really easy to follow. I must admit, it’s quite the contender for one of my favourite books of 2014.

It’s not your average, run-of-the-mill book. There’s hidden qualities I couldn’t begin to even try and explain here. It’s fresh, the dialogue has been expertly written and the ending is simply the icing on an already addictive cake.

In brief, it follows the rather unfortunate life of a young girl with the memorable name of Azalea. Her mother, it seems, had abandoned her at a fairground in Devon when she’s just a child, which was awful enough, but she becomes separated from her adopted parents in Africa when she’s just thirteen following a raid at their orphanage / mission…it soon becomes apparent to her that the date of the 21st June is one which she finds herself questioning, as various misfortunes just keep on presenting themselves. So, she decides to investigate this further when she realises what affect this could have on her life, or indeed death…

And no, it’s not all about ramming statistics and mathematical probabilities (or even theology) down your neck, although it does get you thinking. Everything is very cleverly woven into a forever-moving story and is incredibly interesting. Mostly, everything is plausible.

If you’re just a little intrigued, there’s a website that’s been set up to “accompany” the book at: http://www.thecoincidenceauthority.com

And that’s a nice touch to discover after you’ve finished reading. Quite brilliant.

Rating: 5/5


You can follow this author on Twitter: @jwironmonger