“What if?” is best left unasked when thinking of the paths we didn’t choose in our own lives. We make our choices and have to make the best of the road we travel. That is not to say that ‘What if?’ is not a thoroughly entertaining game to play with other people’s lives.
The Versions of Us gives us not only two but three ‘What if’s?’. We meet our heroes Jim, Eva and David in 1958 when they are all students at Cambridge. Eva either gets a puncture and meets Jim or she doesn’t and from there on we meet all three of them at points that remain unchanged despite the different paths that are being followed. Birthday parties, first night parties, funerals: the sort of events that go on whatever we do.
Marriages are made, children are born, affairs are had. Sometimes it can get a bit confusing remembering the differing names of spouses and children across the three different timelines. Reading a proper book rather than a Kindle might lessen the confusion as it is easier to flick back and see who did what.
Right from the first moment when the bicycle brakes squeal I was entranced by this story. You want love at first sight to triumph. There is something comforting about the thought of another person that is born to love and care for you. Each of the three story arcs in compelling and satisfying in its conclusion. If you are casting round for books to read on holiday then this one is worthy of a space in your suitcase.
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a copy Versions of Us from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
UPDATE: Laura Barnett has published her second novel GREATEST HITS click here for my review.
THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett
Published by Weidenfeld and Nicholson
Paperback £8.99, Kindle £3.99