Book Review: Fractured by Dani Atkins

Rachel's life is going great. She's about to start university, has a gorgeous boyfriend and a fantastic group of friends. The future looks good. But in one moment, it all explodes when a terrible accident changes their lives forever.

Five years later, and struggling to deal with the effects of that awful day, Rachel is on her way home to attend a wedding. But after a fall, Rachel wakes to find herself living an alternative life. One that might have been if it wasn't for that fateful night all those years ago. But which is the real life? Even Rachel doesn't know any more.

Phew, that was the singularly most difficult synopsis to write without giving the plot away completely and yet still attempting to make some kind of sense. I'm not sure I managed. I hope so!

I came across this book when looking for reasonably priced (cheap!) E-books to add to my newly acquired mini Kobo (after loosing my Kindle...sob) and at 99p, it fit the bill. Luckily it ended up being 99p well spent, and while not being the most life changing read in the world it was a good, engaging read with some nice twists and turns, romance and a bit of an emotional end (I teared up a bit. I am soft.)

Fractured starts with Rachel and her friends meeting for a sort of goodbye meal before they all head off to Uni. It's a good introduction to the group, where tensions are subtly pointed at before the awful accident that changes everything. It gets a bit confusing after that, as it takes up the story five years later in a kind of Sliding Doors style. Within a couple of chapters though I had the gist, and from then on I was intrigued at how it would all pan out.

I liked main character Rachel and felt sorry for her situation. I thought she was written well with vulnerability and naivety which made her endearing. I also liked the two love interests, and thought they were characterised well without being overly stereotypical. What I did find a little strange though however, was the age of the characters. They're supposed to be in their early twenties yet I could only see them as older, mid thirty year olds. The way they talked, acted, their lives and positions...it didn't quite fit and annoyed me every time their age was mentioned. Perhaps the mistake was to set this five years after the life changing event. Ten would have been far more believable.

Other than that, this is a perfectly good read. It's on the fluffy side and doesn't require deep thinking or vast concentration, but it's certainly kept me hooked enough to care how it all ended. This is perfect holiday reading, and well worth the price I paid (I think it's similar on other e-reader formats and also available in paperback)

3/5



Book Review: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Cecelia is the perfect wife, mother and neighbour. She prides herself on her perfection and her home and family are organised to within an inch of their perfect lives. Chaos and drama belong in other peoples lives. Or so she thinks.

Rachel hasn't stopped grieving for the daughter who was murdered twenty five years ago. It's still all consuming and defines her as a person. The only thing to bring any joy or purpose back into her life is her two year grandson Jacob. But when her Daughter in Law's high powered job means that Jacob will be moving to another country for at least a couple of years, it's just too much for Rachel to bear.

Tess has just found out her husband is in love with another woman. The betrayal strikes hard, especially as that other woman is her cousin and best friend. Taking their son back to her home town, Tess is about to take a trip down memory lane, leaving her with a difficult decision ahead. 

Three seemingly unconnected women, The Husband's Secret starts by giving you a glimpse into each of their very different lives leaving you wondering how exactly they all fit together. I admit, I found the first three chapters a bit random as they switched to the different scenarios without anything to link them initially. However, the characterisation of each woman is so well written, I immediately felt drawn into their lives and wanted to know more. Liane Moriarty has created three very real characters with such depth and honesty I could feel every emotion leaping off the page. 

The 'secret' is revealed quite early on, and isn't much of a shocker (I worked it out before it was revealed). This isn't a tense, psychological thriller to keep you guessing. Instead, we go on a journey with these three woman over just a few days as repercussions ripple amongst the community and lives change forever. I found the contrast between two of the women particularly well written, as one falls apart and the other blossoms. The fact that the story is entirely plausible gives it even more credence and I found myself asking 'what would I do' quite a lot. While some of the women's decisions may not be ones we'd agree with, it's easy to see and understand why they act the way they do. Giving each woman a first person narrative allows for brutal honesty, sometimes uncomfortably so, but always believable so.  

I found this book an emotional and gripping read. The epilogue was particularly poignant and left me with quite a big lump in my throat. While there's no racing plot and shocking twists and turns, I felt fully immersed in the three woman's lives and couldn't put it down. Heartfelt, emotional and honest throughout. Recommended.

Similar to:  Louise Douglas, Lisa Jewel, Dorothy Koomson, JoJo Moyes

Published in the UK by Penguin 2013
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