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Then and Always: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

For fans of One Day, What Alice Forgot, and the hit film Sliding Doors, comes an absorbing and surprising debut novel about a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life . . . just not in one she remembers.
 
Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at ...
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Then and Always: A Novel

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Overview

For fans of One Day, What Alice Forgot, and the hit film Sliding Doors, comes an absorbing and surprising debut novel about a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life . . . just not in one she remembers.
 
Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart.
 
Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with her grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.

Praise for Then and Always
 
“Readers who enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot and Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me? will like [Then and Always].”Booklist

“Clear your schedule for an addicting read. Then and Always is a twisty, romantic, keep-you-guessing story about the kind of love you never forget.”—National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti, author of He’s Gone

“Heartfelt, gorgeous and completely believable . . . Atkins’ latest novel unfolds beautifully and will touch readers deeply.”RT Book Reviews

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Advance praise for Then and Always
 
“Clear your schedule for an addicting read. Then and Always is a twisty, romantic, keep-you-guessing story about the kind of love you never forget.”—National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti, author of He’s Gone

“Readers who enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot and Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me? will like [Then and Always].”Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804178518
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 950
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Dani Atkins lives in rural Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and two children. This is her first novel.
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Reading Group Guide

A Conversation with Michelle Richmond and Dani Atkins

Michelle Richmond is the bestselling author of The Year of Fog, No One You Know, Dream of the Blue Room, and the award-winning The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress. A native of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, she makes her home in Northern California. Her newest novel is Golden State.

Michelle Richmond: I can’t believe this is your first novel! The tension and pacing here are remarkable. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Dani Atkins: Even as a child I was always scribbling away at short stories and poems, so I guess the dream was always there. As a young adult I wrote a few short stories and a couple of very lightweight romances. They weren’t published, and with good reason: They weren’t very good. Not that I realized that at the time, of course. There were huge gaps between my literary endeavors, where I wouldn’t write anything more challenging than the weekly shopping list. However, when my children were older I once again felt the urge to write. Then and Always was different from anything I had attempted before. When it was done I felt confident it was the best thing I’d ever written. (Of course, bearing in mind what had come before, some of my earlier shopping lists could also have claimed that title!)

MR: How did you get the inspiration for the novel?

DA: I’ve always enjoyed novels or films that keep you guessing and make you question what you believe to be true. I’m also a fan of thrillers and books with a supernatural twist. But most of all, I adore a good old-fashioned love story. Then and Always is a blend of all the genres I most enjoy reading.

MR: The novel’s ending is sure to cause discussion. Did you know how the novel was going to end when you started writing it?

DA: Yes, I did. From the moment I sat down and wrote Chapter 1 on the first page, I always knew how the final chapter of Then and Always would end. What I didn’t know—what I never seem to know when writing—is the journey the book will take me on before I get there.

MR: Did you have any hopes for what the reader might take away from the novel?

DA: I think if I had to choose just one message, it would be that you should make the most of every opportunity in life. Seize the day. Your whole world can be irrevocably changed in the blink of an eye, and if someone is important to you . . . you should tell them, because you never know when it might be too late. We’re not all lucky enough to get Rachel’s rather unique second chance.

MR: What are your writing habits?

DA: I truly don’t know if I can say I have been doing this long enough to have a normal writing routine or habits just yet. When I began, I had every good intention of making writing my nine-to-five job. I learned very quickly that it doesn’t work like that. In reality, I seem to achieve very little in the mornings and am much more productive in the mid- to late afternoon and evening. I do find that I get most of my ideas for plot and dialogue when I am walking our dog (a two-year-old border collie). He is benefitting enormously from my new routine. My husband, who now seems to have taken on all cooking duties—otherwise neither of us would eat an evening meal—sadly is not.

MR: Who are your favorite authors?

DA: I like many different genres and authors, with my personal favorites ranging from Stephen King (love him) to Sophie Kinsella (want to be her). I also enjoy many young adult titles, and am not ashamed to admit it, and loved the Between the Lines series by Tammara Webber, and the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I have recently “discovered” and am really enjoying reading the novels of Paige Toon.

MR: Are you working on something new? Can you share anything with us about your next project?

DA: My second novel is well under way. It is a powerful love story that is told from the point of view of Emma, the main character, and covers many issues, including friendship, family, loyalty, trust, and betrayal.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I got into Then and Always thinking this will be a cute chick li

    I got into Then and Always thinking this will be a cute chick lit.. yea the synopsis hints at some sadness but I am used to chick lits being fluffy but oh boy, this is anything but fluff. There was a lot of crying.. just a heads up. Then and Always was very emotional and confusing in terms of how the book and story was told. I'll get more into the details below but overall it was a good book and the ending is the most memorable and emotional part of the book for me. The story begins with Rachel, along with her boyfriend and a couple of her friends going to eat dinner one last time together before they all start heading off to their first year of college and following their paths. That night, something tragic happens that Rachel can't get back from. It literally had me taking a break because of the crying. I needed to breathe in and out and learn to relax so I can get back to reading. When I do, It is forwarded a couple of years later, Rachel still suffering from the aftermath of that one tragic night, however she goes back to her hometown for the first time since that night but again, this girl is unlucky, she has an accident (i'm being vague, it isn't car related) and ends up in the hospital. But.. wait for it, in the next chapter, it is Rachel living her life as if that tragic night never happened.. and she's also going back to her hometown but something happens that, again, makes her end up in the hospital.. this is when these two parallel timelines merge.. Rachel wakes up and she's the Rachel of the world where the tragic night happens.. but she wakes up in the world where the tragic night didn't happen. Did I lose anyone? I know I lost myself halfway through this paragraph and had to consult my copy! So yes, book starts there, and the story continues.. I kept praying that maybe the world with the tragic night was a nightmare all along, or there are some supernatural elements in this book that allows her to choose her world, but alas, that is not it. It is much more complicated, much more heartbreaking, much more infuriating. I hate not knowing, I also found myself skimming through paragraphs because I felt there are a ton of unnecessary tiny plot lines that I couldn't care less about and the glaring plot line, the one I need the answer to is hidden from view. I liked Rachel, I especially liked her dad as well as her best friend, though I wished we got more of her. I can't say I wasn't frustrated with Rachel, especially in the end.. I was crying and just silently yelling at her for making this decision (yes i'm being secretive).. basically, pick it up if you want a unique chick lit, one that isn't all about fluff. It is short and bittersweet. I will definitely check out more books by Dani Atkins in the future. 

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2014

    Tear jerker

    Too sad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Loved it!!!

    Loved it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Pleases the don't read send author back to school or get her a job as a waitress

    Not a time travel book not even a good romance novel and not authentic British english dialog. Dont waste you time.

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  • Posted June 4, 2014

    It was amazing to imagine Rachel Wiltshire waking up in the hosp

    It was amazing to imagine Rachel Wiltshire waking up in the hospital and the pain of the last five years had been somehow erased. Her severe physical pain, the lost relationships, and her father's failing health were suddenly non-existent. The friend who had died saving her life walked into the room. Rachel must then try to figure out what is real. I enjoyed this book very much and was surprised by the ending. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 4, 2014

    I thoght this book was great! Recommended to those who just like

    I thoght this book was great! Recommended to those who just like a good love story and a good cry.

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  • Posted May 31, 2014

    This story was reminiscent of the movie Sliding Doors and the mo

    This story was reminiscent of the movie Sliding Doors and the movie Thirteen Going on Thirty...yet with its own special twist on the genre. Though, I initially had this book pegged as a romance, it turned out to be so much more. The characters were well written and the story really draws you in from the very first page, though the true heart of this story is the connection between Rachel and Jimmy. In both trajectories of Rachel's "life", Jimmy was the magnet for me. I thought this book was beautifully written, full of emotion and had me in tears once I started to guess at what was going to happen to bring a conclusion to Rachel's story...though whether they were sad or happy tears, is up to you to read the book and find out. I would highly recommend adding this to your reading list this summer...you will be unable to put it down, so set aside some time and dive in to this amazing and moving story.




    I received a copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    Predictable and Lame

    Waste of time to read. Plot obvious and lame.







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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    Great story. You will cry.

    Great story. You will cry.

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  • Posted May 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Magical Reading!

    If you thought no one could bring something new to the Contemporary Romance table, think again. Then and Always Dani Atkins is a true gem of a find, filled with conflicting emotions, loss, guilt, confusion and redemption as two souls finally come together as one in a joining so filled with love that no one will ever separate them.

    Rachel has the world on a string, a bright future before her, loving friends, and the love of her life, by her side. Only the failing health of her father smudges her rainbow. One millisecond in time will bring her world crashing down around her, turning it into a frightening and dark place as she fumbles for answers and a path to happiness that will excise the lump of guilt she now carries around.

    In a second, the heroic and selfless sacrifice of her closest friend, Jimmy saves her life, but ends his. Running from the reminders of Jimmy’s sacrifice, she stays away from her home town for five long years, returning only to be there for her friend’s wedding. But fate has other plans for Rachel as she, once again faces a horrible accident that places her in the hospital, only to awaken to a world that is foreign, nothing feels right, and no one remembers the tragedy from before the way she does. Even more unsettling, her father is healthy, she is engaged to the man she left behind and Jimmy is alive and well. Doubting her sanity and her grasp on reality, Rachel is determined to uncover what is going on, what happened to her memories, why are they skewed or absent? Is this a dream? With only Jimmy by her side, she attempts to unravel the tangled knots of her life, past, present and future. How can everyone else remember the past five years differently than she?

    I do not think I have ever been moved in the manner that Then and Always has moved me. Dani Atkins has created some amazing magic with her pen, her style of creation and her vivid imagination that takes romance out to the fringe and back. I was completely taken with Rachel, with Jimmy and with the beautifully mysterious way this tale unfolded. Ms. Atkins has created a rollercoaster of emotion as she peels back each layer, only to uncover another, more intense and gut-wrenching one. I was held prisoner from start to finish and never, EVER saw the ending that rocked my world with perfection, ahead of time. They say words have power. I say Dani Atkins holds great power in her words. Heart-warming, heart-breaking, simply amazing, put Then and Always on your to be read list.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2014

    > Rachel Wiltshire has lived a double life--or has she? All h

    > Rachel Wiltshire has lived a double life--or has she? All her childhood years were ideal. She has a close knit group of friends and a handsome popular boyfriend. Graduating from high school, all her friends gathered for one last meal together before they all went off to university. But when a thief's wild ride caused a stolen car to crash through the restaurant's window, her life became changed in ways that no one could imagine. 
    > 
    > The concept of this story is fascinating and definitely made me think about life and how our brains work, but it was also a bit predictable. Memory and the brain take center place in this unusual love story. This is Dani Atkins first novel, and her writing style flows nicely and kept me engaged even though I pretty much knew what would happen. Definitely hope to read more from her in the future. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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