Then and Always: A Novel

Then and Always: A Novel

3.6 16
by Dani Atkins

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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


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.

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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Random House Publishing Group
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2 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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Then and Always: A Novel 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
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. 
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
One evening while out to dinner with friends, Rachel Wiltshire's life is changed forever. A car crashes into the front windows of the restaurant and Rachel is lucky to be alive, but her close friend Jimmy perishes while saving her life. From this day forward Rachel  lives with scars both seen and unseen, as she suffers much post traumatic stress. She moves out of town, breaks up with her beau  Matt and tries to move on as best as she can. Fast forward to five years when she is called back home for the wedding of one of her close friends. When she arrives back home and is reunited with her old flame Matt and her friends, an accident leaves her in the hospital unconscious.  When she awakens, she finds herself in an entirely alternate life. Jimmy is still alive, she is engaged to Matt and she has the  career she always wanted. The problem is Rachel wonders where her old life went and how this new perfect life can possibly be real. As she tries to put together the pieces of the puzzle, she questions her sanity. As clues are revealed, more questions arise as to what happened to Rachel's life. Is she just suffering amnesia? Is she having a mental breakdown? Despite its slow start, Then and Always drew me in. This plot driven novel had me wondering plenty. I guessed until the end because I really had no clue as to what was real or not. I wondered right alongside Rachel. As I read, I rooted for Jimmy and wanted Rachel's final reality to include her involved with him. He dies for her at the start for  crying out loud, how could she not choose him? Like I mentioned, the novel has a slow start, but once the momentum gets going, I could not put this one down. There were so many sweet scenes and so much tension between Rachel and Jimmy and I eagerly waited for what would happen next. So thank you author Dani Atkins. I was totally surprised with the ending and I shed a tear. ...Maybe it wasn't just in fairy tales that the prince's kiss could bring the sleeping princess back to life... p.183, Then and Always by Dani Atkins disclaimer: I received my free copy of Then and Always by Dani Atkins via AmazonVine. This review is my honest opinion. Although I receive free books via publishers and authors, I am never obligated to write a positive review.
Kathae More than 1 year ago
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.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
> 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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting read for a debut novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read, did not want to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a time travel book not even a good romance novel and not authentic British english dialog. Dont waste you time.
me2nc More than 1 year ago
I thoght this book was great! Recommended to those who just like a good love story and a good cry.
The_Book_Goddess More than 1 year ago
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 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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste of time to read. Plot obvious and lame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. You will cry.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
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.