By Laura Barnett.
What if you had said yes? The moments that change everything… One Day meets Sliding Doors in this outstanding debut that is causing a buzz across the publishing world
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if…?
A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.
Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.
The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.
Well, I went into this book without reading the above blurb very attentively, so I was surprised to find it was about three versions of Eva and Jim’s lives, not just two. Adding to my initial confusion was the fact that I started reading it only a couple of chapters at a time, which made me lose track of which version was which when I got back to it after a break. After the first few chapters though, I was able to read large chunks of it at once and found it flowed much better that way.
The initial moment that the book describes is Eva’s and Jim’s birth, and it was written in such a way that I immediately knew I was going to enjoy this book. After that, the defining moment in their lives that starts off the different versions that we follow throughout the book was a very cute one, involving a bicycle and a nail on the road.
I like the fact that, even though that one moment originates three different versions, in all of them there are some things that remain the same, the main one being, of course, the connection Eva and Jim share.
I enjoyed that no one version is objectively and clearly the better one. Every version has its highs and lows, and in the end, it all comes down to the same thing: two very flawed, very real people who always manage to connect with each other and find their way into each others lives.
Spanning years and continents, it’s a really cool ride.
3 hearts out of 5