Thank you for my spot on this blog tour and for the gifted copy of the book, all opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.
Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick. She’s grown up preparing for the End of Days, in a tightly-controlled existence where christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off limits.
When Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation – hints of the people they hope to become.
But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she’s ever believed in, and everything she’s ever loved. She walks away – and Nick doesn’t stop her.
Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life. But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice: between love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.
I have seen so many people raving about this debut novel on Twitter and other social media sites. I had been looking forward to picking it up and reading it. It is a beautifully well written book. About love. But not just as in the romantic kind of love we all crave. But the kind of love that can shape us, it can make us who we are, love given by our parents, or in some cases the lack of love given. Love between siblings, and then the romantic love if you are lucky enough to meet that one person. The characters in the story are a mixture. There’s no real romance, or is there? there’s everyday complications, fear of commitment, grief of a lost loved one.
Most of the story is narrated by Nick one of the main protagonists, except occasionally we see emails written by Anna to Nick although I don’t believe she ever sent any of them, as well as some poetry by Anna. Later there are also a couple of letters from Nick’s mum Eve.
The timeline for the initial chapter is 2018, and it is heartbreaking. But after that the timeline goes all over the place summer 2003, the mid eighties, early nineties, 2001, 1991and ending in 2020. I have to admit for me personally I found it at times confusing because something will have happened in a timeline then we jump forward but then the time goes back again before the event. So throughout the book the timeline changes back and forth, it’s not written in any sort of order. I don’t mind jumping back and forth between a couple of timelines but I just didn’t like how it would tell you of something that happened then jump forward but then go back before that thing had happened. But this is just my personal opinion.
Nick and Anna met in the summer of 2003, Anna was 19 and Nick 22, they are both working in the local cinema. They had nothing in common, different backgrounds, different taste in music, life. I am not a fan of Anna at all especially at the beginning, I warm to her slightly later, she has been raised within a very religious family, almost cult like, this means she is expected to marry someone of the same belief, if she strays she will lose her family. She is feisty, abrupt and prickly. But she likes Nick, she wants Nick but he is forbidden. Nick also wants Anna, but he doesn’t ever want marriage, he has seen his parents marriage, he doesn’t believe that piece of paper will make a difference. He doesn’t know how to communicate, but they are so young when they meet. Their relationship is very short lived during that summer but it is quite intense. Anna never holds back she always says what she thinks. Over the years Anna and Nick do bump into each other at different stages.
As the years pass and the characters grow, and mature. To some extent they change from their young selves and begin to realise things about life. There is sadness within the story, enlightenment. Is there one person out there that is truly just for you?
I really wish I could have liked the characters more, I find this makes my reading experience so much better. But so many of these characters have different flaws, which I know makes them human, because we all have some flaws in us. The two people I liked were Sal and his mother Eve. I found myself at times getting cross with Anna and with Nick. But maybe that’s a good thing, that they evoked such strong responses.
A well crafted debut novel, that will make you think. It tackles love, grief, families. Expectations that can’t always be met. There were times I struggled with getting into parts of the story, but the short chapters kept me turning the pages and reading until the end.
I give this book 4⭐️ out of 5. Definitely a book worth reading. I look forward to see what the writer comes up with next.
Thank you to the publishers Michael J Books for an ARC of this and for my spot on the blog tour. All opinions and thoughts are my own and not influenced in any way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jodie Chapman has spent twelve years working as a photographer and lives in Kent.
Jodie was raised as a practising Jehovah’s Witness, but left the faith in recent years when her doubts about the way of life became too big to ignore, and now, with her own family, she was conscious of the impact on her three children. Many of her immediate family are still practising. While Another Life is not autobiographical, Jodie’s personal experiences have had an impact on her writing, her creativity, her approach to voice, and her creation of the character of Anna and her relationship with Nick. Jodie is willing to discuss her own experiences in interviews and written pieces, as long as handled sensitively.
In 2016, Jodie was accepted on the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. Another Life is her first novel.
Social media links
Twitter and Instagram: @jodiechapman #AnotherLife