I love books and films that look at what might have happened if people had made different choices. Films like Sliding Doors and of course, It’s A Wonderful Life. Books like Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife, Laura Barnett’s The Versions of Us and Carmel Harrington’s Every Time a Bell Rings. And Hannah McKinnon has written a book which is right up there as one of my favourites.
Hayley is a high flying lawyer working in mergers and acquisitions. She’s always loved her job and been very good at it but recently pressure at work has taken over. She’s spending more and more time at work, seeing less and less of husband Rick and children Millie and Danny and more time snapping and arguing with them. After an argument she storms off to best friend Ellen’s and over a bottle of wine they do the ‘what if’ chat about Hayley’s previous boyfriends. When she wakes the next morning she is horrified to find herself in bed with Chris, her first serious boyfriend. Has she had so much to drink that she has cheated on her husband and can’t remember?
Poor Hayley soon comes to realise that she seems to be married to Chris and it most definitely hasn’t worked out well. “Am I getting what I asked for? A glimpse into how my life could have been?” And when she wakens up over the next few days, she finds she is in a relationship with each of the men she has had serious relationships with. “He said it’s Saturday. Dear God, it’s like Groundhog Day meets Sliding Doors!”
What was great fun about this book was that although Hayley could remember clearly all about her real life with Rick and her children, of course nobody else could in these alternate lives. All the people she loved and cared about were living the alternate lives too leading sometimes to really funny situations and sometimes to really heartbreaking ones. Hayley realising that she was the leader of a kickboxing class was just hilarious. Finding out what happened to Hayley’s friends and family in some of the alternate versions gave me a lump in the throat. Hannah McKinnon was just terrific at making me feel all the emotions along with Hayley.
Time After Time was a book that I raced through. Although it moves back and forward in time and different realities a lot, I was never confused as to what part of Hayley’s life I was reading about. The characters were all so believable whether they were likeable or not. Hannah McKinnon created alternative realities for Hayley that were true to life, whether that life was funny, disappointing or upsetting. “Life was messy, it got complicated. What mattered, Hayley realised, was how you dealt with it.” Hugely enjoyable, a must read for anyone who loves a great romantic comedy story and believes in true love. And a lesson that, as always, you must be careful what you wish for!
I’m grateful to publishers Avon for allowing me to read a review copy of this book via Netgalley. Time After Time was published on 2nd June and you can order a copy here: Time After Time. At the time of writing it is an amazing 99p so make sure you don’t miss the chance to read this lovely book at such a great price.
From the back of the book
Time After Time is a fresh and funny work of women’s commercial fiction, which explores the romantic paths that could have been . . .
For fans of Laura Barnett and Dani Atkins, Hannah McKinnon has written a moving story that will resonate with any woman who has ever wondered, in a moment of frustration, “what if?”.
Hayley Cooper, a powerful but now struggling lawyer, fantasizes about what her life would be like if only if she’d made different choices. It’s understandable; the past two years have been hell. She barely sees her kids, her boss is trying to sabotage her, and her marriage is falling apart.
Burnt out, Hayley goes to sleep wishing for a different life. When she wakes up married to her first boyfriend, one she has not seen in over twenty years, she realizes there might be some truth in the saying “be careful what you wish for”. Over a single weekend, like Ebenezer Scrooge, Hayley gets to see her life on other side of the white picket fence – not just with her first ex, but with each of her past loves. But is the grass always greener, and will she ever want to go home?