Thank you to Michael Joseph and Penguin Random House for a proof copy of this emotional debut novel, published in the UK on Thursday 1st April 2020. This book is a BBC2 BETWEEN THE COVERS PICK. Here is my mini non spoiler review.
She could be the girl dancing on tables one night, and the next she’d be hiding in the shadows.
Just when I thought I understood her, she would melt away and become a completely new person, and I’d have to start all over again.
That’s how it was with Anna.
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.
So 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 everyone 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 a love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.
This was an emotional read. Nick’s life was filled with loss, he lost his mum at an early age (we don’t find out what happened until part way through the book) and the book starts with his brother in the grip of severe depression.
The story moves backwards and forwards in time, through Nick’s childhood, the summer he spent working at his local cinema (and met Anna) and then to more recent times as he travels to New York to visit his brother.
Anna has had a very different childhood to Nick, but is drawn into a relationship with him whilst her on/off boyfriend is away. Will it be a summer fling or can it last forever?
A thought provoking read about love, family, loss and the future. I enjoyed Jodie Chapman’s storytelling and look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Jodie Chapman has spent twelve years working as a photographer and lives in Kent. In 2016, she was accepted on the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. Another Life is her first novel.