Book Review: Our Song by Dani Atkins

Title - Our Song
Author - Dani Atkins
Publication Date - January 21st 2016
Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 503

This is the story of Ally and Charlotte, whose paths have intersected over the years though they've never really been close friends. Charlotte married Ally's ex and first true love, David. Fate is about to bring them together one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever.

Full of Dani's signature warmth and emotion, this is a gripping and emotional family drama. With breath-taking plot twists, Dani explores themes of serendipity, friendship and love. She fully engages the reader in the dilemmas faced by her characters. What would you do if your husband was the love of somebody else's life? And when faced with an agonising decision, could you put the past behind you and do the right thing?

First of all, I'd just like to thank the wonderful Sara from Books and the City for sending me a gorgeous proof copy of Our Song by Dani Atkins, in exchange for a fair and honest review. Our Song is the first novel that I've read by Dani Atkins, and after falling beneath this phenomenal storyteller's spell, it will not be the last. This tale was so seamlessly told, unravelled ribbon by ribbon, only to deliver a sumptuously emotional middle, that broke my heart over and over again. It was powerful and real, and one that will remain with me for a very long time to come.

I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, in reviews when the author has chosen to tell their story in this way, but throughout Our Song, Dani Atkins takes her readers backwards and forwards in time to really deliver the full blow. Taking us right back to the very beginning, and then somehow, taking us all the way to the very end, everything in-between was just superb. Dani has a beautiful way with words, her style classy and elegant, yet it's entirely warm and comforting. As I progressed through the chapters, it became clear to me that Dani knew her characters inside out. I could see each of them, Ally, Charlotte, David and Joe, in brilliant 3D, standing there on the page right in front of me. Their characteristics, unique behaviours and thoughts, only pulled me closer towards them, and this added so much emotion to every blow the characters received throughout their separate journeys. Having me feel this close to the characters, I felt as if I were beside them every single step of the way towards their future. Dani spilled her characters' hearts open to me. I knew their wishes, their hopes and dreams, and I only hoped that life would be good to them. The switching between the past and present allowed me an insight into the back-story that decided the road to the present day, and despite a desperate urge to skip forward to find out what happened, throughout the time I spent reading this novel, I knew I had to hold back so as not to ruin the full, final effect for myself. I was tempted though. Oh-so-tempted.

From beginning to end, Dani Atkins included every aspect of Ally, Charlotte and David's lives. Snippets of memories, conversations and incidents that would always be remembered, I felt that a whole life-time passed between the pages. Poignant and stunningly portrayed, Dani explored the deepest depths of her characters and it moved me immeasurably. I watched them grow and change as time passed by, felt sadness and happiness as they did, and hoped that they'd reach a satisfying end when the time came for their entwined story to come to an end.

I'm not ashamed to say that I shed more than a few tears while reading Our Song. While incredibly enjoyable to read, Dani Atkins ensured that she included all of the normal aspects of life too, which for me, only made it all the more heartbreaking. Those special moments of falling in love for the very first time, that heartbreaking torture of waiting to hear good or bad news... My heart was completely invested in this book, in these characters, and their eventual outcome.

Becca's Books is awarding Our Song by Dani Atkins with five gorgeous cupcakes. This is a story that will make you think about your own future and past, and perhaps even of where you'll end up in the years to come. It summons up all sorts of thoughts and feelings about life and the choices we make, and how those choices affect the future. Our Song was simply stunning storytelling and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for future releases from Dani Atkins.


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