source: free review copy via AmazonVine
title: Then and Always
author: Dani Atkins
published: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (May 20, 2014)
first line: My first life ended at 10:37 p.m. on a rainy December night, on a deserted street beside the old church.
rated: 4 out of 5
For fans of One Day, What Alice Forgot, and the hit film Sliding Doors, comes an absorbing and surprising debut novel about a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life . . . just not in one she remembers.
Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart.
Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with her grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.
One evening while out to dinner with friends, Rachel Wiltshire’s life is changed forever. A car crashes into the front windows of the restaurant and Rachel is lucky to be alive but her close friend Jimmy perishes while saving her life. From this day forward Rachel lives with scars both seen and unseen, as she suffers from post traumatic stress. She moves out of town, breaks up with her beau Matt and tries to move on as best as she can. Fast forward to five years when she is called back home for the wedding of one of her close friends.