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.
Another Life is a gorgeous, captivating read. The main character Nick starts seeing a local girl, Anna, who is from an ultra-religious background. Nick has his own problems and that, combined with a secret relationship with Anna, means things end between them perhaps prematurely.
The book focuses on Nick the present day and also the story of his relationship with Anna ‘back then’, so we see multiple timeframes which explains much more about Nick’s personality and background, and perhaps why he behaves the way he does – he is often told, by others, that he lacks emotion, is very calm-headed and without real passion. However, we know that this is simply not the case – Nick is a complex character having to deal with so much, not least the awful situation with his little brother which is heartbreaking to read.
This book really is an emotional rollercoaster. I couldn’t put it down and loved every minute. It’s written beautifully, the characters feel convincing and well-rounded, and it’s certainly not ‘just’ a love story – for me, it’s SO much more than that. It’s about family, responsibility, regrets, societal expectations, religion and, of course, also about love in its many forms. It completely absorbed me and I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say, read this – even if it’s not something you’d usually pick up. It’s a brilliant read.
Many thanks to the publisher, Michael Joseph, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.