Publication Date 01/04/21
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.
Five Star Review
Much more than a romantic love story. This is a book about love in all its wonderous forms.
Nick and Anna are just wonderful characters. Both of them are pained and searching for meaning in their world. But Anna is scared of the love she has for Nick and he is scared to tell her he loves her. At times I wanted to shout to Nick just tell her but then I understood why he felt he couldn't and It broke my heart. There is a reveal later about his mother that made me weep.
The story is narrated through three different timelines. And it is gorgeous and nostalgic. You can feel the heat of the long idyllic summers and wander with them through the streets of the town. I was swept away wanting to know what happened to his Mum but equally so I was entranced with their romance and why Sal was so damaged.
There are so many layers of relationships in this book, so many turns that are filled with raw emotions. The story of Nick and Sal as brothers is beautiful and very moving but then too is the relationship between his Dad and his Mum. It is funny how our memories aren't always as exact as we feel they are. How we can be such different people when we are with someone else. I wonder how much we miss about those around us?
An intelligent book about love, grief and loss. But hope is it's most powerful message.