Book review: Our Song by Dani Atkins

25 Jan

our songThis 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? 

You know a book is good when it keeps you up reading long into the night. As a working mum of two young children, my sleep is precious but last week I got to a point in Our Song where I just couldn’t put the book down. I’d grown so attached to the characters and so involved in the story that I had to know the ending. Who needs sleep anyway ;-)

As you might have gathered, Our Song swept me up and held me captive from the first page to the last. It’s a particularly impressive achievement as the book is a weighty 500 pages long. Every page and word counts and I could have read about Charlotte, Joe, David and Ally for another 500 pages. This is the first of Dani’s books that I’ve read and I’m so pleased that she has two other books out there for me to discover while I wait for her to write more (write fast Dani!)

The premise for Our Song is a simple one but so engaging; two men end up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of their local hospital. Two concerned wives rush to their sides. So far, so normal but then comes the killer detail – the wives have met before. One of the women has two men that she loves in the hospital that night! Flash back eight years and we join Ally on the fateful night that she meets David. Flash back six years and David is proposing (in one of the most romantic proposals I’ve read) to Charlotte. Immediately the questions begin to build; how did David and Ally’s relationship end. Why do the two still think of each other and what happened to cause such a charged reaction between  Charlotte and Ally when they meet in the hospital? As the story moves between past and present, the jumps are carefully plotted to keep the questions coming and keep the reader glued to the page.

Dani Atkins is expert at keeping the tension high as the picture of the past builds against a very real life and death struggle as each man fights to survive in the present. I found it particularly interesting how involved I felt with the characters in this book. As a reader it comes across that Dani knows her characters inside out – they feel real. Having seen some of Dani’s character profiles on her Facebook page, it’s easy to see how much thought she has put into creating believable three dimensional characters. My loyalties were very much with Ally initially but as more of the story came out I found myself questioning my own reactions to the characters and I loved the way Dani shifted my perspective and perceptions as the book progressed.

Dani certainly knows how to tug on the haertstrings and grab your emotions as a reader. I have to give special mention to young Jake’s scenes in the book. Although they are few, they were the ones that had most impact for me. Probably because my own son is the same age as Jake, I had no problem imagining the scenes with him and this certainly heightened the emotional impact of the story. His scenes brought a lump to my throat every time and there is one particular scene that had me in floods – I defy even the most steely of readers not to shed a tear!

I’ve said in previous reviews that I love books that beg the ‘what would you do in that situation?’ question and there is a huge question at the end of this book for one of the characters. I think this would be a brilliant book for reading groups to start the year with. With themes of fate, destiny, love and romance and a believable and real cast that will feel like your own family by the end Our Song made an excellent start to my reading year.

5/5

Our Song is out now in ebook formats and will be released in paperback on 28th January.

Find out more about Dani Atkins and her writing at: https://www.facebook.com/DaniAtkinsAuthor/

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of this novel.

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