Thursday 14 March 2013

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

It is 11th February 1910 and the third child of Hugh and Sylvie Todd is born. But disaster strikes when the child - a daughter named Ursula - is delivered with the cord wrapped around her neck. With the doctor stuck in a snowstorm, the baby dies.
But what if events had been different? What if the doctor had made it to the house in time to save the baby? What if Ursula had lived?
Life After Life tells the story of Ursula Todd as her life restarts after her fateful birth. Ursula is given a second chance at life and when disaster strikes the Todd household yet again, Ursula's life restarts with subtle changes transforming her destiny.
Ursula and her siblings grow up at the idyllic Fox Corner but their life is often turbulent as they face not one but two wars. Ursula is only a child as Britain goes to war in 1914 but is an adult at the advent of World Ward Two and as such has many hardships to face. But Ursula is special and has the chance to change her path in life.
Life After Life is a wonderful book that asks the question what if you could change the events of your life? I loved being immersed in Ursula's life, even if she did find herself in some dire situations that were so awful it was a relief when she died and could start all over again. It took a little getting used to the structure of the book as it skipped backwards and forwards through the years but it wasn't long before it all became clear and I was hooked. The book looks like quite a hefty read but, finding it extremely difficult to put down, I soon whizzed through it. The only downfall of this was I finished the book quickly and I was sad to reach the end as I had been enjoying it immensely.
Life After Life deals with some tough and distressing situations but is also threaded with humour, particularly at the expense of Ursula's older, troublesome brother, Maurice. Many of the scenes are repeated in the book but it never feels boring as there are always changes as Ursula's life is altered and seeing these slightly different scenes while knowing how they had played out previously was my favourite aspect of the book.
Life After Life is the best book I've read so far in 2013 and though we're only in March, I suspect it'll be difficult to be beaten. I urge everyone to get their hands on a copy.
Thank you to Transworld Books for sending me a copy to review


  1. This sounds like my perfect book, but I've always struggled with Atkinson's style. She's on breakfast TV in a moment, so I'm hoping that will help me get into her head so I'll be able to read the book.

    1. This is actually the first Kate Atkinson book I've read (crazy person that I am). If you do read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. Thanks for posting this review, you made this book sound so interesting.



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