Fractured by Dani Atkins

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Fractured by Dani Atkins

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A super debut about a girl who seems to have two lives, this one is hard to put down.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 978-1781857113

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Rachel is not living a life most people would covet. Her job is dull, she lives alone in a grotty flat, she has a scarred face that makes people stop and squirm, and she still hasn’t come to terms with the death of her best friend – who lost his life saving hers. She has to drag herself out of London and back to her hometown for the wedding of a close friend, and she goes so reluctantly because it’s the first time the whole gang will have been back together since the accident, five years ago. It’s really not a life to hold on to. Surely she’d rather anything else?

But when Rachel is given the chance to have a different life, she’s scared. Waking up in hospital after a fall, nothing is the same. Her best friend isn’t dead, in fact he’s standing at the end of her bed. She’s engaged to be married to her childhood sweetheart and has the career she always dreamed of. It’s a wonderful life… but it’s not her life. While her friends and family say it’s amnesia she’ll eventually shake off, Rachel feels shaken by the idea that something is very, very wrong, and she needs to get others to see it too. Is she dead? A ghost? Reincarnated? Dreaming? Is she a Rachel from a parallel universe who has stumbled out of her own place and time? Or has she really just taken a nasty hit to the head which has left her a bit jumbled?

This is a second chance at life for Rachel, and perhaps the most startling thing about this book is that she doesn’t jump on it. Many of us think of what we’d do or where we’d be if life had taken a different path, but we never have to face up to how we’d feel if we woke one day and all our dreams had come true. There are two different stories here, two different lives though many of the characters are the same. But there can only be one ending for Rachel, and even if she was given a pen and told to write it herself, I’m not sure she’d know what her happy ever after would look like.

I found this a really refreshing story and I warmed to Rachel from the start. Her pain is excruciating, both the physical and the emotional torment and even though she was little more than a stranger to me, I would have done almost anything to help her get beyond it. The story took surprising turns and for some of it I had to suspend my belief a little, but this faded in comparison to the gripping plot and the heart-breaking ending – I did not see it coming and was glad I was reading it at home, not out in public, as the tears rolled down my cheeks.

This is a very well written debut that is packed with elaborate explanations and attention to detail. On the surface you could call it write-by-numbers chicklit, but the timeworn characters (the handsome boyfriend who isn’t the Prince he seems, the underdog who pines for Rachel without her knowing) don’t seem clichéd here when set against the backdrop of such an unusual premise. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, and some bits still niggle in my mind if I think too long about them, but one thing is certain. This isn’t a supernatural book… but it is super.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

Leaving behind one life for another, perhaps more intentionally than in Rachel's case, is also a theme of Escape by Barbara Delinsky and Tempting Fate by Jane Green

Buy Fractured by Dani Atkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fractured by Dani Atkins at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Fractured by Dani Atkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fractured by Dani Atkins at Amazon.com.


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