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 fot 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.
Well thank you so much Ellie for sending me a proof of this book, creating a bit of a stir on Twitter I felt very lucky indeed to be able to pick this book up pre publication to see what all the fuss was about. Another Life is an incredible work of contemporary fiction. Ostensibly the story of Nick and Anna, a love story that doesn’t quite get off the ground, but they meet again some years later… but my goodness this book is so much more.
Told by Nick in a nonlinear format we begin with a tragedy before skipping back to the teenage years when Nick and Anna first met, going back further we learn of a dreadful event in Nick’s life at the end of part one. An event that made me pause momentarily to process it and repair my fractured heart. Yes folks this is an emotional read, tissues at the ready I would suggest.
While this book is about relationships, family, loss and love, the meeting of Nick and Anna occurs one summer when they are in their early twenties, immediately drawn to one another, what they have is special and private and this relationship is a key theme thoroughout the book. But their differences it seems are too much, for Nick, impacted by his past experiences he is closed and unable to express his true feelings to Anna. For Anna the costs are huge, culturally this pair are miles apart and without true commitment Anna cannot risk it.
A character driven novel, I was particularly drawn to Anna and Nick’s younger brother Sal. The author skillfully developed the key characters though and despite my feelings towards Nick and his father being mixed, I was able to sympathise with both, although at times I wanted to scream at Nick! The story is beautiful, exploring the characters lives, their opportunities and thier flaws. The writing was excellent and I enjoyed the way the story unfolded while being told in concurrent timelines, the chapters had the year at the beginning which was helpful. I appreciated the range of this book, in just short of 400 pages it told the story of a lifetime, from childhood to midlife, without striving necessarily for a happy ending but rather moving through life with all that that may bring.
Thank you again Ellie for sending me this book which is published today, I am delighted it is getting so many rave reviews on social media, this is all deserved and this is a book, put simply that I loved and will be recommending far and wide!
About the Author
Jodie Chapman has spent twelve years working as a photographer and lives in Kent.
Jodie was raised by practising Jehovah’s Witness, but left the faith in recent years when her doubts about the way of life became too big to ignore, and now, with her own family, she was conscious of the impact on her three children. Many of her immediate family are still practising. While Another Life is not autobiographical, Jodie’s personal experiences have had an impact on her writing, her creativity, her approach to voice and her creation of the character Anna and her relationship with Nick.
In 2016, Jodie was accepted on the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. Another Life is her first novel.