These Days of Ours
by Juliet Ashton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 7th April 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 435
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)
A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.
Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?
Oh wow. The first book since a long time that I wanted to devour every single word. Marvellous, magnificent read! It reminded me so much oo the books by Lucy Robinson or Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait – the writing style, the story – but it’s a great thing, as I am a huge fan of the above mentioned authors. And now Juliet Ashton has just blown my mind with her new novel.
First things first, I have this extreme pleasure to be the owner of a very special signed proof copy of this book (thank you so, so much, Sara Jade and Juliet!), and I am already in love with the cover of this proof, but when I’ve seen the final cover, I’ve just fallen head over heels in love again. It’s beautiful. It’s so simple yet so sophisticated and just let me repeat that I love it.
„These Days of Ours” is a book about love. Simple like that. But can love be simple at all?
We follow here stories of Kate, Charlie and Becca, from when they were 5 – year – old kids, through they teenage years, through marriages, children, work, troubles and happiness, travelling and many, many changes, but all of them stay in touch and are thick as thieves. Especially Kate and Charlie. Thanks to these vignettes in Kate’s life, those most important moments in everyone’s lives, such as weddings, Christenings, births and funerals, parties, we are taken through twenty years of relationship – can you imagine?
What I simply adored in this story is the fact that the author managed to take me by surprise, more than once, with the twists and turns in the story. I know, it sounds so simple, but believe me, those twists and turns were amazing and I wasn’t able to see them until they came and slapped me in the face.
What was also great is that the story is told through different events, at the turn of many, many years, and concentrates on the most significant points and events in the characters’ lives. Each chapter starts with an invitation to the events that are like milestones in the characters’ lives, so there is really no a lot of blah, blah, blah – ing, we’re mostly presented with a fait accompli, but I didn’t have for a single second a feeling that I’ve missed on some information, that the author skipped something important. The time, and together with the time the pace, were passing so quickly, and we accompanied Kate and Becca on the journey through the years and were witnesses to their lives’ changing.
There is no dragging on, there is no feeling that the reading is like chewing a tasteless, dragging bubble gum, and it made the pace feel so quick. But there was one thing stable, permanent and not changing: the feeling between Charlie and Kate. It was developing, it was blossoming, it was mourning, it was in hell, but it was always there. It was in fact this relationship, this unfulfilled love that made the book so captivating – when you’ve seen Kate and Charlie together you had a feeling they just belong together, and it made me feel so helpless seeing how they’re ways drift away.
As for the characters, wow. I’m sure you know this feeling when you feel a part of the characters’ world so much that you want to turn and start to talk with them, to tell them what you’re thinking – it was like this when I was reading the book. I felt a part of this novel, and I wanted to shake Kate, Becca and Charlie sometimes and tell them what I think. They were all brilliantly drawn, they felt so realistic and I adored the way they developed and matured, it was so genuine. The bond between Kate and Charlie was lovely and unique. The relationship between Kate and her cousin Becca was realistic and genuine, and the author has captured all the smallest details that built such relationship. Sure, I think we were supposed to dislike Becca in this relationship, as she was the Beautiful One, always getting what she wanted, she was spoiled and very self – centred and she was the one to ruin everything, but there was also much more to Becca than meets the eye. This relationship between Kate and Becca was both intriguing and annoying, and yes, it was Becca’s the annoying part mostly, but in the end I think that all of us are going to forgive Becca for all the mistakes she’s made, as she really, deep down, wasn’t a bad person. And even though the story concentrates mostly on Kate, we are also introduced to other characters, such as the girls’ families and partners, and I truly loved here the subplot of the orphanage in China and Kate’s father, the orphanage that might have seen as only a subplot, but in the end turned out to be an incredibly important part of the story and it pained me that Kate’s father couldn’t follow his dream.
So yes, the characters were brilliant. Greatly developed, with their own personalities and voices, and – what’s always so important to me – they were moving. They were developing, growing and changing, and the relationships between them were really, truly complicated.
The writing style is beautiful. It is full of emotions and feelings. The author has no problems to draw the readers direct into the heart of the story and to make them feel like a part of the characters’ world. The author, just like Lucy Robinson, has this incredible talent to describe all possible feelings. She just knows how people feel and can wonderfully put it into words. „These Days of Ours” is bitter – sweet, funny and simultaneously sad, beautiful and unique love story that will stay with you for long. Juliet Ashton has an incredible talent for storytelling and I was immediately hooked to the story, I didn’t want to put the book down for a single second. She has written a novel that I was sure I knew what’s going to happen next, but after turning the page I could only gasp and see that there is a surprise waiting for me. It is this kind of book that you not only read, but LIVE. Amazing. And highly recommended. My first Hall of Fame review this year.