This 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 for one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever.
Our Song by Dani Atkins is published by Simon & Schuster, in paperback on 28 January 2016, the ebook is released on 21 January.
Our Song is the first of Dani Atkins' books that I've read, and if this one is anything to go by, then I've missed out on some real treats, I will be rectifying that!
It's very rare that I actually cry when reading a book. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a hard heart, it's just that I tend to well up at visual images; news stories, film and TV, rather than words on a page. Our Song made me beal (a Lincolnshire term!!). I finished reading it late last night, just as my husband came downstairs and asked if I'd like a cup of tea. I couldn't answer because of the tears, the snot, and the lump in my throat. He was alarmed, and later, when he'd ensured that I wasn't in pain, and that I hadn't had some bad news, he said that in over 20 years and probably thousands of books, he'd never seen me react in that way to a story.
Our Song begins on a cold winter morning, Joe is walking through the park when he does something incredibly brave and selfless, at the same time, David is doing a spot of Christmas shopping, determined to find something special for his wife. This should be just an ordinary day in the lives of two couples, but the events that happen change everything, for all of them.
Ally, Joe's wife answers the door to two police officers, and Charlotte, David's wife answers her phone to hear a distraught shop assistant telling her that David has collapsed. David and Joe have both been taken by ambulance to the local hospital, the women rush to their husband's bedside, in shock, unbelieving, desperate to make sure that they are OK.
Our Song is a story of chance, and coincidence, and it soon becomes clear that these two couples are not strangers. They have a long and turbulent history, although it is years since any of them last met.
Dani Atkins writes with such warmth and emotion. The reader is immediately immersed into the lives of the four main characters, she snares you in and it really is very difficult to put this book down at all. The author cleverly takes the reader back and forward through the stages of the character's lives and relationships, gently unfolding the events that have made each of them who they are today.
The characters are so beautifully drawn that it is impossible not to feel as though you actually know them. They are not perfect, well, maybe Joe is ..... oh, I am SO in love with Joe, but they are flawlessly created. Their behaviour is consistent, their longings are heart-wrenching, their story is incredibly powerful, emotional and very moving.
Our Song is a book that will remain in my memory for a long time. It shows how one single act of kindness can have a massive effect on so many people, and how one selfless act can change the course of many lives. Dealing with first love, and friendship, growing up and regrets, this really is a beautiful novel.
My thanks to Sara-Jane from Books and the City who sent my copy for review.
Dani Atkins was born in London in 1958, and grew up in Cockfosters, a suburb of north London. She moved to rural Hertfordshire in 1985, where has lived in a small village ever since with her husband, two (now grown-up) children, one Siamese kitten and a soppy Border Collie.
Dani has been writing for fun all her life, but following the publication of her novels Fractured (published as Then and Always in the US) and The Story of Us in 2014, now writes for work. This is her third novel.
Connect with Dani on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @AtkinsDani #OurSong