*Thank you to Tom Ellen and Netgalley for the free copy of this book*
I feel so lucky to have been accepted for an ARC of this book, due for release, October 2020. I absolutely love the stories where people are taken back in time to see what their lives could have been if they had made different choices and Tom really knocked this one out of the park – it was, to put it straight, phenomenal.
Ben’s story had a twist of A Christmas Carol and Groundhog day, in which the story begins with him wallowing in the mistakes he has made over the past few months, whilst being in an unhappy marriage. He starts to question what his life could’ve been if he had made that anticipated move on his old university friend, Alice, rather than on his current wife, Daphne, all those years ago. With his marriage in a bit of a shamble and the eager feeling to reconnect with Alice consuming him, Ben questions if his marital issues are due to the fact that he and Daphne weren’t meant to be. Should he have actually chosen Alice and would life be better for him now? With the help of a mysterious stranger and a broken watch, stuck on one minute to midnight on Christmas Eve – Ben is given the second chance to go back in time and see if all of the thoughts niggling in his mind are true.
I absolutely loved that with this watch, Ben was pulled back through time starting at uni, where he made the ultimate decision in the first place, all the way in to the future to see what could have been, if he had chosen Alice. He is forced to relive moments that cause him much heart-break and torture, however, with every moment relived, Ben finds out something that he hadn’t the first time round – allowing him to see situations in a different perspective. What he didn’t appreciate in the present, he soon began to appreciate in the past and future.
I had all the expectations that Ben would realise that he did, in fact, choose the wrong woman all this time – however, the story took a whole other turn, opening Ben’s eyes to what he already has, how he’d become too self-obsessed to see how much his wife had gone through and given up to support him during rough times, and most importantly, having the chance to fall in love with Daphne all over again.
I absolutely loved this book. I don’t read books from a male perspective very often, if ever, so this book was a breath of fresh air from what I had grown so used to. Ben was a really likeable character, who most certainly had his bad moments, but, who doesn’t? I was fascinated with the ‘A Christmas Carol’ structure, in which Ben relived certain moments of his past, while not making any impact on the present whatsoever. It was literally just a second chance for him to make things right – no one else was affected. There was some very moving scenes with his mother and father as well, showing that Ben being pulled back through time was not just to solve his problems with Daphne, but also to get his second chance with other people in his life – things he wished he hadn’t said, things he wished he had said, questions he never asked. He finally got the closure, even if those people will never know it happened.
An absolutely outstanding book from Tom Ellen, now leaving me extremely eager to purchase all other books he has written, whilst getting excited for what else is to come!