I always think of chick lit as the chocolate bar of the literary world - something small and sweet and heartwarming that will make you feel good while you're eating it but won't really satisfy you for long. Well, Dani Atkins offers a lot more than that - you get a three course meal of romance, suspense and a tearjerker finale that will have your heart in your throat and stay with you long after you've turned the final page.
It all starts just like an episode of Casualty. You see two totally unrelated men, going about their business before having a health emergency - David is buying jewellery for his wife when he has a funny turn, Joe falls through the ice on a frozen pond trying to rescue some kids in the park. Both men are rushed to the same ward on the same hospital and their next of kin are informed. As they rush to be by their husbands' sides, the panic-stricken wives, Charlotte and Ally, may think that things couldn't get any worse, but they are in for a nasty surprise. Ally and David used to be love's young dream back in their university days, until Charlotte came along and put a spanner in the works. Charlotte got her man but is always worried that her husband hankers after Ally, the one that got away. As the two terrified women wait for news of their respective other halves, they also have to deal with a lot of skeletons in their collective closet and call an uneasy and fragile truce.
The novel uses a series of flashbacks to retell the story of the romance gone wrong eight years earlier, from various viewpoints so that you can see the misunderstandings and hastily drawn conclusions that led to a lot of heartache and bitterness. We also get to see the sensible adults that the carefree students have grown into, and the tragic destiny that has drawn their lives together for one final, crushing blow.
It's an incredibly poignant yet ultimately heartwarming story that really draws you in, so that you feel sorry for all of the characters, despite their faults. I did work out exactly where it was going quite some way before the end, but it was so masterfully written that I still felt totally gripped and emotionally wrung out reading the heart-rending conclusion. It is also a novel that will make you think about an important issue (but I won't tell you what that is, or it will ruin the end).
If you like the romantic, feelgood mood of chicklit but also want a novel with a bit more bite, Our Song ticks all the right boxes and I highly recommend it, whatever genre of novels you usually pick.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £7.99
Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.