And Then It Happened by Linda Green

Competition published on July 1, 2018.

Mel Taylor was thirteen years old when she found Adam. Twenty years on, they are still blissfully in love. She has everything she ever wished for. But Mel’s happiness is spoilt by a secret from their past and a niggling fear that her good fortune can’t last forever. Despite her husband Adam’s efforts to reassure her that nothing bad is going to happen, Mel can’t shake the feeling that good things can’t last forever. But what she isn’t expecting, is something so terrible that their lives will be changed forever . . .

Read Erin’s review of the novel below:

Mel and Adam met when they were thirteen years old; it was a case of love at first sight and they’ve been together ever since. Some twenty years after that first meeting and looking forward to their tenth wedding anniversary, Mel can’t quite believe how happy she is and how lucky she has been. She and Adam are still absolutely besotted with each other, they have a wonderful young daughter, Maya, they both have interesting, fulfilling careers, and they enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle accompanied by friends and family. Still, Mel can’t quite shake the belief that there is bad luck on the horizon.

Adam does his best to reassure Mel, but he doesn’t really believe that their undeniable good fortune is destined to be challenged by fate. Of course, he also doesn’t know about the secret that Mel has been keeping for years, a secret that has tainted her sense of happiness the entire time. When fate does eventually come calling, Adam suffers a serious accident at work and Mel is left to pick up the pieces of their shattered family life. Mel has to contend with the love of her life being taken from her, while Adam has to deal with the fact he is now trapped in a coma and dependent on others, with no way of letting them know he is still in there.

And Then It Happened is a thought-provoking novel about love and loss and everything that happens in between. The story is told in alternating chapters by Mel and Adam, which serves to highlight their feelings for one another and allows for secrets to be teased out as they both struggle to come to terms with their new reality. The emphasis that is placed on their happiness and supreme level of contentment with each other at the beginning of the book does initially seem a bit overdone, but actually it allows for the contrast in their circumstances after Adam’s accident to be even more pronounced. Their almost preternatural happiness at the beginning gives way with devastating effect to the realistic uncertainty, anger and upset that they both experience later.

Mel is arguably the lead character in the novel, despite the duel narrative approach. Although her persistent worry that she and Adam were due some bad luck was a little strange at first, she really came into her own as a strong, caring and very patient character after Adam’s accident. That’s not to say she didn’t have the odd wobble while looking after him, but such doubts made her a far more believable and sympathetic character. Really, it was nice that Linda Green didn’t make her totally perfect. The difference in Adam’s narrative before and after the accident was very well done. Green does a great job of portraying his sense of bewilderment and frustration. Their interactions with each other and their thoughts as the story progresses demonstrate that it is possible both to be a perfect couple and to have a few secrets. Their relationship remains convincing throughout.

A moving and surprisingly hopeful novel, And Then It Happened is almost certain to tug at the heartstrings. It’s a fairly slow and undeniably realistic portrayal of the difficulty of coming to terms with the consequences of a devastating accident and deciding how best to move on with life. It’s the kind of story that stays with you long after you have finished reading it.

Erin Britton 4/4

And Then It Happened by Linda Green
Quercus 9781786487063 pbk Jun 2018

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