26 October 2016

Book Review: These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton

"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…?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book now!

This book was sent to me a few months ago by the lovely SJV at Simon and Schuster, and I was lucky enough that it was a signed copy, which made me really excited! I somehow managed to get so behind on my reviewing, but finally got around to reading this one, and I just wish I hadn't waited so long to finally read it because this was a truly amazing and touching story, and one that I know will stay with me for a long time to come.

The story is centred around cousins, Kate and Becca. They're very close, more like sisters than cousins, and do practically everything together. They share birthday parties, celebrations, and even their weddings. Kate has always loved Charlie, and thought he felt the same too. But somehow, fate intervenes and Kate discovers that perhaps she should broaden her horizons and not always follow how she thought her life would map out. But what will this mean for the cousins, and will their relationship stand the test of time... and adulthood?

First of all, I want to comment on the brilliant way this book progresses. It begins with the two girls as young girls, then moves through into their eighteenth birthdays, their weddings and finally it slows down towards the end of the book as the women cope with adulthood, and their very different lifestyles. I loved how we stuck with the same characters, that the book moves through time perfectly, and you feel like you really are a part of Becca and Kate's lives, and that you're almost seeing them grow up in front of your very eyes.

The story is told from the perspective of Kate, although Becca is very prominent throughout the book of course, as is Charlie, the love of Kate's life. The cast of characters is actually quite small throughout the book, but this works well and allows the story to really focus on Kate, Becca and their various relationships. I really enjoyed the relationship between the cousins; it felt very real, and I liked how it was affected by very realistic issues as the pair got older, and inevitably grow apart a little. Kate was my favourite of the two, not just because she is the narrator but I just found her far more likeable than Becca, and I felt I could relate to her a bit more, being quieter and far shier than her outgoing cousin!

There were a lot of twists and turns thrown in along the way, and the first one that really flummoxed me comes only a few chapters into the book. It shocked and confused me so much that I had to go back and reread what had happened, simply because I felt so sure I'd made a mistake in my mind and got confused, but alas, I hadn't! I loved that Juliet Ashton was able to flummox the reader so early on in the novel, and the surprises kept on coming for me, that was something I really enjoyed! Ashton's writing is brilliant, totally draws you in and made it very easy reading, I just wanted to keep going and find out what was going to happen next!

The momentum was lost a little bit for me sadly around 3/4 of the way through the book, but I ploughed on and I am pleased that I did because I found it soon picked up again, and once a certain character who I really disliked didn't appear as much, I began to really enjoy the story again. I loved everything about this book, as you've probably guessed! The little lull towards the end is totally forgiveable for me because I just adored the rest of it so much. The writing, the characters, the love, the heartbreak - it's all in here and it is just wonderful to read. A cleverly crafted and very enjoyable read, I'm looking forward to Juliet's next book!

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