Friday, November 1, 2013

If Only...

Have you ever wished you could live your life over and do things differently? What ripple effects would your choices have on the rest of your life, and the lives of others?

Meet Ursula Todd, who is born on a snowy evening in February 1910, and dies before she takes her first breath. Rewind. Meet Ursula Todd, who is born on a snowy evening in February 1910, and meets with an unfortunate accident at the seashore. Rewind. A fall from the 2nd story window. Rewind. Influenza. Rewind. Ursula has vague memories from each previous life, often just flitting fears hovering beyond the corner of her eyes and vanishing, but she learns from them, and begins to shape her own destiny.

Two story streams dominate her lives: her upper middle class upbringing, and the devastation of war. Growing up in a home christened “Fox Corner,” Ursula is sandwiched between two older siblings, the calculating Morris and the sensible Pamela, and two younger brothers, the loveable Teddy, and Jimmy, who was somewhat of an afterthought. Her father, Hugh, adores Ursula, his “Little Bear,” and supports her through any and all crises. Sylvia, her mother, spans the spectrum from devotion to disdain, depending on which life Ursula is living.

During the Blitz, Ursula works for the Civil Defense Service sifting through bomb wreckage and recording casualties. Again and again. In another life, she lives in Germany and is friends with Eva Braun. Which life is real? Which is the life she is meant to live? Check out Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and let me know what you think!

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