If you could change anything in your past, what would it be?
If only things had been different, Lucy Potts, 43-year-old mother of two, would be married to Hugh Ashby - the man she loved and lost. Instead, she married his best friend, Simon.
And then a devastating car crash leaves her unconscious, and she finds herself revisiting the crucial moments in her past. But everything is slightly different. Suddenly, she is able to change all the things she's always wished she'd done differently.
But by concentrating on her past, she is forgetting about all the things she would miss in the present, and as she comes round, she makes a devastating discovery.
I’m honoured to be part of the blog tour for Andrew Clover’s new novel ‘The Things I’d Miss’ today! When I was contacted by the lovely people at Random House about being a part of the blog tour, I immediately thought the blurb of the book sounded quite fascinating and the cover grabbed my attention as well. I wasn’t familiar with Andrew Clover’s work, even though I did hear from others that his debut novel ‘Learn Love in a Week’ is incredibly funny. ‘The Things I’d Miss’, which was released on the 17th of July, promised to be a slightly different read, but one I was definitely curious about. I’ve also got a special guest post from Andrew himself on the blog today, so be sure to scroll down to check it out!
Just like any other person, Lucy Potts can’t help but ask herself occasionally: what if...? What if she had managed to stay together with the love of her life, Hugh Ashby? What if she hadn’t married Hugh’s best friend Simon instead? But then, one day, Lucy has a horrible car crash which results in her revisiting the past, particularly those important moments that shaped her future. It doesn’t take long before Lucy notices she isn’t just a bystander, but can actually change things in her own memories. Suddenly Lucy is given the chance to make these ‘what if’s’ happen, but by focusing so much on the past, she starts to forget about everything that’s going on in the present...
The plotline of this novel straight away fascinated me; I love novels in which the main characters get to do things which we won’t be able to do in real life. The main character in the book, Lucy, is involved in a car crash and her soul is separated from her body, providing her with the opportunity to travel through her own past and memories, and at the same time being able to change these important events. I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel; travelling with Lucy to different stages in her life, from her being a little girl disobeying her mother to her being at university completely infatuated with a boy. The fact that Lucy is actually able to change these memories was a remarkable aspect of the book and I was incredibly curious to find out what Lucy would do and how it would all turn out in the end.
I particularly enjoyed reading about Lucy’s time at university, because this is the time where she gets to know some of the most important people in her life: her best friend Gemma, her future husband Simon, her big love Hugh. As the novel progressed, I have to say I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Hugh and Lucy, which is a shame because I think it would have made the novel even stronger if this chemistry had been there. I also sometimes felt like I didn’t know enough about Lucy, which made it difficult for me to really connect with her as a character. Overall, though, ‘The Things I’d Miss’ is a touching, well-paced and thoughtful novel which I could hardly put down. I really enjoyed Andrew Clover’s writing style and look forward to his future work!
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Post by Andrew Clover
What if there were just one thing you could do?
The trick to writing the best book you can is to ask yourself questions: What do you love? What if there were one thing in your life you could change - what would it be?
I know the answer to that one...
When I was at school, I had a friend called Derk. I met him in Chemistry over a hot Bunsen Burner. He was tall, and he had twinkling eyes, and the gift of being able to tease, without a hint of mockery. We quickly struck up a firm friendship. I visited his home. I often slept in his room, and enjoyed knowing his habits. He slept with a foot dangling from the duvet, as if he were always ready to leap into action. He loved action. One summer we windsurfed all around The Isle of Wight, with our friend Callum... And then, twelve years on, I bumped into Callum in town one day. “How’s Derk?” I asked. “You know he had ME,” began Callum, “well he took his own life.”
I was stunned.
I knew Derk had got ME. After school, he went on to college with me. I visited his room several times, but, after the first, he never seemed to be in. In retrospect, I realised he’d been inside all along. I should have knocked harder. What if I had? How might I have helped?
Starting a new book, those were certainly the questions I needed to explore. One day, I sat down and wrote... I discovered a narrator. She was 43, she was artistic, she had kids. One day, she left them at home, she drove off to the shop to buy rice, but she had a terrible car accident. Next thing she knew, she was a student again, and she was lying beside a handsome man – the one she’d always loved, the one she’d never kissed. She realised she was living her life again. What if she could do things differently?
I didn’t realise I was writing about Derk, at first. I just liked the story since the scenes that flowed out seemed ten times more vivid than anything else I’d written. You can see why... If my heroine died, these were the things she’d miss. So I got hooked on her story. Would she be able to save the handsome man, by giving him love? If so, would her past change? And would she ever get back to those kids?
They all seemed good questions, and I kept writing till I found out. I wrote a first draft, without planning, or stopping to change a word. It seemed the best way to serve the truth of the tale. But did it work? I’d love you to order the book, and then to tell me. But more than that, I’d love you to ask yourself these questions: do you have a friend, right now, who might appreciate your call? Could you arrange to meet? And if you do, do you think you might, for a moment, light a Bunsen Burner in memory of my friend Derk?
I’m still cross I wasn’t a better friend, but perhaps you could be.