Versions of Us
What if you had said yes . . . ?
Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future - together, and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.
The Versions of Us is an outstanding debut novel about the choices we make and the different paths that our lives might follow. What if one small decision could change the rest of your life?
Summer Reading choice: an intriguing debut SUNDAY TIMES Summer Reading recommendation: the beautiful love child of David Nicholl's One Day and Kate Atkinson's Life After Life THE TIMES Summer Reading recommendation: I am 20 pages in and already hooked on Laura Barnett's counterfactual THE VERSIONS OF US, which is a kind of literary Sliding Doors THE OBSERVER a triumphant debut. a thoughtful, measured book about the interplay of chance and destiny in our lives. -- Elena Seymenliyska SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Its very scope is a joy, the technical achievement seamlessly done, and the ending - all the endings - suitably affecting -- Jenny Colgan THE GUARDIAN Barnett renders an irresistible concept in sweet, cool prose - a bit like a choose-your-own adventure book in which you don't have to choose. -- Hepzibah Anderson THE OBSERVER The Versions of Us is well written, deftly crafted and constantly surprising, in the way that chaotic real life is surprising; through the technical exercise might sound a tad mechanical, Laura Barnett uses it with verve to tell an utterly convincing love story about two people destined to be together somehow, no matter what. -- Kate Saunders THE TIMES Like Kate Atkinson's Life After Life or the film Sliding Doors, The Versions of Us, a fine debut by Laura Barnett, offers multiple "what ifs"... involving and poignant. SUNDAY TIMES Maeve Binchy's death left a gap in the market for stories simply told with no literary affectation. Barnett's promising first novel reads like early Binchy. the tantalising 'what if?' theme keeps all three stories going at a cracking pace. DAILY MAIL An affecting and thought-provoking work, The Versions of Us will keep you gripped until the tear-jerking conclusion. DAILY EXPRESS We reckon that you'll see a few other people by the pool with their heads in this book as it's a classic summer read. One day meets Mad Men in this tale of the different ways a couple's relationship could have played out from the late 1950s to the present. METRO an amazing piece of British literature - this book should definitely be on your reading list this summer if you enjoy contemporary romance and books that really make you think BUZZFEED Truly enthralling. I simply adored this wonderful novel Jessie Burton - author of The Miniaturist I absolutely loved [The Versions of Us]. It's so elegantly and beautifully written... I was equally enthralled by each of the three versions...a really wonderful book. -- Esther Freud both brilliant and astonishingly good Elizabeth Buchan skilfully done MAIL ON SUNDAY unique, complex and playful. Barnett suspends our disbelief like a conjuror -- Elizabeth Fremantle SUNDAY EXPRESS Everyone's talking about The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. Eva and Jim's first meeting has three possible outcomes. Barnett interweaves the resulting love stories with their beautifully drawn characters into an elegant, touching tapestry. -- Fanny Blake WOMAN AND HOME One Day meets Sliding Doors ELLE A clever, romantic debut. Barnett tells three outcomes of the same affair, a simple, effective metaphor for the paths love itself can take you on, before winding up smartly in the present. GRAZIA One to watch: we meet two characters, then time splits and follows three different versions of their lives. Each strand is distinct - and equally captivating. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING a fascinating debut novel that could well be this year's One Day. BELLA All the highs and lows of love are portrayed in this thought-provoking and moving read. -- Cathy Rentzenbrink PRIMA We follow (Eva and Jim) as their lives spin out in three different ways and so, inevitably, Sliding Doors comparisons kick in. But this is its own book; deep, sensitive and without a hint of commercial compromise. Just lovely. SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE It's annoying when a book won't let you give it up. You put it to one side and think "maybe I will read that later" because you have more important things to do. And there it is the next day, in your hands, wide open, pulling you back in, just not letting you go... As a first novel this is quite an accomplishment. NEWBOOKSMAG It's hard to believe this is Laura Barnett's debut novel. It's so sophisticated and well put-together - I'm completely in awe of how Barnett managed to write not just one story, but three, and make them all work perfectly together. GIRL! REPORTER I recommend this book without reservation... This is a wonderful, exceptional book by Laura Barnett. I loved it. -- Moira Please THE PERFECT WRITING RETREAT glorious... a book that I think will do incredibly well come its release A CASE FOR BOOKS Worth every tear rolling down my cheeks. It's a 2015 must-read! strupag.com Each version had its own moments that made me laugh and cry and I did find myself thinking about what my own different versions would be like. thepagesbetween.com In pieces having just finished Laura Barnett's The Versions of Us. Brilliant. @btwhizz Comparisons have been made with David Nicholls' One Day and yes, it can be compared favourably with his masterpiece. This is a work of great mastery and deserves to be read and re-read for its own merits. MATURE TIMES Clever but not showy, romantic but not schmaltzy, it's clear that the buzz around this book is justified. DAILY MIRROR In Laura Barnett's first novel, a good idea is cleverly executed ... The Versions of Us is a confident debut. THE INDEPENDENT A hugely engrossing and, ultimately, deeply moving book about connections, possibilities, regret and the complicated nature of love. SUNDAY BUSINESS POST written with intelligence and warmth TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Laura Barnett is a writer, journalist and theatre critic. She has been on staff at the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, and is now a freelance arts journalist and features writer, working for the Guardian, the Observer and Time Out, as well as several other national newspapers and magazines. Laura was born in 1982 in south London, where she now lives with her husband. She studied Spanish and Italian at Cambridge University, and newspaper journalism at City University, London. Her first non-fiction book, Advice from the Players - a compendium of advice for actors - is published by Nick Hern Books. Laura has previously published short stories, for which she has won several awards. The Versions of Us is her first novel. @laura_jbarnett www.laura-barnett.co.uk www.versionsofus.com