D. M. Yates and I have been following each other's blogs for a while now, so when she told me her book was published I was so excited for her, sending her baby out into the world. She asked me if I would review her book, but life has been crazy, so sorry this has taken a little while. When I got a Kindle voucher for my birthday, Donna's book was at the top of my list. The thing is, once I started reading I read it in a few days, because I couldn't put it down. So here's my review:
Always is a romance novel with a twist. What if everything you thought you knew was wrong? What if we really have been here before like the Eastern philosophies suggest? Would we know each other or would we be doomed to make the same mistakes again? Would we learn anything from our previous lives? What if the veil between this life and the afterlife was thinner than we thought? Maybe some people are just more finely tuned to listen and see. Is that crazy orphan girl who talks to fairies, really a wise old woman?
I fell instantly in love with the two main characters in the first two chapters. Simon Umbridge and Dixon Duff (Duffy) are adorable gentlemen with a touch of boyhood charm, who have been friends since school. But unlike other romances I have read, the men are very central to the book and much is seen through their eyes, and how their lives are enriched by the wonderful women around them.
Simon and Duffy's lifelong friendship is threatened when April (Duffy's niece) insists that Simon and her will be married and that they are meant to be together. Duffy loves his friend Simon and knows he is the best kind of man, but he is 20 years April's senior. It's all too ridiculous, Duffy thinks, or is it? His wife Jesse, Aunt Tillie and their dear friends like Lester (Simon's aide) and Tellula (April's newest friend who is a seer from Celtic traditions) all seem to think April is right. But she's just a child...
This book reminded me a little of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic (the book not the movie). The way Yates has made very real and believable characters living every day lives and then added sprinklings of magic and supernatural elements which is how I like my fiction.
Set mostly in England, the story has an old world charm. It's about antiques, old money and old souls. It's about the bonds we form with people who seem to come into our lives for a reason and the acceptance of each other's quirks, and differences as well as differing world views. Always is a charming little novel that you will remember for a long time, perhaps Always.
Yate's biography is an interesting read, make sure you check out her pages. She has such a rich background in languages, history and writing. She is also very active in supporting other readers and writers, so have a look at her blog.
Just another note.You don't need any knowledge or belief in New Age, reincarnation or Wicca to enjoy this novel. It's so beautifully done that it's a great standalone read. If you have these beliefs it may just confirm them for you, but if you are from another background or philosophical standpoint, this is just a really good story and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.