by Kate Atkinson
What if you realized that you were living different versions of your life over and over again, and you could complete one single act that would change the course of history for mankind? That is essentially the premise of this fascinating book that opens with a flash forward of the protagonist shooting Adolf Hitler in Europe before the onset of World War II. This book is fascinating, unique, and thought-provoking. It explores the concept of reincarnation through one particular person—the protagonist Ursula Todd, who is born in 1910 in England, then dies, and then comes back to life. From that point on, she continues to die throughout her life, and then relive it again. As a child, she doesn’t fully understand what is happening to her, and following her journey to adulthood and the realization of what is happening to her is riveting.
Some reviewers commented that the book is too long, because the author rewrites sections of Ursula‘s life that she is reliving and shows you the alternate universes. I found it fascinating! The writing is exquisite and the structure unique and interesting. But it is quite a long book. The story spans from World War I to World War II and takes place in various locations in Europe. The sections during The Blitz of bombing of London are particularly gruesome, so do keep that in mind.
If you like historical fiction, speculative fiction, war fiction, or books that explore the concept of reincarnation, this one is for you! There is a sequel, and I definitely plan to read it in the future. There is also a television series produced by the BBC based on this book, but it hasn’t been released to watch in the United States yet. When it does, I definitely plan to watch it!