Life After Life is a really special book. I enjoy pretty much all books I read, although some I enjoy more than others, and I love all of Kate Atkinson’s books, but somehow Life After Life seems to be on a whole different level.
In 1910, a baby girl is born and dies before she takes her first breath.
In 1910, the same baby girl is born and lives.
The basic premise of the book is – what if you had a second, third, fourth or multiple chances to live your life? Would you eventually get it right?
Ursula is the third of five children. She is a strange child. She always feels there is something ‘there’, just out of reach, but she can’t work out what it is. Sometimes she does bad things, like push her maid down the stairs, without really understanding why.
Life takes her in some unusual directions for a woman of her time, with marriage and babies not in the plan. She finds herself in some very difficult situations, with some rather unsavoury characters. Inevitably, as every book I ever read seems to do, the story ends up at World War 2. During the war, Ursula witnesses some truly horrific scenes, yet it is what she witnesses beforehand, that is the most shocking thing of all.
As her life draws to a close and starts to flash before her eyes, she finally realises what it has been all about and what she must do.
This really is an incredible book and I would recommend it to anyone.