When you know the title and premise of a book well simply because the praise forthcoming from other readers is in overwhelming abundance, you know you have to take a chance. Yes, hype sometimes ruins a story, but there's a chance you'll find the next best thing. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, is that next best thing.
Within the first two pages, Ursula Todd is born, dies, and is born again and lives. Desperately hooked within those two pages and wanting to figure out how this story was going to work, I devoured the 522 page book in record time (especially for a school year read). I actually read half the book in one lazy afternoon and evening.
The story is well written - just the right amount of description and detail are given to help the reader picture settings and characters. Characters are well drawn, both like-able and not. I sincerely cared for every step of Ursula's journey, which by the way starts over at least 12 times with her birth on a snowy night in 1910. Each birth brings the same choices with the opportunity for different decisions, which lead to both the same and different paths taken in her life. The butterfly effect at its best and an opportunity some of us may cringe upon, a chance to relive life until "practice makes perfect."
If you haven't already read Life After Life, or if you've put it off, pick it up now and read it. You won't be disappointed. The twists and turns of Ursula's fates, as they run parallel, overlap, meld, and separate with each other will keep you in a trance. All leading up to one important event that can save a generation of nationalities from heartache and the scars of suffering.