Reviewed on 10th June 2016

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

Genre: Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy / Women's Fiction
The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice Synopsis

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.
Nothing can come between them. Or so they think. When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.
Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice Review

A Will-They-Won’t-They Tale of Twists and Turns…

I don’t think I had ever read a novel written by two people, and so Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice’s ‘The Night That Changed Everything‘ intrigued me immediately. Transworld’s Corgi imprint very kindly sent me a review copy for our book club, and that enticingly moody inky blue cover drew me in from the moment I lay eyes on it – and simply wouldn’t let me put the story down until it was finished.

Now it’s tricky to give my verdict on a new piece of fiction, particularly one fueled by passion and romance, without giving too much of the game away. So I am going to have to be a little bit cunning and breadcrumb – as any good writer would. Suffice it to say, Laura and Jimmy (who met when they were at University) are the perfect writing partnership when it comes to holding the attention span by ending their chapters on some absolute carrot dangles of cliffhangers!

And their characters are totally enthralling.

Laura, who writes in the first person as Rebecca, has created a wonderfully headstrong, no-frills, intelligent (yet emotionally scarred) twenty-something go-getter whose penchant for Whiskey on the rocks, architecture and straight talking turns the tables completely on the stereotypical view of a woman her age.

Jimmy does an equally impressive job with Ben, who is about as far removed from the typical lad of his age, in terms of his outlook on life (although sadly not in terms of keeping his pants on… just saying). However, despite the latter, we immediately warm to Ben. It’s impossible not to.

Just as it’s impossible not to root for this unlikely pairing all throughout the plot. Whilst we may not initially, as a woman, feel we could hug Rebecca into our own personal sisterhood, we are on her side. We can read beneath the lines enough to sense that she’s built some kind of fence around her heart; the Ice Maiden act is simply the outer layer of an onion of compact self-preservation, which, in time and with the right man will melt away into the ether.

And we so want that man to be Ben. We so so do!

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Because from the outset they are a classic case of opposites attracting. As cliched as that may well be, from a Hopeless Romantic’s point of view, there is too much chemistry, too much magnetism for their one-year relationship to crumble apart over a kind-of-sort-of-betrayal-depending-on-how-you-view-it-cos-they-weren’t-together-at-the-time thing.

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And so, you, like me will (unless you have recently gone through a kind-of-sort-of- deception of this kind), most probably spend the rest of your time drinking in the words on the pages, frantically turning them over; hoping, praying, imagining that glorious reunion and realisation that they are simply meant to be – and all the sentiments that go with it. You will tear your hair out at the near-misses and almosts and completely bad timings. You will shout ‘surely now!’ to the bemusement of onlookers on the train/in your home/at the beach.

Because, this is life. Sometimes it gives us that happy ending, sometimes not. We have to keep that trust that actually, even though we’ve no idea where the road is taking us, just by putting one foot in front of the other, we will get there. Often the universe has other plans. And that’s OK. In fact, maybe being so determined and pigheaded about our circumstances makes them all of a sudden not so appealing after all when new doors fly open.

What Laura and Jimmy do achieve with this book is an utterly compelling read. It’s full of drama that we can all relate to. It’s credible. It’s honest and it’s poignant. It’s up and it’s down. It’s happy and at times incredibly sad. But it is stunningly written, beautifully played out. Believable, even if it doesn’t quite leave us feeling that habitual satisfaction we are craving at the end of a story about love and loss. The element of surprise, is, after all what all great storytelling is about. And for that reason it is a tale that will live on long in the memory.

One thing is for sure, the chemistry of this writing duo IS something quite palpable. And whether the ending was for me or not, I want to devour their first novel now, as well as put myself on the Amazon waiting list for the next one.

As an author, praise doesn’t come much higher than that!

The Night That Changed Everything is published by Corgi, an imprint of Transworld.
ISBN: 978-055217-082-6

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