I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Come Again by Robert Webb
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Can you fall in love for the first time twice? A recently widowed women is about to find out when she wakes up and finds herself eighteen again in this "compelling" story of second chances (Mail On Sunday).
Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart.
One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers' Week. And this was the day she first met Luke.
But he is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same…
Starting a review always feels a bit awkward, especially when you are really enthusiastic about a book. I feel that I would perhaps startle readers if I started out a review with “OH MY GOD THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC YOU HAVE TO READ IT!!!” It’s a tad much isn’t it? And yet, that is exactly how I am tempted to start this review because oh my god, I loved this book.
I am slightly embarrassed to admit it, but only after reading it did I realise that the author is the Robert Webb. If you live in the UK then I’m sure you are familiar with him from Peep Show and the comedy double act Mitchell and Webb. I had no idea that he was an author as well, and now that I do know I am going to look out for his other works in the future because he is seriously talented. Funnily enough, I never expected that Robert Webb would write a book that would have me break down in tears multiple times. Tears of laughter yes, but not the uncontrollable tears that a beautiful but heartbreaking love story elicits.
What I Liked About Come Again:
The Romance: I am a sucker for a good romance, and Come Again delivers. Kate’s husband Luke passed away nine months previously, and she is grief stricken. She is drinking too much, has alienated herself from all of her friends, has recently lost her job, and is suicidal. She was with her husband for a staggering twenty-eight years, and she cannot imagine moving past her grief. Guilt consumes her, as she blames herself for his death. Luke passed away from a slow-growing form of brain tumour that was actually growing before they even met. It presented itself with symptoms that one normally wouldn’t go to the doctor for, but nevertheless she believes that she should have detected it in the years that they were together.
One night when Kate passes out she finds herself waking up again in her eighteen-year old body on the very day that she and Luke met. Kate becomes convinced that if she can convince Luke to go to the doctor and have a brain scan and get the tumour removed that things can go back to normal. That he will be back in her life. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that the love story between Kate and Luke is devastating and beautiful. If you have lost someone before it will likely have you grasping for the nearest tissues. It is not all sad though; it is lovely, insightful, and full of hope in the end.
The Narration: Imagine my excitement when I found out that Olivia Colman is the narrator for the Come Again audiobook. When I realised who was narrating my first thought was “oh wow, how did they manage that?!” When I realised who the author was, I understood.
I know that a lot of people think that Stephen Fry is the best audiobook narrator, but I have to disagree (no offence to to Stephen Fry, he is still excellent). Olivia Colman is hands down the best narrator I’ve heard. I love how she gives each character a different voice, so that they are immediately recognisable. Of course her accents are on point. I think my personal favourite was her Welsh one. If you are looking for a brilliant audiobook, I highly recommend this one.
The Characters: The cast of characters in this book is excellent. They are all distinctive and highly entertaining, especially when narrated by Olivia Colman who can make anyone come to life. First there is Kate, the grieving widow. Kate is fantastic. She is sassy, sarcastic, and damn smart. She also has a big heart. Then there is Luke, her dead husband, a loveable goofball who has some interesting tendencies – especially when he used to pretend to be French. We are introduced to Kate’s best friends from university as well, including a Scottish man who has been pining for Kate since their university days. Oh and we can’t forget Charles, Kate’s absolutely ridiculous former boss.
The characters add so much to this story. They make a story that is actually quite sad a lot more fun. Webb uses these characters to display his comedic talents. I liked how I could go from feeling distraught by Kate’s grief to laughing at something completely ridiculous a few minutes later. The characters make the story more uplifting and hopeful.
Time Travel: You may see that this story has time travel and immediately think that it sounds a bit too Sci-Fi. I was a tad worried about that too, but it is actually done really well. It is seamless, and makes sense as part of the overall narrative. The time travel element, which was really more of a long dream, was a chance for Kate to grow as a person and heal.
Realistic Portrayal of Grief: Anyone who has ever grieved will know this already: grief is not easy. It is not a quick process. You are not miraculously healed by a few months and a set number of glasses of wine with your friends. It is ugly, difficult, and exhausting. However, oftentimes in books grief is portrayed as a slight hurdle for a character to get over, instead of the cataclysmic life-altering event that it is. I like how Come Again does not brush over Kate’s grief. It is gritty, but it is realistic. That being said, if you are currently grieving it may be a difficult book for you to read.
What I Didn’t Like About Come Again:
The Ending: I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say this: the ending of Come Again is a bit weird. Sometimes I wish that the author didn’t include an epilogue, and that is definitely the case here. Sure, it was nice to see how the characters were doing a few months down the line. Unfortunately though, the epilogue also added an element that I really could not wrap my mind around in the end. If you have read it, you will likely know what I’m talking about. I can see how some readers would like this, but it didn’t work for me.
If you are looking for a beautiful romance that will have you both laughing and crying, Come Again by Robert Webb is an excellent choice. I highly recommend it for all romance fans. Definitely listen to the audiobook if you can, as Olivia Colman’s brilliant narration is not to be missed.
I’d like to thank Hachette Audio and Netgalley for providing me with an audiobook of this book, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.