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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.2 out of 5
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  • A Heart-Touching, Magical Read!

    Oh, I didn't know what I was letting myself in for with this book; it's one of those magical stories which leaves you feeling absolutely privileged to be let in to a secret! Alison and Dan are first loves in their teenage years, but circumstances tear them apart. Dan was always into music, and made up a mix tape for Alison, the only thing she kept of his. Many years later, living separate lives on different continents Alison is contacted by Dan in the language he knows best - that of music. And all of a sudden, Alison is back in her teenage years - but can you ever really go back? There is so much packed into this novel! It is a solid read from beginning to end with so much happening! A story told in two ways, both on paper and by song and both of them are touching. As we travel back and forwards between then and now, the lives of both Alison and Dan become very real and quite got under my skin. Delightfully crafted and beautifully written, this is one story which will stay with me for a very long time. Jane Sanderson has created an evocative and memorable tale, which I definitely recommend very highly. Totally worth all five sparkling stars!

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  • Great music and setting - loved it!

    I really enjoyed this story, which flips between the UK and Australia and the late 1970s and 2012. Dan and Alison are the main characters and met when they were teenagers living in Sheffield and seeing one another. But life and circumstances split them up and they have just got back in contact again via Twitter, due to the fact that Alison has written a very popular novel and her name is popping up everywhere. They initially contact one another just through sending each other songs, reminding them of their youth and bringing back lots of memories. But Alison was always the one that got away for Dan and things start to change as Dan takes matters into his own hands. I thought this would be quite a light-hearted story, but there was a lot more involved, with some really horrible parts too around Alison. Her 'Mother' was a drunk and waste of space and not fit to be a mother to Alison or her brother, Peter, and things got out of hand for both Peter and Alison, culminating in Alison accepting Peter's escape fund that he'd been saving to help her get away and make a life for herself somewhere else. She didn't tell anyone, just disappeared, and so left poor Daniel distraught. She ended up travelling the world for a while, then met and married Michael (I didn't like him) on her travels and ended up living in Adelaide, now with two grown children, and had never returned to the UK or been in touch with her family (well Peter) at all. Dan ended up in Edinburgh with his partner and their son and makes his living as a music journalist. The whole story is very music orientated and there are some really great stories throughout the book of the late 70s music scene in the UK. The mix tapes made me feel very nostalgic! I suppose you have to be of a certain age to understand them, but I used to spend hours making mix tapes for myself, they were definitely a labour of love! There is also a sort of mix tape, well a playlist, on Spotify for the music mentioned in the book which was great to listen to ('Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson'). This is one of those 'what if' books - what if both Alison and Daniel had taken different paths, would they still have been together since they were teenagers? Were they 'the ones' for each other? And now they've met again how do they feel, and will they decide to upend their present lives and give their relationship another go, leaving their husband/partner behind? Well... you'll have to read the book to find out but it has a very satisfying ending. One of those books that the more I got into it the more I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened in the end. Loved it!

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  • Would you reconnect with your first love?

    Back in 1978 Daniel Lawrence and Alison Connor go on their first date, to Kev Carter's Christmas party. It's first love in Sheffield to the accompaniment of a fantastic soundtrack of music (Elvis Costello, Blondie, Jilted John). Switch to present day 2012, Daniel is now Dan, living in Edinburgh with his partner Katelin, son Alex and dog, Dan is a music writer. Alison is now Ali, a writer, married with two daughters and living in Adelaide, Australia. Then Kev Carter sends Dan a tweet about Ali and all the memories come flooding back. But how do you reach out to your first true love after over 30 years? When words seem too trite why not send a link to a musical memory from your shared past, in this case Elvis Costello and The Attractions' 'Pump It Up'. Dan and Ali continue to send each other links to music that resonates with them, music from their shared past and music from a time when they were no longer together. Told in two alternating timelines we see Daniel and Alison fall in love despite their differences in class: Alison and her older brother struggling to cope with an alcoholic mother while Daniel leads a charmed life with a cosy loving middle-class family. In the present day Dan deals with his partner's contempt for his profession and his best friend's infidelity, Ali deals with her youngest daughter's surprise pregnancy and her husband's arrogant belief that the family will do whatever he decrees. What happens when Twitter gives two people a chance to reconnect, to look back at their past and to think about what might have been? Is the grass always greener on the other side? What caused them to separate so completely 30 years ago? After reading this book all I really wanted was to download this playlist and play it over and over again, that's how invested I got into the characters and their musical love letters to each other across the world. I just loved taking this journey with Daniel/Dan and Alison/Ali, reliving the agony and ecstasy of first love and seeing the adults they became. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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  • amazing book

    Brillant had my hooked from the first line . Amazing

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