One Minute Later
by Susan Lewis
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 Feb 2019 | Archive Date 10 Sep 2020
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, HarperCollins
You think your life is perfect.
You think your secrets are safe.
You think it’ll always be this way.
But your life can change in a heartbeat.
Brilliantly emotional, suspenseful and page-turning, One Minute Later is the stunning new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author, Susan Lewis.
Susan Lewis – behind every secret lies a story.
The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Susan Lewis.
With a high-flying job, a beautiful apartment and friends whose lives are as happy as her own, Vivienne Shager is living the dream. Then, on the afternoon of Vivi’s twenty-seventh birthday, one catastrophic minute changes everything.
Forced to move back to the small seaside town where she grew up, Vivi remembers the reasons she left. The secrets, lies and questions that now must be answered before it’s too late. But the answers lie in thirty years in the past…
Shelley Raynor’s family home, Deerwood Farm, has always been a special place until darkness strikes at its heart. When Vivi’s and Shelley’s worlds begin to entwine, it only takes a moment for the truth to unravel all of their lives.
‘Susan Lewis has a gift for telling warm family stories that also take you by surprise. One Minute Later will make you savour every second’ Jane Corry
‘A master storyteller’ Diane Chamberlain
‘Susan Lewis has a gift for telling warm family stories that also take you by surprise. One Minute Later will make you savour every second’ Jane Corry
‘A master storyteller’ Diane Chamberlain
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 200 members
This is probably my favorite author ever. Her books are all so different, well researched and absolutely brilliant. I've never read anything by her that didn't draw me in and keep me spellbound. However this book had so many sad parts I found it a real struggle to read at times, the ending in particular had me actually sobbing!!! The parts of the story relating to heart transplants and all the minutae that accompanies such a serious business was fantastically well researched and informative, whilst never being boring. I really was hoping for a happy ending and because of the heart rending end to the story of the main characters, who I felt I knew personally, I don't think I'll read this book again, which is a pity as I usually read her books more than once. A brilliant book but if you already feel very downhearted or sad about anything in your life I'd give it a miss.
An incredible story! It took a while for me to see any link between the two storylines but they weave together in a fantastically clever way! A real tearjerker for sure but I loved it!
Well Susan Lewis you’ve done it again what a brilliant story . Vivi had a wonderfull life and in one moment all that changed . This book had me hooked from the start all the ups & downs of having to deal with this major change in her life . I’ll not spoil it by telling too much but this book is a must read.
LOVED THS BOOK! I’ve read many Suan Lewis books over the years and they are generally always great, but this atory really tore at the heartstrings, Vivi is living a great life, wonderful career, friends and social life. But on her birthday disaster strikes and sees her living back at home with her mum - whose always held back the secret of Vivi’s dad. This is the emotional and heartbreaking tale of Vivi’s relationship with her mum, secrets that are answered and a relationship Vivi never thought possible. Truly heartwarming and emotional, with a lot of crying at the end. Highly recommend this book.
Vivienne Shager has a life to be admired. She’s a beautiful and popular lady with a network of really lovely friends, she’s a high flyer with a powerful job, a gorgeous flat and she has everything to live for. Then, on the afternoon of her twenty-seventh birthday, her life changes in the blink of an eye and just one minute later the nightmare takes on an ominous shape and her life thereafter will always be a struggle. This is the story about how Vivi is forced to accept and adapt her busy life. She has to move back into her mother’s home, she can no longer drive and enjoy a high society life; she must let her body be in charge of her life and not the other way around. It’s devastating, heart breaking, frightening and so unfair. She feels weak, uncertain of what the future holds for her and she’s living on a knife’s edge. But Vivi is determined, driven and full of character. She will beat her illness or die trying. Running parallel with Vivienne’s story is the story of Shelley Raynor and her philanthropic family who live in Deerwood farm. Each story carries equal weight within the novel and Shelley’s story is also very absorbing. Together these threads drive the story forward with superb timing and thought provoking issues. The story is not only told in two voices but also in dual time frames. At first the reason for this is a puzzle. It is uncertain where the stories will go, but the journey is compelling and addictive. This format is the author Susan’s tried and tested formulae and this story is there with the giants of her career. As the story looks back into the past, so it gradually becomes clearer and clearer. The two threads inevitably merge into a heartbreaking and heartwarming conclusion. Based on some factual information and themes, it will turn into a rollercoaster of action, emotion and suspense. You will love the main characters as they are strongly crafted and brilliantly developed. They will live in your heart, because this novel and its characters will become like close and wonderful friends and you’ll really care about them. With issues such as murder, hidden secrets and lies that shape the future this is an absolute must-read. I received this excellent novel through my membership of NetGalley and from publisher Harper Collins, all in return for an honest review. This is my 4.5* review. All the opinions are my own, with no influence from other parties. Highly recommended Women’s Fiction.
This is a well written and at times hard hitting novel that I really enjoyed. Thank you for the chance to review.
Another beautiful moving story. From the best selling author Susan Lewis. You always know that you have magic in your hands when you pick up a Susan Lewis book. A phenomenal author who manages to weave to seemingly unconecting stories together. In an emotional moving way that will have you gripped from the start. I couldn’t put this book down. But be warned you need tissues near when you are reading this one. Your in for a real treat.
Another fantastic book by Susan Lewis she has cleverly written a fantastic plot I was engrossed from beginning to end thank you.
Susan Lewis is one of my favourite authors and this book doesn't disappoint. Two seemingly separate stories join together to make one very emotional one. There are a few times when I thought I knew the direction the story was going but I was wrong. I am so very grateful to have been given the opportunity to read and review this book. I highly recommend it with a box of tissues nearby.
Well WOW that's a story and some more, there is no doubt that lives can change in minutes and this tells the story of Vivienne and the family of Shelley. Both have a heartbreaking tale and how they cope and or overcome and it's a stories that you need to hear and it could change your life when you do, yep it's that powerful. The families you assumed early on there must be some connection and I had to wait to find out and it's definitely worth the wait in my view but I'll let you make your own mind up. It's starts off with two stories alternating between Vivienne's and Shelley's the first in the present the Lata from the mid 1980s. There's the mysteries of the bronze statues but much more so about their personal life and what they faced all set in Kesterly a small fictional coastal town, also Deerwood a fictional farm and later to be a project worth watching out for. However the story starts off in London where Vivienne was working as a very successful lawyer with a very promising future ahead of her, she had great friends good family great life. It's just painful that sometimes your plans and reality don't always take the same paths. And a weak heart it's not suitable for the life she had expected and not one that would let her do any more marathons whether that is running or on the dance floor. I don't want to spoil the story for you but there are plenty of twists and turns, a love story and moments of truth like Gina's and how in one day your life can be completely transformed as already mentioned before, it can be a bad choose wrong place at the wrong time or just the hand of fate. The unknown is the future of us all but this story brings hope and shows how you can make a real difference the life of each one of us can be a force of good and well read it you will be really glad you did and see oops nearly gave it away.
I loved this book. Heat breaking yet heart warming at the same time & truly showed the importance of such an important subject. Would recommend this to anyone.
Wow! This book tells a tale of two characters, over two periods of time, each suffering their own problems and heartbreak. Cleverly written and fast paced it quickly dragged me in and I found myself stealing moments to read 'just a few more pages' whenever I could, to discover just how these characters were connected and where the story would end up! I experienced such a range of emotions whilst reading this fantastic book, and also shed a few tears and I look forward to reading more of Susan Lewis work! I would like to add It has also opened my eyes to the importance of organ donation due to the real life influences and research that has gone into this novel! 5/5
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the ARC. I really enjoyed reading this book; beautifully written, emotional and heart-warming, yet heart-breaking at the same time (every pun intended). Told between two timelines almost thirty years apart Present day Vivi Shager is a 27yr-old high-flying city lawyer, travels the world and has a close circle of girlfriends sharing the same lifestyle. Meeting up for a birthday lunch, Vivi collapses. Thirty five years ago Shelley and Jack Raynor inherit a farmhouse from Shelley's uncle in Kesterly and are determined to renovate it and make their home and living there with their children and new baby Josh, Following hospitalisation, Vivi has to abandon her city life and move back to Kesterly to her mother, Gina. Vivi had never known who her father was, despite questioning both her mother and grandmother, but that question was now taking on a new significance for her - before it's too late. The story weaves through individual characters' lives and experiences across these thirty-odd years, gradually intertwining people and events, their loves and lives. Secrets now have to be explained and dealt with. This is a story of love, hope and sadness, of how the past can shape our present and affect relationships, and it is a contemporary situation faced by many today.
Vivienne Shager has a life to be admired. She’s a beautiful and popular lady with a network of really lovely friends, she’s a high flyer with a powerful job, a gorgeous flat and she has everything to live for. Then, on the afternoon of her twenty-seventh birthday, her life changes in the blink of an eye and just one minute later the nightmare takes on an ominous shape and her life thereafter will always be a struggle. The beginning of this book switches between past and present, telling the stories of 2 women whose lives are about to change in the most shocking ways. This is very emotional and beautifully written. I experienced such a range of emotions whilst reading this fantastic book, and also shed a lot of tears; so be warned have some tissues to hand. This novel was just WOW and some more, there is no doubt that lives can change in minutes' This is a well written and at times hard hitting novel that I really enjoyed. I received this excellent novel from NetGalley and from publisher Harper Collins, all in return for an honest review and I am so thankful and HIGHLY RECOMMEND this novel.
A brilliant read! How things can change in a heartbeat....Vivi's life does just that. A really well written read, a tale in two parts that's cleverly woven together. An emotional story about relationships and secrets, with twists and turns that I found really gripping. Loved it and fond I just couldn't put it down. First time I've read anything by Susan Lewis.....will have to read more!
Vivienne’s story, and the overlapping stories of Shelley, Josh and Gina will literally take your breath away. An emotional rollercoaster, but satisfyingly unpredictable, the characters are richly drawn, and it’s easy to get lost in the pages. Genuinely emotionally thought provoking it’s a story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book (that you won’t be able to put down!).
I've almost read all of Susan Lewis books and am pleased to say that this one is once again up there with the rest.
Oh my! What a story! This is so much more than I expected. Tears and laughter throughout. This is such a truly emotional story that takes you on Vivi's journey.
Wow! This is such a wonderfully written book. It captivated all sorts of emotions. I couldn't put it down.
My 5* review for One Minute Later by Susan Lewis, that I was fortunate enough to read via an early kindle download through NetGalley. "It’s takes one minute to change everything. Vivienne Shager has it all. A highflying job. A beautiful apartment. Friends whose lives are as perfect as her own. But on the afternoon of her 27th birthday, Vivi has a heart attack. Now Vivi’s life shrinks back to how it begun, as she moves back to the small seaside town she grew up in. Thirty years earlier, Shelley’s family home, Deerwood farm, bursts full of love and happiness. But one family member has hidden a secret for all these years. Until Vivi comes home demanding answers, and it takes just a moment to unravel the lie at their heart of their lives." The switch between timelines in the book was easy to follow and gave you an insight into life at Deerwood farm a generation ago and I loved the character of Shelley and was a little bit in love with her son Josh myself. The parallel story of Shelley and Jack and how they compared their lives to The Darling Buds of May was a perfect image for me to picture them and their lifestyle and love for each other. This book was a wonderful emotional revealing read, which I found totally engrossing and I read it in only a few days because I was so invested in Vivi's life and the struggles that she was facing, that I did not want to leave her alone. I so wanted her to find someone to love and who loved her just the way she was and for her to live to the full the short life she may have left if a donor does not become available to her. I loved the chapter where Vivi comes to terms with the loss of the Chelsea lawyer Vivienne who did not have a care in the world and was invincible, grieves her and the loss of that life and learns to accept the new life where her survival could actually depend on someone else with her blood type and a healthy heart dying. The epilogue was beautiful, but I cant say anymore to avoid spoiling it for everyone. Please read this book it will change and enhance your life. It was wonderful of Susan Lewis to have included the real story of Jim Lynskey in the book and those bits in particular made me check that my own Organ Donation details were still registered online and I have since joined the Save9Lives group to find out more and share the message with everyone.
Vivi Shager is living the dream. Fabulous job, friends and lifestyle to be envied. Until ‘that minute’ when a heart attack on her 27th birthday changes her life irrevocably and that of her family and friends. The story of Shelley and Deerwood farm is also told in a separate time frame and you do question how the two stories connect. But in Susan Lewis’s inimitable style they seamlessly join together. Strong characters, mystery, murder, suspense and intrigue. This book has it all. I’m quite a fan of Susan Lewis and my honest opinion is that this is her best book to date. Great read! Thank you netgalley for the opportunity to read and review.
One Minute Later is a great story telling the tale of two strong female character’s in different time lines who are brought together to share their own personal heartaches and loves. Vivienne Shager lives a vibrant life to the full in fast paced London but then on her 27th birthday her life is turned upside down as tragedy strikes leaving her in need of a donor heart to give her any quality of life. We learn all the emotions that this entails while discovering how this affects Vivi. No longer able to live independently so she retreats back to the family home to her Mum and we then discover what a turbulent relationship they have. Fate however, brings love and friendship which gives her the courage to fight for her life. Shelly’s story is so different as she lives surrounded by lots of loved family members who all seem to get on with each other while leading good lives. Shelly adores Deerwood Farm where they all live and I really got a good homely feel to this place even though I discovered the tragedy that took place here. As the lives of Vivi and Shelley merge, secrets and lies are uncovered bringing peace and understanding to these well written characters. I particularly enjoyed reading about organ donation and thought it was well researched and written and hope this inspires people to go on the register as lives are precious with no better gift than extending a life. My thanks to Net Galley and Harper Collins for the ARC digital copy
When Vivienne Shager suffers a catastrophic life changing event on her birthday she realises nothing will ever be the same again. She moves back to live with her mother, knowing nothing has changed between them, and there are well kept secrets she needs to have explained to her even as she tries to come to terms with the possibility of her own mortality. Shelley Raynor's life at Deerwood Farm began long before Vivienne returned home but is inextricably linked to hers and gradually as the stories converge Vivi finds the courage to face her future with more confidence. She still has difficulty accepting what could happen but realises she can enjoy the new life she has had thrust upon her. This is a family drama which drew me in instantly and I knew I wouldn't rest until I had finished it which I did in just two days. I was immediately invested in Vivienne, her family, and Shelley's. Their highs and lows were written with great feeling and understanding and, without giving anything away, the acknowledgements at the end brought everything into even sharper focus. I am so pleased I read this book; I have a feeling it will resonate with me for a long while to come. I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it highly to lovers of first class storytelling and fictional books which contain a serious message.
When Vivi’s life is shaken suddenly following a heart attack on her 27th birthday, she leaves the perfect, highflying life she is used to, to return to her the seaside town she grew up on, here she searches for the answers to secrets that have plagued the family for decades. There is so much more to this book than the snippet you read in the blurb. This story is about tragedy, family, life, death and loss, and the personal stories of two women. A great 5 star read, I highly recommend
What an emotionally beautiful story! I have read a few of Susan Lewis's books before and this was a stunning new one from her. The number of times my heart was literally on edge as the twists and turns of the stories were revealed... I cannot even count. I was entranced by the story of Vivi and Josh, and all the history, which had me almost cringing at one point, willing what I thought would happen to not happen... I'm not going to enter into any spoilers here! The issue with organ donation is such a huge one and handled with true sensitivity by Susan Lewis. I have to admit to teary eyes by the end of the book. Definitely, one to recommend. Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.
Wow yet another great book from Susan. This one in particular reached me as I had a cousin go through the same thing. Luckily he got his new heart and is still going strong. Nobody thinks that they will get ill and have a death sentence hanging over them before they’ve lived their life. This is exactly what happened to Vivi after having a major heart attack her life changed over night. I loved that Susan showed how it has a knock on effect to all the friends and family of the people affected. Definitely a thought provoking read.
Another amazing book by Susan Lewis. This made me both laugh & cry. The characters were wonderfully crafted, I loved Vivi from the very beginning and was so invested in her that I cried at the end. There was drama, secrets and mystery but overall a sad romantic tale.
This book is great but also very sad. When I started reading this I was a little confused as to how he past and present were connected and then I started guessing it but wasnt right. I don’t want to give too much away about the story but I kept hoping and praying for a miracle to happen...this book is well worth a read but beware, you might end up with tears.
I can’t rate this book highly enough it was so thought provoking. This book conveys such an important message but in such s beautiful way. The story moves between the past and present until the lives of Vivienne and Shelley collide. Vivienne is on the transplant list and you see the impact this has on her and her family. It’s about love and living with limitations and the love of family and friends and Living in hope
Brilliant plot, excellent main characters that you invest in. I read this book in one sitting and I would highly recommend it.
I loved this book, just as I have loved nearly every Susan Lewis novel I have read. This one is so well researched and carries a huge amount of complex information relating to the realities of heart conditions and heart transplants, without ever being boring! Very clever too that it also links to real life even featuring a real-life person, and highlighting the importance of registering as a donor. I will continue to look out for Susan Lewis novels. I'm hoping the next one won't mention the location of Kesterley-on Sea though!
My NetGalley blurb said that it was about a life that can change in a heartbeat. Well, I think it changed due to the lack of a heartbeat was more like it. The absolutely horrifying fact that a girl in her twenties can unexpectedly (not so much when you learn all the further story but still, for her it was unexpected) have a major heart attack shook me to my core. The plot, the secrets, and the character development, however interesting and fast-paced, played only a secondary role to Susan Lewis's descriptions of place and history of it. This book proves to be very educational in knowledge about sheep farming and England's landscapes. Plus, the life around Bristol in the late last century. I feel like it should come with a warning, though. It does end rather un-Hollywoody. You might end up with a story that's stuck to your memory for a long time, not being able to get over its closeness to reality. It's rare that you read a murder mystery that actually feels utterly believable. Big thanks to Harper Collins for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.
Earlier, under Give Feedback for this novel, I asked for your help as the novel had become inaccessible on my kindle for no apparent reason. I then found that all of my novels were inaccessible, but with the help of Amazon, I retrieved them all the following day. My first contact with you was therefore not a review. I have now finished the novel and the following is my review, which I'll post on Amazon on 21st February. 'One Minute Later tells the story of Vivienne Shager, a high-flying lawyer with a fabulous home and dreamy life style. On her 27th birthday, which she’s in the middle of celebrating with her close friends, the GaLs – Gals at Law, all graduates from LSE Law School - Vivi suffers a major heart attack. This dramatically alters the course of her life, and she is left an invalid, and on the transplant list, waiting for a new heart. Unable to manage on her own, she returns to her mother and step-father, who live in the small town of Kesterly, which she’d left at 18 to launch herself in London. There she has to come to terms with her limitations, while she waits patiently for a donor heart that could change her life. But this is not only the story of Vivi, but also of Shelley, Jack and their family, who 30 years earlier, in the summer of 1984, settled in Kesterly, in Deerwood Farm, an idyllic place – almost too idyllic to feel real, I felt at times - which they made into their family home and from which Jack went about his work as a vet. Viv’s close friend, Michelle, still lives in Kesterly. Although she doesn’t figure largely in the novel, I found it a little confusing that there was both a Shelley and a Michelle, and at first I thought they might be one and the same, but then realised that they weren’t. With all of the possible names the author could have chosen from, I wondered why she would choose such similar names for two different people. There is also a man on the scene, Shelley and Jack’s extremely attractive son Josh, who also lives in Kesterly. The stories of Vivi and Shelley are not discrete, however, and one of the characters in the novel has kept a secret over the years, and the ultimate revelation of that secret links the two story lines. However, this novel is not just the story of Vivi and Shelley, it’s also about organ donation. Increasingly in the novel, Jim Lynskey and his campaign Save9Lives.com, is featured. That this is a genuine campaign is made clear in the acknowledgements. While the book doesn’t contain an explicit plea, as such, for people to sign up as potential organ donors if they haven’t already done so, the subject is dominant in the book and this would seem to be the author’s intention. The subject was too dominant, I rather felt. Promoting a cause she clearly believed in took over from telling a story, and I became a little fed up with all of the repetitive details about Vivi’s heart, how she felt at different times and her awareness of its movement, about the way she must live, the possible procedures she might undergo, and the experience of Jim. This exposition took the place of a strong story. However, although issue novels are not really my taste, I can see that this novel, which was extremely well researched, could be of great interest to those who enjoy such novels, and this is, indeed, a tremendously worth-while cause to promote (I have long been a registered donor myself). My personal response is based on my preferences, and should be seen as no more than that. As always, the writing was as fluent and readable as one has come to expect from a Susan Lewis novel. Thank you, Net Galley and Harper Collins for an advance copy of the novel.' Help, please!! I'm 47% into the novel (at Chapter 12, I think it is), and last night a box flashed on to the kindle screen saying that if I recieved the book from Amazon, I should move to Cloud. There was no way of removing the box other than by clicking OK. As I wanted to get on with the book, which I'm enjoying, and, assuming that OK meant no more than that I'd read the message, I clicked on it. The book has now been removed from my kindle, and I can't access it. First thing this morning, I tried to 'Send it to Kindle' again, but my kindle is not accepting it. I had hoped to review the book for the 21st February. Are you able to enable it to be sent again to my kindle, please? Although this isn't a review, I've had to tick the star box in order to send it. Thank you.
I have just finished this thought provoking and emotional book Susan does it again wow the tears the laughter and now the reasoning behind the book!! The characters you can't help but like and the reality that this is life for many people if you read nothing else this year make sure you read this...... Thank you Susan for reminding me how precious life can be!! xx
A really good read. Different to other books, I was gripped from the start and there were some great twists and turns throughout. That said, there is also a very important message that makes the reader think about life and it's value and how they can help others. Believeable characters and a great story. Thoroughly recommended.
This is the tale of Vivienne Shager who’s 27 years old, has a high flying job as a solicitor, a group of glamorous friends and a life that revolves around working hard and enjoying the fruits of those labours. Unfortunately life has other plans for Vivi and whilst out celebrating her birthday with her girlfriends she is felled by two serious heart attacks nearly losing her life in the ambulence. Suddenly her world is turned upside down as she gets used to living with a major heart condition, a huge medicine regime and rehabilitation schedule and the prospect of waiting for a donor heart to be available. Along the way she re-evaluates her life and is determined to discover who her father was despite her mother refusing to share the knowledge. Once again Susan Lewis has written an incredible novel that hooks you from the opening pages and keeps you enthraleed right till the final word. The story unfolds through Vivienne’s voice in the present and Shelley’s voice in the past , each chapter taking you closer to the moment their tales intertwine and become a sinlge voice. Donating organs is a controversial topic and the way it is portrayed in this novel clealy shows the true importance of being a donor. The author has captured the heartache that can take place waiting for an organ and then the high possibilty of the organ not being viable or possibly being withdrawn by a grieving family. A wonderful read that I would highly recommend.
A beautiful read, and one which touched my soul. Beginning with Vivi, a twenty something lawyer in London we get the feeling of what her life is like - and how much she loves it. Alternating chapters introduce us to Shelley and her life with her family in the country. As both stories merge, we find out much more about them, both happy and sad . . . I did wonder when both these stories were going to merge and was convinced I had it worked out - but no, wrong again! But meet they do, and this morphs into an amazing read about friends, family, love and, oh, so much more. I have read many of Susan Lewis' previous novels and this one is completely different to what I expected. A compelling and flawless read, it is one which will stay with me for a long time to come. I've always believed in organ donation and have made sure my family are all aware of my feelings. This has some bearing in this book, and I now understand more than I did previously and can imagine it will have the effect of increasing the number of people who sign up to participate. This isn't a 'preachy' read, rather it is part of the story, and makes it all the more riveting. My thanks to publisher Harper Collins for my copy via NetGalley. As always, this is my honest, original and unbiased review.
With thanks to Netgalley, Pigeonhole and the publishers for the book in exchange for an honest review. This is an incredible, uplifting and moving story and shows how important and the difference organ donation can make to peoples lives. The mothers stories, Shelley and Gina are stories in their own right and then you add Vivi’s story and they make up a very special and moving book. The book covers a whole multitude of different peoples stories from neighbours, family and people who are coming out of the care systems. It all comes together to make an engrossing, interesting and entertaining read. Highly recommended.
Oh my goodness. This book has destroyed me. It has had me going through every emotion with the main character vivi. I have experienced every high and low. Tasted the disappointment. This book is truly inspirational and is an eye opener into organ donation here in the UK too. What a brilliant way to raise awareness and get people talking about it. Massive points to the author for being able to do that as well as write a brilliant heartfelt story!
I'm really glad I persevered past the first few pages. I thought it was going to be one kind of book but suddenly it became quite another and the other was wonderful, heartwarming, intriguing and satisfying.
As the title suggests, one minute later can make all the difference and therein lies this story. Vivienne Shager is a successful lawyer. She’s young, pretty, surrounded by good friends and family and has everything to live for – until whilst celebrating her 27th birthday, out of the blue, she suffers a heart attack that changes her life forever. With her previous hectic lifestyle and independence now gone she moves from London to the small town of Kesterly to live with and be cared for by her mother and stepfather as she waits (and hopes) for a donor heart to be found. This becomes the driving theme for the book and the author has done some intense research on the whole subject of organ donation and is to be commended in this respect. Running alongside the story of Vivi and her wait for a new heart is the story of a family who live at nearby Deerwood Farm and the chapters switch between this family and what happened to them 30 years ago and those of Vivi and her situation in the modern day. It is here where the plot relating to the two families becomes very cleverly intertwined and makes for compulsive reading. For anyone who is interested in, or has questions about becoming a donor, this story will give the reader much to think about and may well encourage some to consider this more seriously which is obviously the intent of the author. It is interesting that one of the characters in the book is indeed a real person who is hugely involved and doing great work in this regard but read the book to find out who that person is (no spoilers!) If you like a book that has serious issues, moral dilemmas, family secrets, murder and a wonderfully heart- rending love story to boot then please read this book. Warning! You will need tissues.
This book had me hooked in a way that a week later I am still thinking about it and have signed up to Save9lives. The story is told from the perspective of two women Shelley and Vivi. It is also set in two different time periods of the 70s and present day, although they do sync eventually. Vivi is a high flying lawyer in London, loving life and on her way to meet the GaLs (a group of lawyer friends) to celebrate her birthday. She gets to the bar and begins opening presents when all of her sudden she has a massive heart attack. The quick thinking Dr on scene saves her life in effect, but she ends up having a device fitted which will shock her heart back to normal rhythm if it stops again. She is also told she will need a heart transplant. Vivi has to move back to the sleepy village that she was so eager to leave and live downstairs in her Mother's house as she is very weak. Shelley has moved into a farmhouse with the love of her life - Jack - They both stayed there as children and when the owners died it was left to them. 3 children later and they have it all until tragedy strikes and Shelley's world falls apart. Years later the two women meet - I can't say how as it's a spoiler - and are joined together in love. This book made me think about life and how in the blink of an eye it can change. You should read this book with a large box of tissues.
Authentic, emotional, mysterious and romantic are the perfect words to describe this enthralling story. Told primarily from Vivi and Shelley’s points of view, you wonder what there can be to connect two women who are so different in all aspects of their lives. Both their stories are absorbing. Vivi’s story is at the present time, Shelley’s mainly retrospective but one unconnected incident puts their lives on a collision course. This a story of family life, relationships and friendship but there is an underlying mystery, which is gradually solved as the story develops. The story is suspenseful, as in the midst of ordinary events you are metaphorically waiting for ‘the other shoe to drop’. So many people’s lives turn on a moment in time and the main body of the story focuses on the fall out from this event, and its consequences. The characters are complex, flawed and so believable. Reading this story is like being a voyeur into the character’s lives, the events are realistic as are their emotional responses and motivations. The romance is sweet yet passionate, and selfless, it is the basis of the two main protagonist’s lives and what binds the families in the face of adversity. There is a multitude of poignant moments in this book, which enrich it. The plot’s twists make solving the underlying mystery complex and satisfying. The emotional ending is beautiful to read and surprisingly hopeful. The messages peppered throughout this story are important for the reader to take on board. I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK - Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An emotional rollercoaster of a book. This author never disappoints. Will admit to finding the book slow to start but once you could see a connection between the 2 story lines it started to pick up. Love, heartbreak (quite literally) and family relationships. Have to say I did shed a tear towards the end - but I won't spoil it. Would recommend.
I was sent this book by Net Galley for review. I haven't read Susan Lewis before but I will definitely be looking her books up in future based on this one. Our story starts with Shelley and Jack, a bohemian couple who escape city life for a 'Good Life' living on a farm in the country. They have 3 children, a boy and 2 girls. We then meet Vivienne (Vivi) who has been diagnosed with a heart disorder that will be terminal if she can't find a donor heart. Although they have no idea, the lives of Vivi and Shelley's families are inextricably linked by an event that happened many years ago. Without wishing to give too much away I can't say too much more about the story. What I will say is that is was a slow grower but the further I got, the quicker I read, until I found myself at the end, sad and bereft, wanting to relive the story all over again. I loved the characters, particularly Vivi who was so brave and so real. When I finished the book, I found that a lot of the inspiration had come from a real life sufferer of the condition that Vivi has in the book, which explains how it was such a genuine story. Five stars from me!
I really like Susan Lewis's books, and this one is no exception. Vivienne has the whole world in the palm of her hand. She is successful, beautiful, popular, 27 and enjoying life. Until she faints one day, is rushed to the hospital and nothing is the same again. Her heart is failing. She goes onto the transplant list and is told that she needs one within a year. Her mother has bought her up alone, and her biological father is never mentioned. She adores her stepfather Gil, and that is just how things are. She would love to know who her father is, but her mother won't budge. She adores her half-brother Mark and they have a close relationship. In 1995 Jack and Shelley are happily married with three children. They live in the country on a farm and all is well until Jack dies. Shelley is brokenhearted and struggles. She notices a figurine is missing from the house, after the funeral. It remains a mystery. Vivi has found a similar figurine hidden in her mother's bedroom but has never liked to say that she has been prying. Via mutual friends, Vviv meets Josh, the eldest son of Shelley and Jack. He is a vet, obviously a gentle and kind person, who is attracted to Vivi, and vice versa. He is not put off by her medical problems, even though entering a relationship is fraught with problems. It appears that the ending is obvious, but it isn't. I recommend you keep going to the end of this, to find out what happens. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased. My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.