Book Reviews,  Europe,  FICTION,  FOUR STARS ****,  History,  Suspense,  World War II

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson **** (of 5)

lifeOn the first page, Ursala Todd has the opportunity to shoot Hitler in 1930 and does so.  No wait.  A few pages later Ursula is born in 1910, but dies soon thereafter because the umbilical cord is wrapped about her neck.  Or maybe she isn’t so dead, but has the opportunity to live another life after life.  Each chapter is captivating and linear, characters are fully drawn, relationships are meaningful, and suspense is palpable.  The Luftwaffe’s blitz on London covers us poor readers in heaps of broken timbers and a coating of dust so thick it is hard to clear our eyes. Sirens blair. And then we relive the blitz again.  And again.  Each bombing run is perceived by Ursula slightly differently because she has taken a different path in life.  We care about Ursula, her brothers, sisters, parents, and aunt and their rural British home but recognize that her life, like ours, is a series of “What ifs?”