All About Us by Tom Ellen
Ben’s always loved December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. So when he runs into his old friend Alice – the one that got away – Ben can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he’d done things differently all those years ago.
He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.
Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?
Review by Tanya Kannta for Love Books Group
All About Us by Tom Ellen
For those of us who wish the holiday season lasted just a wee bit longer, might I suggest All About Us by Tom Ellen? In addition to the cozy holiday feel, this story weaves together second chances, mystical elements, and a heartwarming Happily Ever After.
It’s been fifteen years since Ben and Daphne’s first kiss. However, the flame is gone, their relationship is on the brink of disaster, and even worse, their drive to “fix” their marriage has stalled. This leaves Ben wondering if he should have chosen Alice all those years ago. The more his relationship with Daphne crumbles, the more he regrets leaving Alice. Lo and behold, Alice reaches out to Ben.
Enter the magic. Ben purchases a watch from a gentleman (who seems to pop in throughout the story) and finds himself as a first year at university. The year? 2005. The day? The day he and Daphne met and kissed. Here’s Ben’s chance to start all over again. To make different choices. Does he stay with Daphne? Does he give Alice a chance?
All About Us jumps from present to past to present. Each time he makes deliberate changes in the past, he’s back in the present. And then he jumps back in time again, though each subsequent journey into the past finds him closer to the present. And, even more frustrating, the changes he makes in the past don’t seem to change the outcome of his present relationship. A relationship still on the precipice of ruin.
But our dear hero has many lessons to learn. Besides figuring out his love life, Ben is given a gift to reconnect with his best friend and his mother. And while the magic of altering the past doesn’t necessarily change the future, it does teach him a most important lesson. He still has the ability affect the present and ergo, the future.
Without giving away spoilers, I am happy to say the book ended how I hoped it would. The pacing is swift, and our hero’s personal journey is satisfying, like a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie. As a romance, this brought me warm fuzzies in the end, though getting there wasn’t always smooth. But then again, a relationship where our protagonist evolves, and the couple overcomes obstacles? To me, this makes the very best of romances.
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