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After I Left You (2014)

When Anna Jones arrives at Oxford in the early 90s to begin her degree, she is soon taken in by the enigmatic Clarissa Hayes and her circle of friends - Keith, Barnaby, Victor and Meg. And it is Victor who grabs Anna's eye. But as Anna prepares for her final day, what should have been a night of celebration turns into a night that will haunt her. A chance encounter with Victor some twenty years later forces Anna to face up to her time at Oxford, that fateful night and the demise of her group of friends. Split between the 90s and the present day and told in five parts, I really enjoyed the structuring of the novel which gave the story momentum and gravitas. Although elements of the plot were fairly predictable, others were hugely unexpected and the events of that final night at Oxford were absorbing. After such an explosive event, I did feel as if the novel drifted in the final part and the conclusion was less climactic than I would have liked. But still this is a novel rich in pathos, drama and nostalgia. (JC)

Stop the Clock (2012)

It's the dawn of the new millennium and three friends are talking about their futures. Tina wants her own newspaper column, Natalie wants a baby with her college boyfriend, and Lucy wants to create the perfect home life. Ten years later, the women have achieved their goals - but somehow things still aren't perfect. Tina has spent the past decade secretly dating a married politician who will never leave his wife, Natalie is experiencing the return of a longing she thought she had buried, and Lucy discovers having her younger sister around the house is not a good idea. How these women deal with their difficulties and life-changing events becomes the crux of this engaging story. Readers will no doubt see shades of themselves or friends in these characters.

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