Growing up, Kate and Becca are inseparable as cousins, just as Kate and Charlie are inseparable as friends. As friendship turns to love for teenagers Kate and Charlie, Kate imagines she’ll always have Becca by her side as her right-hand woman, and Charlie by her side as her partner. But when Charlie moves away to university, things begin to unravel, but at least Kate still has Becca. As the years pass, Kate and Charlie’s lives take separate routes but remain intertwined. But can friendship be enough?
Ashton’s novel is the real deal, a story so complete that it bursts from the seams. The writing is superb and Ashton structures the novel innovatively around key occasions – birthdays, weddings, funerals etc – that give a lovely focus to the narrative whilst enabling it to span the years effortlessly. The characters have their foibles, but are believable for doing so, and watching Kate and Charlie pass each other like ships in the night is at times frustrating, but creates an epic journey. This is one of those rare stories that has it all and delivers on every count. It offers everything you hope from a novel: to laugh, to cry, to be uplifted and heartbroken. To manage one of these is good, but to manage them all is exceptional. (JC)