Published: 23rd March 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family. So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things. One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for kindly sending me a review copy.
The narrative opens with the main character, Sophie Winter, purchasing three black dresses for multiple funerals, but before readers are able to get their heads around what is going on, the plot quickly moves to four months earlier when everything changed on Halloween. Sophie’s life drastically moves from trying to find The One to jumping out of a burning building into the arms of an extremely sweet male stranger. The meeting between Sophie and Ben was out of ordinary, but from the second they met, they seemed to click as if they were made for one another. I haven’t read one of Dani’s books for over a year but it was so easy to fall back into her smooth writing style and story telling.
“I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but have you ever spoken to anyone about this weird hero complex of yours?
As the plot thickened, Sophie went from sleeping on her best friend Julia’s couch to searching for her cat to living in Ben’s basement as a tenant, but all the happiness soon melted away when Dani threw a spanner into the works which meant racing to the hospital. Before Sophie could blink, she’s caring take of Julia’s little boy and despite it being a horrible situation, it allowed her to realise how she felt towards Ben. It was the first written incline of romance between the pair, but any reader would be able to tell you that from the moment they met, they had a spark (ironic, considering how they met).
“I should have gone to say goodbye. I should have told him I loved him.”
Despite readers only hearing from Sophie’s point of view, we are given a lot of information about Ben’s life and in particular, his circle of friends. As the pair grow closer, Sophie learns more about each of Ben’s friends, the condition which is slowly taking over their lives and how Ben plans to help them with a bucket list. It was quite a sweet yet heartbreaking addition to the narrative and at the back of my mind, I was constantly thinking about whether Ben was hiding something. Whilst the plot continues, Sophie receives some devastating news from an unlikely source which turns her world upside down but it doesn’t stop there as she discovers quite the shock whilst looking for a file in Ben’s wardrobe. There’s an aspect of Sophie’s life which I haven’t mentioned, simple because it will give the game away but it truly is a shocking moment when the truth finally comes out from all those years ago.
“Staying with me will destroy you.”
From the beginning, the book had a rare beauty about it; the kind which Dani captured so magnificently and I found it very difficult to put the book down. Sophie and Ben met in a very unusual way, but their story travelled so effortlessly and I was swept up in their time together. Even though the ending was heartbreaking, I thoroughly enjoyed how Dani transmitted the characters into my imagination.
If you enjoyed Me Before You, then you’ll love this.