ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Moments by Natalie Winter @orionbooks

I’m absolutely over the moon to be reviewing The Moments by Natalie Winter today. This is a book which I feel sure will find its way onto my books of the year list (although that list is getting pretty long already) as it’s such a beautiful read. My thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou for sending me a proof copy of the book for review purposes.

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to…?

What if you get on the wrong bus, or don’t speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn’t for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?

Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted – in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together – if only they can find each other.

A powerful and emotional story about missed chances, interwoven lives and the moments that define us.

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You know when sometimes a book comes along that just really captures your imagination? Well that’s how I felt about The Moments as soon as I read the blurb. It reminded me of a mixture of Sliding Doors (the film) and The Versions of Us (the book by Laura Barnett).

I don’t want to say very much about the story as I think too much detail would completely spoil it. It’s the story of Myrtle and Matthew and we start with the moment they are born. They’re completely unconnected though and we follow their lives in short alternating chapters. It took me a little bit of getting into because it was like following two straight lines that never cross. But once I started to get involved in our protagonists’ lives I became completely invested in them, wondering at what point the intersection would occur, because surely it would.

I loved Myrtle and Matthew. They’re both perfectly drawn and to be a witness to their lives felt like a true privilege. I watched their joy and their sadness, them finding a mate and their relationships ending, dealing with family issues, pets, all the things that life entails, and all the while thinking to myself that here were two people who were so right for each other. I loved how Natalie Winter made both of them not just animal lovers, but people concerned with animal welfare. I also liked their steadfast stoicism in the face of all that life threw at them and the way they were unconsciously holding out for each other.

This is very much a story of moments as the title suggests, each one a vignette which, when added together, form a whole life story, two in fact. It kind of crept up on me, from that beginning where I had to get to know Myrtle and Matthew, to the last 80 pages or so which I spent crying, not because it was devastatingly sad or anything but because there was such beauty in the writing and the conclusion of their story. I’m not sure I’ve ever cried for so long reading a book.

The Moments is a book that will stay with me. It’s compelling and moving, very emotive, a story of life with all its up and downs from beginning to end. It brings forth the question of whether there’s someone out there that we are meant to meet, whether our lives are always on the same trajectory or if we’d made a different decision, gone in a different direction, whether that would change things. I found myself groaning several times as Myrtle and Matthew came so close to meeting and then missed each other. Maybe it just wasn’t their time.

I’m so pleased to have known Myrtle and Matthew. This book is a joy from start to finish.

Natalie Winter is from Hertfordshire and has worked as a content editor in various media industries for the last fourteen years. She has lived in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, among other places, and now currently resides in Bristol with her scruffy rescue dog.

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