ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – What Might Have Been by Holly Miller
My review today is of What Might Have Been by Holly Miller. It’s a really lovely read. My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the gorgeous proof copy of the book with the split front cover. It’s already out in eBook and audiobook and will be published in hardcover on 3rd March.
A romantic and unforgettable story about the little moments that change our lives.
The day that changes Lucy’s life starts in the worst way possible when she is abruptly fired from her job. Drowning her sorrows in a nearby bar, Lucy spots her ex-boyfriend Max walking past outside. Should she stay where she is and ignore him, or should she step outside and say hello?
Everything hinges on the outcome of this one decision. In two storylines, we see what happens when Lucy follows both her head and her heart, and how the ripples from this moment change her whole life.
A heartbreaking, uplifting and unforgettable novel for anyone who has ever paused to wonder what might have happened if you made a different choice.
Holly Miller’s first book, The Sight of You, was one of my favourite reads of 2020. I commented in my review that I read the last 100 pages in one go. I did the same with What Might Have Been. I had this need to know what was going to happen and I was so completely engrossed in the lives of Lucy, Caleb and Max.
This book is not quite a Choose Your Own Adventure book but it’s a similar concept. It’s all based around the idea of what would have happened if Lucy had made a different decision. She initially believes in soulmates, that one person you are always destined to be with. But is life about destiny or about the choices you make?
Lucy works in an advertising agency in a seaside town called Shoreley. It’s not her dream job and a snap decision leaves her pondering which path to take. Should she stay in Shoreley, give writing a novel a go and see if anything comes of her brief encounter with a man named Caleb, or go to London, interview at a very exciting agency and give a relationship with Max, her university sweetheart, another go?
Here’s where the book gets clever. In each chapter we follow Lucy’s story from the perspective of ‘Stay’ and ‘Go’. We see the outcome of each path. You might think this would get confusing (I did wonder) but it really doesn’t at all. It flows beautifully and I liked how some things would have happened anyway and some things happened because of the decisions the characters made. It certainly made me think.
Initially I was mostly team Caleb. After all, Max had broken Lucy’s heart in the past. But with less than 100 pages to go I suddenly felt a lump in my throat. I was heavily invested in not only both relationships but also the vastly contrasting lives Lucy had built for herself.
As with The Sight of You, Holly Miller made me cry as I headed towards the end of What Might Have Been. It’s an emotional and moving read, but it felt so real and raw at times, highlighting the fragility of life and those difficult choices, where both options make sense. I thought it was a unique and gorgeous story with characters I didn’t want to let go.
Holly Miller was born and grew up in Bedfordshire. Since university she has worked as a marketer, editor and copywriter. Holly currently lives in Norfolk with her partner and their dog.