Casey’s Pick: the Todd Family novels by Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson is one of my favorite authors. She has written several novels, including a mystery series featuring a private detective, on a variety of topics. My favorite of her books is Life After Life. Published in 2013, this is the story of a young woman growing up in England, with an unusual twist: Ursula Todd keeps dying, and each time she does, the book starts over. It happens when she is a baby, a toddler, a teenager, an adult — every time, the novel returns to the snowstorm on the night of her birth in 1910. Ursula, like the reader, eventually becomes aware that this is happening and tries to change the course of her life.
While I love this book, it does take a little while to get used to the concept. If you check Goodreads, the first two reviewers give it 2 stars, the second two reviewers give it 5 stars. In my experience speaking to library patrons and staff about Life After Life, it seems to be a book you will either love or hate. Hopefully you will love it!
If you enjoy Life After Life, try the sequel, A God in Ruins. This book follows Teddy Todd, Ursula’s brother and a character who appears in Life After Life. Much of Life After Life is about the characters living through World War II and the London Blitz. A God in Ruins deals with Teddy’s life after he survives being a pilot during the war, and his relationships with his family. It is also a much more straightforward book.