Book Reviews

Book Review: A Day Like This

By Kelley McNeil

Published November 2021

287 pages

What would you do if one day you woke up and your perfect life, the one you were living only hours before, never existed?  

On an otherwise normal day, Annie Beyers is in a car accident on the way to the pediatrician’s office with her daughter, Hannah.  When she wakes in the hospital, there’s no record that Hannah ever existed.  She now lives in Manhattan, not in her dream house in Upstate New York, and is separated from her husband, Graham.  The man who only hours before called her from Atlanta, sending his love and doing his best to get home to them.  To pile on the confusion, Annie is now best friends with her estranged sister and a famous painter, a career she’d given up when Hannah was born.

Confused and angry, Annie fights this new life, insisting that Hannah is real.  But she’s the only one who remembers and eventually, Annie’s current existence starts to feel if not normal, then at least familiar.  But even as she makes peace with her non-relationship with Graham, memories of Hannah persist, seeming more real than her day-to-day existence.  Unable to let her daughter go, Annie embarks on a journey to find answers, uncovering not only what might have happened the day of the accident, but also new meanings behind dark family secrets.

This was my Amazon Prime selection from, I think, October, and my only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner.  I went into it looking forward to a well-reviewed general fiction read, but found so much more. I probably would have finished this in one sitting if I didn’t have other things to do, like sleep and go to work. 

I usually prefer multi-pov novels, but Annie is a fully realized, sympathetic character and it was amazing to see her through other people’s eyes, learning about her at the same time that she learned about herself.  Her journey of self-discovery flowed naturally and so much is hinted at without the author telling me everything I should know.  I was swept up immediately by her story and it didn’t let me go until the very end.

I have to admit, I spent a large part of the second half of this book waiting for Annie to give up on the memories of her previous life or have some sort of half-baked plot twist pop up.  To my relief, neither of those things came to be.  The author struck a chord in me with her rationale for what happened to Annie (which I’d love to dive into, but I don’t want to throw out any spoilers), and I don’t think I could have written a better ending.  Details were skillfully woven in and everything came to a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, a brilliant debut novel. I’m looking forward to more by this author.

I rated this book 4.5 stars.

My rating system:

5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.

4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.

3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.

2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,

One need not be a house;

The brain has corridors surpassing

Material place.

Emily Dickinson

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