Title: The Day We Meet Again
Author: Miranda Dickinson
Narrators: Laura Kirman, Joshua Manning
Release date: September 7th 2019
Genre: contemporary, women’s fiction, romance
Format reviewed: audiobook
Length: 11 hours
How I got it: I bought it
Their love story started with goodbye….
The brand-new novel from The Sunday Times best-selling author Miranda Dickinson.
‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be….’
Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in 12 months’ time if they still want to be together.
But is life ever as simple as that?
This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever….
Since I began blogging, my world has expanded. I have read some horror (and survived) I took a chance on non-fiction. I tentatively opened my door to contemporary and romance… and found out they could make me spend a few hours away from crimes (never too long!) and blood. I enjoyed a few novels, some moments made me smile, and I liked to follow those characters for a bit. But I had never fell in love with a love story.
Until I read The Day We Meet Again.
I roll my eyes at sugary nicknames, predictable Prince Charming plots, false knots and easy way-outs. The word romance gives me the hiccups. I associate with silly longing stares and I cringe at awfully descriptive (and often weird) intimate scenes!
You can’t find any of those things in Miranda Dickinson’s novel. Instead, you meet Phoebe and Sam. Two souls passing through St Pancras. Despite the opposite destinations of their tickets, they are both about to embark on a life journey. But the statue of Sir John Betjeman has slightly different plans for them… A delay with the trains and a few hours together change everything.
How real! I found myself in the middle of an angry crowd in the train station, looking at the departure signs, sighing at the delays. I do my best to believe bumps in the roads have a meaning, and Miranda apparently has the same belief! The audiobook gave Phoebe and Sam a voice, it enhanced the power held by the author’s words. I always imagine how characters look, what their facial expressions are, what their clothes look like. Here, I met Phoebe through Sam’s eyes, and Sam through Phoebe’s, in a fishbowl of passengers, and they stood out by their authenticity. Two normal people lost in their quest for answers.
Phoebe’s anxiety and fear at the thought of taking that first step to leave her world behind and find herself resonated with me. I saw myself standing on a platform. Even if you haven’t been there, you will have no problem connecting to her. Lovely, insecure, and kind, she wears her heart on her sleeve. Sam… Oh Sam, I must tell you a secret. I have a big crush on you in your entire Scottishness! I have a soft spot for musicians (I know, I am not alone!) but it takes a lot for a guy to find the song to open my heart. Sam got the right keys instantly. He is not smooth and all smiley. He has a personality! And baggage. Literal and figurative. Yet, he steers clear of the cliché of the brooding guy. He is caring and funny.
When Phoebe and Sam meet at the foot of the statue, something happens. I don’t want to put a tag on it. Naming it would take away the spark. They are given a few hours, like I said… and then the first surprise hit me. Both decide to go through with their plans! Take that, easy romance plot! A love story starting with a goodbye?? Wow! Miranda Dickinson chooses to keep her characters real and true to themselves, despite the sudden feelings they’re experiencing. For this, and another million reasons sprinkled in this novel, I love her! Putting her protagonists on the front line like this is exceptional. She gives them the room they need to grow as individuals, she allows the readers to get to know them on their own, while attaching a fine gold thread around their wrist to keep them connected to each other. YES to reminding us love doesn’t define us, neither does our relationship status, and that it’s okay to find yourself before you can find your partner.
I want to find out how to be at home with myself.
This quote has stayed with me since I listened to the book back in April. It’s beautiful and meaningful. It’s a wonderful message. Yes to love, but not at the cost of what makes you ‘you’. You are not a bad person for not getting rid of everything to follow your heart.
Sam and Phoebe promise each other to come back to St Pancras, to the statue, in exactly one year. If they still feel the same. If they still want to see what they could become. This, for me, is one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever read/seen/imagined.
From this moment on, Miranda Dickinson takes us on two different journeys. Her immersive writing led me to Paris, Mull, Italy… There is an evident parallel between the characters travelling through Europe and the UK and their travels through their emotions and struggles. The author brilliantly exposes how difficult it is to make peace with who you are, who you are not, and who you wish you were. Sam moved me to tears, Phoebe made room for herself in my heart, and together, they made me hope for the best. Can a spark of love resist the passing of days, nurtured only by a few phone calls, emails, and postcards?
I said it before but those characters could be you, me, our neighbors. They have family problems, a bunch of friends, secrets and weighs on their chest. Talking about friends, Miranda Dickinson captured the complexities of friendships, giving us the best and the worst of it, making it so real. No, your friends don’t always understand you. No, they don’t always support you. Yes, they make mistakes too. No, you are not always the best friend to have! A special note to Meggy, Phoebe’s best friend, a real portrait of… ME!!!!
I really thought the book would only focus on their year apart, and I had resigned myself to a happy ending by the statue of Sir John Betjeman…
I won’t give anything away except… The journey doesn’t end here. In a fabulous and heart-breaking twist, Miranda Dickinson swept me off my feet and into a second part I had not seen coming. More friendships, more struggles, more laughs, more love.
So what about the actual love story? Beautifully complex. Stunningly perfect in its imperfections. My heart melted, was broken, swelled, burst. I got all the feelings. Sam and Phoebe made me think twice about what I was expecting from someone, what I was expecting of myself. What I would do for love.
I can’t thank the woman behind The Day We Meet Again for writing my favorite love story. What makes all the difference to me is that the love story doesn’t dwarf everything else, it wraps itself around the characters and let them find a way to let it in. Phoebe, Sam, and the fantastic supporting characters get time to learn, grow, and love. They don’t get all the answers, they get the real deal. The doubts and hugs. The tears and laughs. The thorns and the rain. The sun and the flowers.
If you ask me to recommend you a romance novel, I will ‘tuuuut’ you and hand you a copy of The Day We Meet Again, the contemporary love you don’t know you need. Not just romance, but life.
I ADORE THIS BOOK. BUY IT NOW
Do yourself a favor, get your copy! (ebook currently 99p!)
I am a six-times Sunday Times Bestselling author of ten books, have been shortlisted twice for RNA awards (for Novel of the Year in 2010 with Fairytale of New York and again in 2012 for Contemporary Novel of the Year for It Started With a Kiss), have been published in fifteen languages and been a bestseller in four countries, have sold a million books and still can’t believe all of the above has happened to me!
I always wanted to be a writer. My first ambition was to write a book worthy of display on the shelves of wonderful Kingswinford Library (which, at the time, was not much bigger than somebody’s living room, but to wide-eyed five-and-a-half year old me was a palace of dreams). Consequently, my childhood and teens were filled with lots and lots of ‘Chapter Ones’ and grand schemes for amazing stories that would set the world alight (if only I could write more than one chapter of them).
Then someone at sixth form college suggested that writing books was ‘childish’. So I stopped writing. It was a daft thing to do, but for the next ten years I didn’t write, choosing to believe the Sayers of Doom instead of listening to what my heart was telling me to do.
Fast-forward to 2001, when a lovely friend gave me a very old, reconditioned PC (which I was later to immortalise as Old F the coffee machine in my debut novel, Fairytale of New York). There was something about messing about on a computer keyboard that kickstarted ideas in my brain and one day I wrote a paragraph that began: This city is not mine by birthright… Seven years later, after one fatal PC crash, a very embarrassing email to a dodgy ex (who I’d sent the story so far to, asking for him to send me the chapters I’d lost) and a fantastically scary friend called Lindsey who wanted to read more than I had written, that paragraph had become Coffee at Kowalski’s – a novel I uploaded onto Authonomy.com which, amazingly, was spotted by an editor at AVON (HarperCollins) and published as Fairytale of New York in 2009.
Fairytale became an instant bestseller, reaching number 8 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers List and staying in the top 10 for five weeks. To date, it has sold over 150,000 copies (I thought it would be awesome if it sold 500, so you can imagine my shock when it passed the 100k mark…)
My next five novels, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take A Look At Me Now and I’ll Take New York have all become top 20 Sunday Times Bestsellers, followed by A Parcel for Anna Browne, Searching for a Silver Lining, Christmas in St Ives (an ebook novella and prequel to Somewhere Beyond the Sea), Somewhere Beyond the Sea and The Day We Meet Again. To date, I have sold over one million books worldwide. I am also the founder of WriteFoxy – offering a whole host of resources for writers at all stages of their writing careers, including inspiration days, online resources, vlogs and more to be announced soon. I’ve been vlogging about writing and my books since 2010 and you can watch them and subscribe to my channel HERE.
One note for you, if you’re a writer: the dream is possible. It happened for me, so it can happen for you. Never stop believing and never stop creating awesome word-worlds for people to wander through. And if you’d like to know more about writing (or anything else), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
From the author’s website.