This Time Next Year

by Chandra Sundeep
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Cover image of This time next year by Sophie Cousens

Sophie Cousens’s debut novel, This Time Next Year, is a character-driven feel-good romance flick that is cute, upbeat, and fun. (Minus any over-the-top steamy scenes.)

Minnie Cooper (yes, that is her name!) and Quinn Hamilton were both born in the same hospital on the first day of the year in 1990. Their mothers, strangers until then, bonded with each other in the labour ward, discussing who would be the first child to be born on the new year and win the £50,000 prize. Quinn wins, not just the money, but also the name. Yes, Minnie’s mother had wanted to name her child Quinn! Minnie grows up blaming Quinn for stealing away her name and luck! She believes her birthday is jinxed and awful things happen to her every time on that day.

30 years into the present, Minnie and Quinn meet on their birthday. Thus begins a series of events wherein they both keep bumping into each other. And each encounter leaves them wanting more!

I loved the premise. Even though, the plot is tropey- it is a boy meets girl; they fall in love kind of story. Yet, the treatment makes this an entertaining read.

Apart from the main plot, the many sub-plots are equally interesting. Friendship, family dynamics, depression, agoraphobia, and mental health are a few of the themes woven into the storyline. These topics make this different from regular romance novels.

The way Cousens’s story revolves around fate and the impact of the decision we take leaves one with a lot to ponder upon.

While the main storyline unfurls over the course of one year (from one New year to the next), there are intermissions from the past. I found the transition between the time periods a bit confusing at the start. It felt chunky and disjointed. But once I understood the relation between past events and the present, I enjoyed the story even more.

But the best part of the story is the characters. They are not stereotypical as in a rom-com. Minnie and Quinn are from different backgrounds and are dealing with their own challenges. They grow as the story progresses, learn to face their fears, and influence each other’s lives, too. Their backstories are well etched and add value to their personas.

I liked the minor characters too. There are quite a few of them. This is one of those novels where the characters are not fighting for space or suffering from poor development. Of all the secondary characters, I liked Leila (Minnie’s best friend), and Minnie’s mother Connie the most.

Oh, and the banter between Minnie and Quinn is delightfully witty and gave me many LOL moments. Even though the various issues and events happening in their lives took up large space, and we don’t really see a proper romance blossoming between Minnie and Quin, I still loved the way their relationship developed despite the lacklustre romance.

I enjoyed reading This Time Next Year and recommend this to anyone looking for a simple and entertaining novel.

 

Wordsopedia Rating 4.5/5

Title: This Time Next Year Author: Sophie Cousens
Publisher: Arrow Publication date: August 1, 2020
Genre: Fiction–Romance Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781787464940 No. of Pages: 416

Buy your copy here on Amazon.

About the author

Sophie Cousens writes romantic comedies. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a TV producer in London for more than twelve years, working on shows such as The Graham Norton Show, Russell Howard’s Good News and Big Brother.

She now lives on the island of Jersey in the UK, and balances her writing career with taking care of two small children. Sophie yearns for a time when she can add a miniature dachshund to her brood and wishes for the ability to read books faster than she keeps buying them.

This Time Next Year is her first novel.

Know more about the author here.

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