Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice have known each other since they were at university. Today they have written a novel together incorporating influences ranging from David Nicholls to the romantic comedy of Richard Curtis.
The novel, tells the on and off again romance between Alex and Holly from their days as teenagers in Yorkshire in 1999 to the present day in London. Holly is a PA sleeping with her boss and in love, whilst Alex moves down to the big smoke as a teacher.
Holly is settled and happy with her boss Richard, yet the arrival of Alex on the scene creates more intrigue.
Using the narrative device of each writer taking their same gender voice, it offers differing perspectives and both sides of the story. Whilst it could be considered a gimmick the surprising aspect is how similar in voice both Holly and Alex are, they sound a lot like each other and perhaps that is a way of convincing us they are meant to be together.
The flipping of narrative time from present day to 1999 is reminiscent of Nicholls' One Day but whereas Nicholls afforded his characters fifteen years to grow, here you feel Holly and Alex are very much different from their teenage selves, with the past merely a means of showing what might have been.
Book lovers of Lisa Jewell and Mike Gayle as well as those who actually like Love Actually will no doubt read this book in one sitting. The book has a great tempo and feel to it that can withstand a typical Curtis happy ending which although generic is nevertheless successful.
The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice is out now in paperback from Random House for £6.99
Follow the authors on twitter @LauraAndJimmy