FOR TWICE IN MY LIFE by Annette Christie 

From the publisher:

A second try at love becomes more than one woman bargained for in this “timeless, enchanting” rom-com from the author of The Rehearsals (Rachel Lynn Solomon, New York Times bestselling author).

Can one little lie lead to a big second chance?

Layla’s chaotic life transformed when she met Ian Barnett. Ambitious, committed, and thoughtful, Ian has been everything she’d dreamed of, and she knows he’d say the same of her. So when he breaks up with her out of the blue, Layla is stunned. What went wrong?

But then, Layla gets a call from the local hospital. Ian’s had a biking accident. He’s okay, but he needs someone—his someone—to get him home safely. As it becomes clear Ian doesn’t remember he ended things, it also becomes clear that the accident has given him a new outlook on life . . . and Layla a second chance to get things right. 

That is, until Ian’s younger brother comes to town. Matt is restless, unpredictable, and threatens to upset the careful balance Layla and Ian have rebuilt. As things get more complicated both at home and at work, Layla realizes she might lose her chance at real love—and real happiness—if she doesn’t come clean about the stories she’s been telling: to Ian, to Matt, to her family, and most importantly, to herself.

“Second chances take center stage in this cute contemporary . . . Christie does a good job fleshing out Layla’s backstory so that readers will sympathize with her despite her deception. This is a charmer.”―Publishers Weekly

“A clever take on While You Were Sleeping . . . Christie deftly upends romantic comedy tropes. Her characters are complex and realistic, even in heightened situations. A unique love story that will keep readers guessing.”―Kirkus Reviews

When I saw the comparison to While You Were Sleeping, one of my favorite movies, I was all in. This book lacks the sweetness of that movie and it has a lot more crazy going on, but it is an apt comparison and an enjoyable read – once I got a handle on the main character, Layla.

Let me backtrack a tiny bit and say I just loved that Layla and her siblings were all named after 1970’s songs; Jude, Rhiannon, and so forth. Layla is a complex character and reveals herself bit by tantalizing bit. I don’t want to give anything away because that’s half the fun of this book. We quickly learn that she works for a small local theater as an administrative assistant, has a bad relationship in her past, is the youngest of a big family, all of whom are coupled up, and she generally feels like a failure in a myriad of ways. She is also a huge fan of the Rat Pack, Audrey Hepburn, and is a total romantic at heart.

We also learn that Layla was dumped two weeks previously by Ian, because they weren’t spending enough time together. They both have busy work lives, but that explanation just haunts Layla and she can’t understand it. So when she receives a phone call from the hospital saying that she is the emergency contact for Ian, she rushed over there to find he was in bicycle accident and has a concussion – and doesn’t remember breaking up with her. As far as Ian’s concerned, they are still happily dating. Layla shakes off her misery over the breakup and grabs this second chance with both hands. But can you build a lasting relationship on a lie?

The accident has changed Ian in other ways. He is no longer entirely work-driven, and he wants to make amends with his younger brother Matt, a wastrel that has spent years wandering around the country and couch surfing. Or so he thinks. He invites Matt to come stay with him and is surprised when he accepts. But Matt is quite withdrawn and surly with Ian, and he drives Layla nuts.

Turns out Matt had written a blog about his wanderings that was turned into a streaming TV show. Unfortunately he was fired after the first season leading Ian to think he is a failure. But when Layla’s theater has to drop their upcoming “emerging playwright” due to a scandal. they are desperate to find another writer. With only a month until the show is supposed to open, they leap at the chance Layla is offering – Matt. Of course she has to talk him into it and who knows if he can even write a play.

Ian and Layla continue dating, Layla spends more time with Matt to eventually realize that she can be completely herself with him, while she continues to hide things from Ian. If you’ve seen While You Were Sleeping, you know how it ends, and if not. enjoy the surprise! I must admit it took me a while to get through it; it slogs a bit through the middle but all in all, it was a fun read and I recommend it.

2/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

FOR TWICE IN MY LIFE by Annette Christie. Little, Brown and Company (February 7, 2023). ISBN:‎ 978-0316451031. 320p.





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