Book Review / Holly Miller

Holly Miller | What Might Have Been

The Book: 

What Might Have Been by Holly Miller
Published January 18th 2022 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Date read: January 6th, 2022

The Characters: 

Lucy
Max
Caleb

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon


The Plot (from Goodreads):

What if “meant to be” happened twice?

Lucy is at a crossroads. The same night she quits her thankless job she meets Caleb, a local photographer in her seaside town, and has a run-in with Max–the once love of her life. As Lucy decides the right path forward–finally pursue her dream of becoming a writer, or move to London and revive her career–her choice will change her life in unimaginable ways.

Stay. After a decade of trying to run from her dream, Lucy is finally facing her fears and putting pen to page. With her budding romance with handsome, artistic Caleb, she has more inspiration now than ever. But can Lucy and Caleb open themselves up after their past heartbreaks? And will their different paths take them to the same place?

Go. Lucy can’t believe her luck when a room in her best friend’s London house share opens up and she lands a job at the prestigious Supernova. It gives her the courage to face Max, who’s serendipitous encounter still has her reeling, and ask what really happened almost a decade ago? But does she really want to know, when being together feels like fate?

In concurrent storylines that track what would have happened if Lucy chose to Stay or Go, What Might Have Been is a sweeping story that poses the questions: is it destiny or chance that decides who we are meant to be, and who we are meant to love? And is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Click here for book spoilers for What Might Have Been
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read What Might Have Been, I suggest you turn back now.

The Ending: 

Stay timeline: Caleb and Lucy get engaged. Jools gets pregnant, and Lucy runs into Max while she’s waiting for Jools to deliver the baby. Max is married and his wife is also having a baby.

Go timeline: Max passes away in a car accident. Lucy is pregnant with his child. When Jools is about to get married to Nigel, Lucy reaches out to Caleb to ask him to photograph the wedding. Caleb had that picture he took of Max and Lucy the night Caleb met her. Lucy is grateful and knows she and Caleb will become friends when they see each other at the wedding.

The Review: 

Thank you to Putnam for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

What Might Have Been certainly takes a degree of focus when reading, as the timeline is split between two “what-ifs” in Lucy’s life: whether she decides to stay in her small town or move to London. In the “stay” timeline she begins dating Caleb, another local who grew up across town. In the “go” timeline, she gets back together with Max, her “one that got away” from college. Throughout the book, major events happen in both timelines with different outcomes.

This is the first time I’ve read a book written like this, and I think the style worked really well. I loved that it was love triangle vibes without the ickiness of a real love triangle. The book was very well written in that the alternating timelines weren’t confusing at all, despite the same characters in both. I couldn’t wait to see how the author would wrap up the ending–would each timeline just end, or would we get to see what Lucy really decided and how it turned out?

Lucy was a very interesting character. She dreams of writing a novel, but it stuck in a job where she is underappreciated. I thought she felt very real and relatable, and it was easy to agree with most of her choices.

I would definitely recommend you pick up What Might Have Been once it comes out on January 18th!

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