The Versions of Us

The Versions of Us
Genre : Fiction
Published : 28 May 2015 - Orion
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if...?

A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva's then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.


Truly enthralling… I simply adored this wonderful novel.

Jessie Burton, author of THE MINIATURIST

I absolutely loved [THE VERSIONS OF US]. It's so elegantly and beautifully written... I was equally enthralled by each of the three versions...a really wonderful book.

Esther Freud

One Day meets Sliding Doors.


[A] definite tearjerker…a deeply moving and emotional story that has the ability to make you evaluate your own life.


You’re never sure which version will turn out to be the ‘real’ one and that’s what makes this such an exciting and clever novel. It marks the emergence of a major talent in literary fiction. I can’t wait to see what Barnett does next.

Viv Groskop, Red magazine

Barnett choreographs the plotlines deftly, guiding us through the divergent threads with impressive confidence… The whole idea is kept afloat by the inevitability of Eva and Jim coming together at some point. This could, in the hands of another writer, seem artificial but Barnett suspends our disbelief like a conjuror.

Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express 5/5

[A] triumphant debut…a thoughtful, measured book about the interplay of chance and destiny in our lives. In addition to its original structure, the novel offers candid insights into the effects of status on love… Barnett’s willingness to look beyond romance to the mechanics of relationships bodes well for her career as a novelist.

Elena Seymenliyska, The Telegraph

Its very scope is a joy, the technical achievement seamlessly done, and the ending – all the endings – suitably affecting, regardless of how winding the route one takes to get there. Your patience will be rewarded in more ways than one.

Jenny Colgan, Guardian

Barnett renders an irresistible concept in sweet, cool prose – a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book in which you don’t have to choose.

Hephzibah Anderson, Observer

[A] fascinating debut novel that could well be this year’s One Day


A clever, romantic debut.


Where to begin? With the fluid and effortless prose? The poise and control of the author? The tenderness – but never sentimentality – which permeates the characterization? The cleverness of the plot device? THE VERSIONS OF US is both brilliant and astonishingly good.

Elizabeth Buchan

Barnett’s promising first novel reads like early Binchy... The tantalising ‘what if?’ theme keeps all three stories going at a cracking pace.

Daily Mail

[L]ooks set to become one of the summer’s big reads

James Walton, Reader’s Digest

It’s annoying when a book won’t let you give it up. You put it to one side and think 'maybe I will read that later' because you have more important things to do. And there it is the next day, in your hands, wide open, pulling you back in, just not letting you go… As a first novel this is quite an accomplishment.

New Books Magazine

We follow (Eva and Jim) as their lives spin out in three different ways and so, inevitably, Sliding Doors comparisons kick in. But this is its own book; deep, sensitive and without a hint of commercial compromise… Just lovely.

Sainsbury’s Magazine

Barnett interweaves the resulting love stories with their beautifully drawn characters into an elegant, touching tapestry.

Woman and Home

One Day meets Sliding Doors in The Versions of Us. Each strand is distinct – and equally captivating.

Good Housekeeping (One to watch)

All the highs and lows of love are portrayed in this thought-provoking and moving read.


It’s hard to believe this is Laura Barnett’s debut novel. It’s so sophisticated and well put-together – I’m completely in awe of how Barnett managed to write not just one story, but three, and make them all work perfectly together.

Girl! Reporter

Glorious… a book that I think will do incredibly well come its release.

A Case For Books

I recommend this book without reservation… This is a wonderful, exceptional book by Laura Barnett. I loved it.

Moira Please, The Perfect Writing Retreat

I imagine the process of writing multiple narratives was a huge challenge but she has done so successfully, creating an intriguing, sometimes painful but ultimately heart-warming love story.


[A]cutely observed, beautifully written and wonderfully plotted.

Jac Smith, Secret Truro

Such a well thought out and highly memorable read that will play havoc with your emotions.

Little Bookness Lane

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