Title: While I Was Sleeping
Author: Dani Atkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
I don’t remember what happened or what has changed.
I can still hear your voices but you can’t seem to hear me.
I was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
Now I have to find a way back – to you, to our family, to us.
I can just about see through puffed up eyes to write this review… While I Was Sleeping is a hugely emotional, cry-your-eyes-out type of novel – the sort I haven’t read for a while. Dani Atkins has managed to pull together some of the hardest, heartbreaking situations into an entertaining, thoughtful and at times (okay, almost all the time) incredibly sad novel.
I have read This Love, also by Dani Atkins [read my review], and hugely enjoyed it, plus heard brilliant things about Fractured, so I was expecting big things from this one, and it certainly lived up to my high expecations!
I started off reading While I Was Sleeping firmly on one ‘team’ (you’ll know what I mean when you read this, but as the synopsis is so vague I don’t want to give too much away here), but as time went on I found I felt empathy for pretty much every main character. I found it incredibly difficult to read about poor Maddie’s pain and anguish, and a few times thought I didn’t know if I wanted to continue reading because the horrible situation she’s in made me feel really sad ☹️ however I’m so glad I carried on!
Nothing is black and white about this novel; Atkins manages to make you almost experience, deeply, the way each character feels, before presenting a different side to the ‘story’, and each person has their own flaws and positives. The result is that I cared about everyone, even people I thought at the start I’d not be able to empathise with.
This book is very likely to make you cry, and think far too much about how you’d feel in each person’s situation (leading to more crying). The characters are all very relatable, and any slight cheesiness (of which there isn’t much, I’m pleased to say) is definitely allowed due to the subject matter!
I should also point out that there are some uplifting parts too, so it’s not all doom and gloom, and it offered me a welcome break from crime and thriller novels. While I Was Sleeping so full of heart and emotion that I couldn’t help being drawn in, and I’m sure most people will feel very similar.