Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major

Cesca Major’s The Silent Hours was one of the first books I ever reviewed on Linda’s Book Bag (here) and I’ve loved her writing ever since – in all her pen names. It’s far too long since I featured Cesca on the blog so I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the blog tour for her latest book Maybe Next Time. My huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. I’m delighted to share my review today.

Maybe Next Time was published by Harper Collins on 30th March 2023 and is available for purchase through the links here.

Maybe Next Time

Even the greatest love stories end. But what if this one didn’t have to?

Emma is having the worst day of her life. Frustrating. Chaotic. And the only person who could make it better is gone by the
end of the day.

Yet even worse than all of that: Emma keeps waking up to the same day, over and over again.

But what if this is a sign things could be different? Can Emma change the heartbreaking end to this love story?

My Review of Maybe Next Time

It’s Monday for Emma – again!

Maybe Next Time is an astonishing novel. At the start I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, as it took me a while to realise how brilliantly it had been constructed. Once I’d settled into the rhythm of the narrative and had been dealt the first huge emotional blow I understood what a special book this is. 

I absolutely loathed Emma for the early part of the story. I wanted to climb into the pages of Maybe Next Time and shake her until her teeth rattled. Why? Because Cesca Major made her completely convincing, totally relatable and far too close to home for comfort! Emma has a husband and children and yet allows work and commitments to seep so far into her psyche that she loses sight of what is important in life. Hers is a lifestyle many, many readers will understand and relate to so uncomfortably and it’s this aspect of the story that makes it almost unbearably emotional. With one skilful moment in the narrative Cesca Major turned me from loathing Emma to wanting the very best for her. Indeed, I loved the characterisation because I found my assumptions about both Emma and Dan were challenged and changed as their personalities and lives were gradually revealed. There’s a kaleidoscopic shifting sand of understanding that somehow makes the reader as much a character as any of the others in the book because they change too as they read. This really is an affecting narrative.

The plot is so cleverly structured, with certain repetitions that emulate to perfection what Emma is experiencing. With Maybe Next Time billed as a kind of Groundhog Day, I thought it was so much more. Whilst Emma relives the same day continuously, the exploration of marriage, family, grief, friendship, work life balance and the need to listen to others with true focus, all combine to make this a textured, heart-wrenching story that gets under the skin of the reader and leaves them reeling. There’s also a fascinating insight into the world of publishing and I loved the nod Cesca Major’s other pen names!

Whether or not Maybe Next Time appeals to another reader as much as it did to me (because I absolutely loved it), there is no doubting that it will change their lives. This is a book that certainly moves and entertains, but equally it illustrates the fragility of life and how important it is to engage fully with those we love and to be the best version of ourselves we possibly can. Cesca Major has created a world that is scarily possible for any one of us to experience at any time. She has also illustrated what it means to have deep and abiding love for someone else.

Maybe Next Time breaks your heart but mends it too and it’s a shining example of a story written by someone who understands humanity and displays compassion and love with absolute perfection. I adored it.

About Cesca Major

Cesca Major is a novelist and screenwriter. She runs writing retreats and coaching throughout the year, is a mentor for Black Girl Writers and has taught creative writing for Jericho Writers and Henley School of Art. She blogs and vlogs about the writing process on her social channels.
Cesca has written under pseudonyms in other genres and has been nominated for both the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award and the
CWA Gold Dagger Award.
She lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls.

Billed by The Times as ‘… a talent to watch’ you can find out more about Cesca by visiting her website, finding her on Facebook or following her on Instagram and Twitter @CescaMajor.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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