Updated: Jun 26
Author JM Hampshire describes himself as a person with a “fascination for unfortunate incidents, bad timing and awkward situations,” and on behalf of all readers, thank goodness for that, as it has proven to be the catalyst for the penning of one of the most unique and absorbing novels I’ve ever read.
I read a lot of books annually, nearly one hundred or more the last few years running. And yet, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a plot quite like this one. “Same Time Next Year?” is a sort of ‘groundhogs’ day’ in that it circles around to one day, year after year, as the decades pass in Jamie’s life. Reading like a Hollywood movie, beginning in ’91 this book revolves around the Food and Beverage Expo, otherwise known as FaB-Ex, as Jamie grows from an apprentice fitter and installer just out of training to the man he ultimately becomes.
In Jamie’s first year, ’91, he sets up the SteelFab stand while mildly distracted by the models of Wow! Catering. Later, at the bar, he ends up going home with one of the girls, who disappears from his room leaving only a note saying ‘same time next year?’ and the annual ritual of FaB-Ex kicks off. As the years wear on, Jamie thinks about his mystery woman and some of the good times they had together, amidst the background of adulthood, as he traverses relationships, parenthood, and mental health.
While Jamie is the lead, author JM Hampshire provides just as entertaining side characters in Bob, Chilly, Ward and Don, all of whom play a pivotal and important part of Jamie’s life. What begins as a simple romance, becomes a multi-layered story through the years, as seen from Jamie’s point-of-view. Centering around the FaB-Ex annual expo, Hampshire captures the crucial life moments and the growth, anxiety, and changes that arise as a result. The consistency and flow of this book make the years fly by; in this story you’ll wish never ends.
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