Charlotte Butterfield, author of By This Time Tomorrow relives some moments in her past she would do a little differently given the chance…
‘Turn around, shut the door, then come in the room again and let’s start again.’ I say these words to my children fairly regularly, usually when I’m greeted with an unintelligible grunt in the morning or get accused of moving or losing a belonging, and this formed the basis for what has now become By This Time Tomorrow. What if it was really that easy? A simple swivel on your heel, a closing and opening of a door and the previous moment has been erased and restarted. If only.
Writing this novel where the main character Jess has the ability to re-do any moment from her past, it would have been impossible not to wonder what I would alter or fix from my own 44-years of life. Here are some of the moments I would tell my past self to do a little differently.
- 1994-96, Bristol. You don’t need to date a roll call of deeply unsuitable boyfriends; including heavily tattooed heavy rock enthusiasts (*disclaimer, nothing wrong with tattoos, or rock, but this one had a list of previous girlfriends snaking up his forearm), and a glass-eyed jobbing photographer, (*disclaimer, nothing wrong with glass eyes but this glass eye stayed open while he slept). Just say, ‘I’m really flattered, but I’m busy Saturday’ when they ask you out. You’ll thank me, and so will your Mum.
- Summer 2002, Bangkok. You’ve bought the mosquito repellent, so for the love of god wear it. While we’re on the subject of Thailand, that plate of pad thai wrapped up in an undercooked omelette you’re thinking about buying from that man on a bicycle with a hot plate in his front basket may not be the best idea you’ve ever had. Swerve it, and head for a restaurant with an indoor kitchen and refrigeration for its ingredients.
- 2009, Dubai. You have to bow out of your best friend’s really important party a few hours before it starts because you’re eight months pregnant and hot and massive, and can’t bear the idea of leaving the house and putting on shoes. Tell her that. She’ll be annoyed, but that’s ok. The web of lies you’re thinking of concocting will be found out, and will dissolve a really great friendship that will never be rebuilt. Also, if you are going to text your husband telling him how unreasonable said friend is make sure you send it to him. And not her. Or neither of them, and just allow her to be angry because she has every right to be, keep apologising, and then book a brunch for the two of you. And take flowers.
- 2017, Rome. Before moving to Italy learn how to say, ‘yes I would like four carrier bags please,’ and ‘Please can you speak a little slower, I’m only learning,’ and other useful phrases, not just, ‘large glass of Pinot Grigio please’. This will save a lot of hassle and heartache, and mean that you don’t have palpitations every time someone speaks to you and you won’t need to duck and hide out of sight if the doorbell rings. You’ll cry a lot less too. Seriously, do a language course.
- 2005-2022, Everywhere. Decline the third bottle of wine when there’s only two of you drinking it. In every situation. Always. You’re welcome.
By This Time Tomorrow is out now in eBook!
Would you risk your future to change your past? Escape with this hilarious and heartwarming story of second-chances - the perfect summer read!
'A tender and poignant novel that taps into the "what if" in all of us, By This Time Tomorrow is filled with clever twists, humour and heartbreak. This thoughtful story about second chances is a life-affirming, magical read'
HOLLY MILLER, author of The Sight of You
'Hilarious, heartbreaking and unputdownable - I loved it'
DEBBIE JOHNSON, author of The Moment I Met You
'Hilarious, thoughtful and so cleverly plotted. I wept buckets toward the end and it makes life feel much warmer'
JESSICA RYN, author of The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside
'A delightful story of 'what ifs' and new beginnings - warm, funny and hugely relatable'
FIONA GIBSON, author of When Life Gives You Lemons
'A truly magical book that had me laughing one minute and crying the next - magnificent!'
'A perfectly magical mix of hilariously funny and heartbreakingly emotional - I adored it!'
'Thought-provoking, heartwarming and snort-out-loud funny - I adored By This Time Tomorrow. We'd all like to turn back the clock on occasion, wouldn't we? Charlotte Butterfield has created a story full of sensitivity, imagination and warmth'
FIONA LUCAS, author of The Last Goodbye
'Warm, witty and the mother of all what ifs for weary women!'
LAURA KEMP, author of Bring Me Sunshine
Jessica Bay has it all - and it's all too much. Between moody teenagers, a hectic job and a husband who can recall that the last time they slept together was 632 days ago but somehow can't remember to put the bins out, Jess is close to breaking point.
Desperate for change, she moves the family to a tiny island in the English Channel. An island that has a secret: it can take you back in time to relive any day in your past. To have another go at doing it right.
But as Jess becomes dizzy with the fact that she can, she forgets to consider if she should. Because changing even one moment in your past will change your whole future in unknowable ways. How much of her supposedly imperfect life is Jess willing to gamble? And will she realise the risks before she loses everything?
Readers LOVE Charlotte Butterfield!
'A wonderful read, full of humour, love and angst'
'A great cast of characters who are as likeable as they are funny, a story that has that real feel-good factor'
'Full of heart'
'Read this book. You too will love it'
'An amazing story from the first page until the last'
'Lives up to the standards of Sophie Kinsella, Abby Clements and Carole Matthews'
'A wonderful debut: engaging, emotional and entertaining'