Sounds alright so far right? The narrative trajectory (I don't want to say story, because really there are countless tales recounted in this novel) follows the Todd family, particularly the middle child, Ursula. The setting is England in the early 20th century; the reader sees the characters pre-, during, and post- both World Wars. Up until this point, I was pretty sold. I like following family life, watching Hugh and Sylvie Todd and their five children (not to mention the household staff and the neighbors), grow older and make their ways through life. Also, WWII is a huge win setting wise in my book, so everything was off to a good start.
While this is certainly a nice experiment, I was left befuddled and frustrated with the implementation in fiction. Yes, it's still the same character; however, and yes I realize this is the premise of the book, without the same past experiences, she's not the same person. As the character progresses, it's not like here is Ursula 1 and she had this experience and grew up and did this, and Ursula 2 did this and then that; instead, there were dozens of different Ursulas to the point that I found it hard to keep up with who was doing what after having had which experience. It could have been the case that in my frustration I wasn't reading carefully enough to realize that there were clear trajectories. Either way, I never felt all that connected to any one character given that the circumstances of that character's past were constantly in flux.
Overall, it's a nice concept to think through, what would happen if you did take this job, or didn't meet that person? It makes you realize there are thousands of possible outcomes that your life can take. However, as a book (and this one's a bit of a time investment at just over 500 pages), I found it tough to keep up with and not all that memorable.