Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Julie's Review: Afterwards

Summary: The school is on fire. Her children are inside. Grace runs toward the burning building, desperate to reach them. In the aftermath of the devastating fire which tears her family apart, Grace embarks on a mission to find the person responsible and protect her children from further harm.  This fire was not an accident, and her daughter Jenny may still be in grave danger. Grace is the only one who can discover the culprit, and she will do whatever it takes to save her family and find out who committed the crime that rocked their lives.  While unearthing truths about her life that may help her find answers, Grace learns more about everyone around her -- and finds she has courage she never knew she possessed. Powerful and beautiful, with a riveting story and Lupton’s trademark elegant style that made Sister such a sweeping success, Afterwards explores the depths of a mother’s unswerving love.

Review: Immediately after reading Sister, I knew I wanted to read Afterwards. I even contacted the publisher to see when they would be releasing it in the US. That is how much Ms. Lupton's writing and storytelling affected me. When I read the description for Afterwards it reminded me a bit of Lisa Scottoline's Save Me but after a few pages I knew the only thing they had in common was a mother trying to rescue her child.

There is so much to say about this book but yet so much I can't say because it will truly ruin the experience for you. It is unlike any other book I have ever read because of the manner in which Ms. Lupton unfolds the story. We are quickly introduce to Grace Covey as she's attending the Sports Day at her 8 year old son, Adam's private school. Not only does Adam go there but her daughter Jenny is acting as school nurse for the day. It is the picture of serenity until Grace sees smoke billowing into the sky coming from the direction of the school. Grace doesn't even think to hesitate as she runs into the burning building looking for Jenny.

Of course Grace's actions have repercussions as both her and Jenny are sent to the hospital fighting for their lives. What happens next during the investigation into the fire is a roller coaster ride until the very end. I had so many theories all of which turned out to be very wrong. I wanted to them to look at the family for some reason. I felt that Jenny was hiding something by trying to prove she is capable of being an adult. Was she hiding something, yes but it wasn't anything like I assumed.

What this novel makes you acutely aware of is that things aren't always as they appear. Sometimes you think you know someone, then you find out something that hits you over the head and then you wonder if you ever even knew them. Not only that but at times we all make assumptions and when our assumptions turn out to be wrong, either good or bad, how do we deal with that? How do we process it and move on from it?

At the end of the book, I felt that all of the characters had grown, particularly Grace who discovered somethings about herself that might not have been easy but they were truthful. Her husband Mike also grew. He grew into the father he needed to be to Adam and the father Adam needed. I am hopeful that this experience also changed Jenny. That maybe she'll be o.k. in the end.

The only thing that kept this from being a 5 for me was the ending. I felt that all in all it was a little too neat for me. A bit too bow tied on nicely especially given the ordeal. I'm not saying I didn't appreciate the ending because I most certainly did since it had me up late and bawling like a baby, but it didn't seem like something that might happen in real life.

I really hope that one of you reads this book quickly because I'm dying to discuss it with someone who has read it. It is a book that will spawn plenty of discussion in a book club or amongst friends.

I can't say enough about Ms. Lupton's writing. She is an author that I highly recommend to anyone and I look forward to any novel she writes in the future. For more about Ms. Lupton, you can check out her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and of course her website.

Final Take: 4.75/5

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the ARC of Afterwards.

Rosamund Lupton’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, April 23rd:  Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, April 24th: Colloquium
Wednesday, April 25th:  Take Me Away
Thursday, April 26th:  A Bookworm’s World
Monday, April 30th:  Nomad Reader
Tuesday, May 1st:  Great Imaginations
Wednesday, May 2nd:  The Picky Girl
Thursday, May 3rd:  Indie Reader Houston
Friday, May 4th:  Amused by Books
Monday, May 7th:  Books Distilled
Tuesday, May 8th:  Me, My Book, and the Couch
Wednesday, May 9th:  Girls Just Reading
Thursday, May 10th:  Boarding in my Forties
Friday, May 11th:  Coffee and a Book Chick
Monday, May 14th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, May 15th:  Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, May 16th:  Melody & Words
Thursday, May 17th:  Lit Endeavors

TLC Book Tours has an opportunity for you to win 10 copies of Afterwards for your book club. Just click a here to enter.


1 comment:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

When you said this was nothing like what you expected I got a bit worried, but it sounds like this was a pretty fantastic read (other than the ending). So glad you enjoyed it!

Thanks for being on the tour.