Book Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

Life After

Katie Ganshert

Available 4/18/17

 

My review

This story. Wow! There is so much I want to say about this book, so many things I want you to know but at the same time, I want readers to experience it for themselves. Katie Ganshert has outdone herself with this one.

After the tragedy on the tracks, life for many Chicagoans is now defined as before and after. As Autumn Manning, the sole survivor grapples with the why of her life, she is haunted by twenty-two ghosts. Ghosts of those who she believes should have lived instead of her.

And then there’s Paul, Reese, and Tate Elliott. A family who lost one member during the attack. But the before is not the same for all of them. Tate doesn’t have many memories of his mom, Reese wants to change hers, and Paul wrestles with the truth behind his marriage.

When Autumn and the Elliotts’ paths cross, there are moments. Moments of laughter, moments of hope, moments when they forget the tragedy and focus on life. As these four try to make sense of the tragedy, to put the before behind them, there is a small glimpse into the future. One that, while loss and grief are a part of life for many, it doesn’t have to be something that defines them.

Another beautiful, poignant story from Katie Ganshert that had me wanting to stay with Autumn and the Elliott family long after the last page, to follow them into what I hope is happiness and joy despite the pain they all have suffered.

My Rating:

 

More about the book

Loop train riding above a street in Chicago

 

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

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Disclosure statement:

I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Who or What Shapes Our Future?

Who or What Shapes Our Future?

Two years ago, I read a little book called Dear Mr. Knightley and every year since, I’ve looked forward to seeing what Katherine Reay comes up with next. Lizzie & Jane did not disappoint and neither does Reay’s 2015 offering, The Bronte Plot.

the bronte plot

Lucy Alling has a great job in which she passes her love of books and a great story on to other collectors. Through that job, she meets a great man, James. But when it’s discovered that she’s using less than honest methods of selling those books and stories, she loses James’s love and faith in her.

When his grandmother, Helen, recruits Lucy for a trip to England to procure some items, Lucy is forced to go along. Spending time in London and Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, allows Lucy to breath the lives of her beloved authors, to examine her motives and her reasons behind them. But Helen has secrets of her own, and as the two embark on this journey of releasing the past and embracing what’s ahead of them, they discover that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Through Victorian-era fiction, especially the works of the Bronte sisters, Lucy discovers there’s more to life than what she’s been allowing herself. I appreciated the way literature is woven throughout the book and I felt like I was visiting the sites of London, Haworth, and The Lake District right along with Lucy. And I always love a book that brings another place to life.

In the end, it’s C.S. Lewis’s words that have the most influence on both Lucy and Helen. Come further up, come further in.

Don’t miss this endearing and thought-provoking book from Katherine Reay.

***Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.