Monday, February 13, 2017

Life After: A Novel by Katie Ganshert

(Thank you to Blogging For Books for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

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. 

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

my thoughts:

Wow! Talk about a powerful read.  I absolutely LOVED Life After by Katie Ganshert.

This is a story that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go.  Its emotional, beautiful, and utterly captivating.  Once I sat down with it, I couldn't get up til I turned the very last page.  And even then, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Autumn is boarding a train one minute and then waking up to the news that she is the sole survivor in a bombing attack.  Twenty-one people died in the blast.  Overcome with shock, horror, and grief she can't help but feel disoriented and numb.  And the one question that stands out in her mind is, "Why?".   Why did she survive?  Why didn't the blast kill her?  Why her?  Why? Why? Why?

Fast forward and its a year later.  Autumn is still struggling to accept that she is the sole survivor in a deadly attack that left so many dead.  She is overcome with guilt and grief.  She can't let go of the question, "Why?" - it haunts her everyday.  She tries to remember what happened.  She tries to remember the people on the train.  She tries so hard to not forget.  Her family is at a loss in how to help her move forward, when its so obvious she doesn't want to or can't bring herself to.  Its sad, frustrating, and difficult for them all.  Of course, its not just Autumn we meet in this story.  We also get to know Paul.  His wife was one of the victims of the bombing and he is now left alone to raise his daughter and son.  He tries to move on.  He needs to.  Except, he can't when he's unexpectedly drawn into Autumn's orbit.  His daughter, Reese, has been writing to Autumn.  Paul finds out about the letters when his daughter runs off to Autumn's.  Now, he's forced to not only deal with Autumn, but he must come to the realization that his daughter is not moving forward like he had hoped.  Talk about facing reality head on. 

Life After deals with grief, loss, guilt, and faith.  It explores the many ways in which survivors and surviving family members cope with tragedy and death.  We see how differently people view the same situation and how they handle their emotions and losses.  We learn about humanity and compassion.  And we learn about time and the ways in which can help to heal all wounds (past and present).

I loved the writing, the characters, and the story.  Life After is such a great read.  I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Ganshert and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

1 comment:

SavingsInSeconds said...

I requested this from Blogging for Books last week - can't wait to receive it!