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It happened on a tree-lined street in Notting Hill to a woman who seemed to have the perfect life. Ellie Lerner’s best friend, Lucy, was murdered in front of her young daughter. And, as best friends do, Ellie dropped everything--her marriage, her job, her life in the Boston suburbs--to travel to London and pick up the pieces of Lucy’s life. While Lucy’s husband, Greg, copes with his grief by retreating into himself, eight-year-old Sophie has simply stopped speaking.
Desperate to help Sophie, Ellie turns to a book that gave her comfort as a child, The Secret Garden. As the two spend hours exploring the novel’s winding passageways, its story of hurt, magic, and healing blooms around them. But so, too, do Lucy’s secrets--some big, some small--secrets Lucy kept hidden, even from her best friend. Over a summer in London, as Ellie peels back the layers of her friend’s life, she’s forced to confront her own as well: the marriage she left behind, the loss she’d hoped to escape. And suddenly Ellie’s carefully constructed existence is spinning out of control in a chain of events that will transform her life--and those around her--forever. A novel that will resonate in the heart of anyone who’s had a best friend, a love lost, or a past full of regrets, After You proves once again the unique and compelling talent of Julie Buxbaum.
But I realize I am supposed to only talk about my second novel, After You, here. And yet, I can’t seem to talk about After You without first paying tribute to Frances Hodgson Burnett, because After You is, among many other things, a love letter to The Secret Garden. In After You, when Ellie, my main character, discovers her best friend Lucy has unexpectedly died, she drops her own life in the Boston suburbs to move to London to help take care of Lucy’s eight-year-old daughter. Overwhelmed by little Sophie’s grief, Ellie turns to the children’s classic for comfort, an opportunity for them to escape the real world at a time when they need to most. Together, Ellie and Sophie get lost in Burnett’s magical language, and allow themselves the pleasure and the relief (and yes, the therapy too) that only reading can sometimes bring.
And so like The Secret Garden, After You, doesn’t begin with “Once upon a time,” and nor does it end with “happily ever after.” Yet, like the Burnett classic, it is at heart a happy book, one where we get to watch loves lost and gained, see our deepest selves discovered, experience the power of redemption, and understand the magic that can be found in turning the pages forward. To be honest, sometimes, I don’t feel like spending my afternoon in a faraway kingdom; I’d much rather rediscover the simple pleasure of reading in the garden. --Julie Buxbaum
(Photo © Indy Flore) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The characters are well developed and several story lines wrap together to make an interesting read.
I literally read this book in a few days; every time I put it down, I wanted to get right back to it and keep reading.
Ellie flies to London when her best friend, Lucy, is murdered by a drug addict in a botched robbery.
The book left me thinking about the nature of friendship, how we see others (and how they see us), the fragility of relationships of many sorts, and finally the possibility of... Read morePublished 27 days ago by A Reader
After You is a story about grief and the many ways that we find to cope (or not cope) with it. When her best friend, Lucy, is murdered in London, Ellie catches the next flight... Read morePublished 3 months ago by J&B Reviews
It was an easy read. Enjoyed it and wished it had gone on a few more chapter! Will look into more books written by this author.Published 12 months ago by Jill
This was a good book, right up until the end. I was completely caught up in the main character's struggle. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Carri Eaddy
This book started slow.....and stayed that way. One good thing she does well is write about is grief and loss within love. I wouldn't call this uplifting but it was a nice read. Read morePublished on January 10, 2013 by Amy
This was a very quick and easy read. I was disappointed in how predictable it was, as well as the amount of unnecessary cussing.Published on November 29, 2012 by JN
Julie Buxbaum grew up in New York, attended the University of Pennsylvania and also Harvard Law School. Read morePublished on May 6, 2012 by Heather
I added this book to my wishlist and almost forgot about it. When I received it as a present, I was surprised, read the blurb and couldn't really remember why I added it. Read morePublished on January 27, 2012 by Jessica
I had a hard time getting in to this novel, and a hard time identifying with the main character at first. It felt dry, boring, and impersonal to me. Read morePublished on November 19, 2011 by K.