Customer Review

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will believe!, May 3, 2012
This review is from: Afterwards: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Rosamund Lupton's "Sister" was my favorite book of 2011, and is probably in my top 10 of all time. Her second book "Afterwards", another very well written literary thriller, uses a similar theme and is another winner.

Grace Covy is an ordinary 39 year old mother of two children. Grace has a loving relationship with her husband and is devoted to her children. She has a part-time job, however, does not feel she has been as successful in her career, as she might have wished. In a split second, Grace's world changes dramatically, while visiting during sports day at her children's private school. Jenny, her beautiful 17 year old daughter, is the on-site nurse for the day, and is inside the school when the catastrophic fire starts. Without a moments hesitation, Grace runs into the building to save her daughter.

Both mother and daughter sustain life-threatening injuries and are in a coma in the hospital. Similar to the movie "Ghost" and the book "The Lovely Bones" mother/daughter come to realize, they can leave their bodies and move freely around and talk, but only with each other. No, they are not dead, perhaps relegated to that place in-between life and death where one awaits their fate. During this out of body experience, Grace learns that the school fire was not an accident, but an act of arson. Grace also learns that Jenny may still be in danger.

The secondary characters are as vividly drawn as Grace and Jennifer. Grace's well-known husband Mike, works for the BBC and has already endured the loss of both of his parents at a young age. Adam their 8 year old son, is a gentle child, who adheres to the rules of gallantry/honor and is called Sir Covey by his family. When his participation in the fire is called to question, he literally loses his ability to speak. Grace's sister-in-law, Sargent Detective Sarah McBride takes over the case. The two sister-in-laws have never been the best of friends. Sarah, the older sister, has been both mother and father to Mike. Sarah risks her job in order to see that justice is served for her brother and his family. In this book, the villains wear ordinary faces and are written with subtle shades of gray to delineate them from caricatures.

Rosamund Lupton worked as a scriptwriter and she knows exactly when to end a chapter and how to begin the next to garner the most suspense. While she uses a tad too many subplots, she is able to tie them all up coherently at the end. This is a fast paced and very suspenseful thriller with a touch of the paranormal. What makes the book special and one I will remember is the love and loyalty Grace and Sarah feel towards family no matter what the cost.

Ordinary people in very dire circumstances who deliver heart and soul. Very highly recommended.
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