Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton

Article published on October 4, 2011.

After my enjoyment of Lupton’s Sister, I had to download Afterwards to my Kindle and see if lightning could strike twice. I’m happy to announce that it definitely did.

Grace and her daughter Jenny are trapped in a strange purgatory. Walking around the hospital in which their bodies are dying, they have to try to work out what happened to bring them there. But when Grace’s son, Adam, stands accused of starting the fire that caused all this strife, she knows she has to prove his innocence somehow. Together with Jenny, she begins to dig into the intricacies of their social circle, and soon secrets start pouring out… But which lead to the identity of the would-be killer? And will they survive this ordeal and return to the life they once shared – a perfectly normal life that seems utterly golden in hindsight?

Watching their family rally round, and seeing events take disturbing turns without being able to influence them at all, they must find and place each puzzle-piece before it’s too late… Because the clock is ticking, and when it counts down they may never find their way back home.

Lupton is the queen of the modern whodunnit. But with Afterwards, she surpasses herself, combining ethereal and spiritual elements to form something new entirely, whilst retaining the original shape of the story and keeping you on the back foot to the last page.

You’ll find yourself rooting for Grace, weeping with her for her children and her husband and examining her past in great detail. Her courage and care as a mother, a wife and a daughter are universally recognisable and lend the story an air of closeness. She’s every mum who’s ever taken her kids to school, helped them achieve, dealt with their disappointments alongside their victories. She’s you and she’s me, and she’s forced to look so deeply into her own life that she may well find it staring back.

As the book rushes towards its inevitable, touching conclusion you’ll find yourself wishing for more, and soon you’ll be right next to me looking out for Lupton’s next novel. The promise she shows as an author and the accomplished, polished tone of her narratives leave her readers with so much to look forward to. Her future is a bright tapestry of innovative books and brilliant writing – be sure you don’t miss out, and get out there to buy her first two books as soon as you can!

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