Book Review: Afterwards: A Novel by Rosamund Lupton

Title: Afterwards: A Novel
Author: Rosamund Lupton
Pages: 400
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
ISBN: 0307716546
Source: Netgalley

There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there…

Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and rush. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.

Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who’s still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.


Afterwards is a story about family & friendship with the complications of tragedies that can break ties, un-credit people and make you double think about what you really believe in your life and the people around you.

This is the first book I have read from Lupton and my experience so far is “so-so”. Afterwards seems like a great book with a mysterious cover and promising storyline but there are holes in the story that a reader will certainly notice.

  1. Explanation – when Grace and her daughter were being treated in the hospital, they somehow experience an out-of-body phenomenon which helps them follow the development of the tragedy in spite being in critical conditions. Okay, so my problem with this here is HOW was this happening? There wasn’t anything to prepare the readers about this part of the story and it was just laid there by Lupton and that can be quite confusing. It’s like the author decided to make this story interesting by doing something such as this which is not working for me in this case.
  2. Narration – I had a hard time following Grace’s thoughts. The narration was not really working for me for some reason. I enjoyed the story more when Grace just watched as the events passed by.
  3. Development & Disconnection – I just felt that the characters weren’t developed enough for the story. It was like reading bits and pieces and not getting the whole piece. And what sucks is that I have read Afterwards a few days ago but I can’t remember the story anymore. It didn’t have that needed appeal to me to make it memorable like it did to other readers.

Enough with the things I didn’t love about Afterwards, let’s see what I did like about the story:

  1. Mystery – Lupton had a great idea and wrote a story that isn’t as predictable as some novels are. The ending wasn’t what I expected and the person to blame was also not the person that I thought would do it. This is where the story excelled, the “shock” effect of who did it, why they did it and how they did it.
  2. Emotionally tugging – I did say above that I didn’t connect with Afterwards as I hoped I would BUT that doesn’t mean that the story didn’t provide readers with tear jerking moments. It did have its highlights – here and there – and although it might just be here and there, I’d say that’s a plus point for me since little emotion is better than nothing at all. A smile there, a tear there is much better than a blank face skimming through pages.
  3. Writing – Lupton can indeed write well. Her writing style basing on Afterwards can be troubling at first but once you are on the wagon, it can be a ride of excitement and anticipation. Pacing was slow at first but the mystery of the story is worth the slow start. I haven’t read Sisters, Lupton’s praised book before Afterwards, so I may not justify Lupton’s skills but so far I am not closing my doors to any novel from her in the future.

People who have read Afterwards had mixed emotions. Not everyone is a fan but there are definitely a hefty number of readers that enjoyed this book. Here are some reviews that might help you decide if Afterwards is for you –

You can also read excerpts of Afterwards HERE.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Afterwards: A Novel by Rosamund Lupton

  1. Pingback: FGH: Found, Grabbed, Hauled (IMM 10) «

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