by Katie Ganshert
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
This is the first time I've been on a launch team. Never having heard of Katie Ganshert, it was a shot in the dark agreeing to review her book. What happens if I'm not a fan? I guess whenever you review a book you have to consider that might be an option. Well, I can say with 100% certainty that that wasn't my experience with this story. Simply, it was amazing!
Summary: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 Review:This was an incredibly well written story. From the first moment I started reading I was captivated. I don't read a lot of contemporary novels, but I'm nearly always glad when I do. I typically also don't read a heavy topic like a bomb on a train. Katie Ganshert's writing was so strong, I couldn't put the book down.
The start of the story introduces us to Autumn, going about her business heading home for the night. The mundane things we do as we live life, never really knowing what the next moment might hold. She and all of the victims on the train had no idea that their lives would come to a screeching halt. Death for all but one, but Autumn lives in the land of the dead. Her family has tried nearly everything to bring her out of the darkness she lives in after the bombing.
Paul Elliot and his children are still recovering from the loss of their wife/mother. His daughter, Reese, is struggling as not only as a pre-teen, but as a little girl who's mom was killed by a bomber. Her actions are really the catalyst for much of what happens in the story. Every family's reaction to a life altering incident is going to be different, but I think the author captured what one family would go through very well. Of course, there are other circumstances that arise as we get more into their lives, which just adds another layer to their struggles and sorrows.
Events happen that alter the downward course that she's on. One of the pieces that struck a chord with me, and I've thought about occasionally through the years is, "What if..." What if I had turned down this road? What if I'd left 10 minutes earlier? What if I'd have gone to this store instead of that one?
This book was a slow read for me. I mean that in a very positive way. Sometimes I will skim parts of a story, but this one I took in word for word. I was so riveted to what was going on, I was lost in the story. Yes, this is a very real, worldly event that happens all over the world, and I felt like Katie Ganshert approached it in a very honest way. I appreciated her writing, and look forward to reading more from her!
If you pre-order her book, there are some great extras! Once you've pre-ordered, be sure to submit your information so that you can receive those goodies! check out the extras:
About Katie Ganshert
KATIE GANSHERT is the author of several novels and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner, The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family.
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