Life After by Katie Ganshert

Life After

Author: Katie Ganshert
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Waterbrook
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Pages: 352

Author Website|Book Depository|Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead.
But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones.
Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God.

Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

REVIEW: Life After is all kinds of emotional. Autumn is left to pick up the pieces of a life she doesn’t recognize anymore. Every day she is reminded of that fateful day where she was the only survivor. It’s not that she tries to forget, she has made her days after that painful incident all about that moment. About the people who were on that train with her that day. From the girl with the pixie hair cut, to the boy listening to his music, to the older man who just wanted to talk about the weather and the lack of hair on his head. Innocent souls that did nothing wrong, and yet lost their lives in an instance. Autumn being the only one left alive.

One year later and her family doesn’t know how to be around her. How to help her cope when all she has done is create a memorial of sorts in her home. Going over that day, every minute of every hour. With mounting information on the ones who passed away, to clippings, internet searches that fill her computer. It has consumed Autumn’s life. But a life she feels is not her own anymore. One that weighs on her at all times.

And while Autumn tries to remember, Paul, who has lost his wife in this senseless bombing, wants to just forget. To leave it all behind and start fresh with his kids. Knowing it won’t be an easy feat when so many remind him of it daily. When he has a mother-in-law who isn’t the easiest to be around. With painful reminders like a year anniversary gathering with families that lost a loved one in that train. It invades every part of his life and his children’s, but he only wants the hurt and anguish to stop.

But one day Autumn and Paul’s lives become intertwined when his daughter Reese runs off without warning. Later to be found over at Autumn’s. Not only was she there, but they had been writing to each other without Paul’s knowledge of it. Even though things seem to be going down the wrong path with all of that, it is completely turned around with Reese’s persistence. Helping two people on opposite ends of the spectrum, find a middle ground. In doing so, maybe bringing each of them what they need the most in this time of mourning.

This novel had so much to offer. In a world where chaos seems to reign, it’s nice to have a story that brings out the good from something as somber as Tragedy on the Tracks. Showing us that yes it isn’t easy, and it never will be when something so horrible transpires. But there is light at the end of a dark situation. And opening up about it, coping with it, can bring peace and closure one might never have had without it. I am glad I took a chance with this read, which far exceeded my expectations.

***I received this copy from Penguin Random House/Waterbrook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***

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