The school is on fire. Her children are inside.
Grace runs toward the burning building, desperate to reach them.
In the aftermath of the devastating fire which tears her family apart, Grace embarks on a mission to find the person responsible and protect her children from further harm. This fire was not an accident, and her daughter Jenny may still be in grave danger. Grace is the only one who can discover the culprit, and she will do whatever it takes to save her family and find out who committed the crime that rocked their lives. While unearthing truths about her life that may help her find answers, Grace learns more about everyone around her - and finds she has courage she never knew she possessed.
Powerful and beautiful, with a riveting story and Lupton's trademark elegant style that made Sister such a sweeping success, Afterwards explores the depths of a mother's unswerving love.
"Starred Review. Lupton's superb follow-up to Sister
The uncommon but convincing narrative technique, adroit twists, and memorable characters combine to provide a wise and poignant portrait of a family confronted with malice and heartbreaking decisions." - Publishers Weekly
"Despite excessive length and the sense of suffocation that can arise from Grace's interiorscape, this compulsive read confirms Lupton's instinctive commercial flair." - Kirkus Reviews
"Anyone who loves thrillers should take a look." - Library Journal
"Afterwards is an exceptional literary thriller that resonates with depth and despair. It's got it all: a gripping plot with twists and turns, a horrific crime, and a beautiful love story layered into the fine fabric of a family, who are torn apart by a devastating betrayal." - Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing and Never Knowing
"In Afterwards, we see a master's touch on every page. Uncompromising emotional impact, a poet's sonorous style and a gripping story all come together to make this a transcendent literary experience. I guarantee this novel will touch everyone." - Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of Carte Blanche and Edge
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Rated of 5
Afterwards--reading the book
A fan of Sister and Lupton's writing style, I really enjoyed reading this book. The only reason I didn't rate it 5 is that I felt the author spun the story of the investigation for too long. I loved that I couldn't figure out who did what for so long into the book; however, the beautifully constructed ending was reached at a bit of a point of exasperation on my part. It just took too long to get there in the out-of-body world she had created. Overall, great writing, character development and a story that made me care!
Rated of 5
Duane F. (Cape Girardeau, MO)
This was an exciting thriller. It had a chilling story line and believable characters. However, I would have happily traded some of the "twists and turns" of the plots, (there seemed to be several) for a better exploration of the relationship between the mother, Grace and the daughter, Jennifer. I think that Ms. Lupton could have done both. She gave these characters the opportunity to be able to step outside themselves and she easily could have allowed them to explore being a mother and a daughter while the rest of the family raced against the clock to save them. I also felt that Jennifer would have more likely suffered brain damage rather the cardiac damage by the actions taken against her. So much of the story was about "who done it", there was ample time and opportunity to explore the tenuous relationship between a teenage daughter and her mother. The reader never doubted their love for each other or the need to protect Adam, but so much could have been done to allow the reader to come away with a better knowledge of the emotions between the two main characters. Exciting it was, but excitement just was enough for me.
Rated of 5
Vicky R. (Cumming, GA)
This is a well written thriller that takes you through the gamet of emotions of a family touched by tragedy. Although it has shades of The Lonely Bones, I actually found it more captivating. The strength of the mother keeps the story together but the ending has a surprising twist...I found this book to be engrossing and entertaining.
Rated of 5
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)
Afterwards - Doesn't Eclipse Her First Novel!
I very much enjoyed Rosamund Lupton’s first novel Sister which came out last year – a literary thriller which hooked me immediately. So I was expecting great things from her second novel! Afterwards’ paranormal exploration of a mother and daughter, both hospitalized and comatose, invisibly witnessing their friends, family, and police through out-of-body experiences during their attempts to find out who set the school fire was riveting once one commits to that suspension of belief. But the novel was excessive in length and the mother’s constant introspection was a bit too saccharine for my taste. It’s a good thing that the surprise twist in the ending redeemed the time spent slogging through some of the earlier parts!
Rated of 5
Shaun D. (Woodridge, IL)
A Real Letdown
After reading Rosamund Lupton's 1st book "Sisters" I eagerly awaited her sophmore effort. Was even happier to find out that I could receive an advance copy through BookBrowse but maybe I was too eager because I was very disappointed. I thought the literary device of having Grace & her daughter be like 'spirit detectives' was really reaching for something it never quite grasped. It didn't help that I found Grace to be a silly naive woman. The reveal of "who-dun-it" was a total letdown. at that point I was so irritated with Grace and her silly daughter that I just wanted the book to end. I really wanted to like this book just as much as I had Lupton's first book (which I loved) but unfortunately it just wasn't that good. It reminded me a lot of "Passages" where the main character did the same thing - run around and around a hospital never paying attention to anyone or anything but her own agenda. Totally clueless to everything except herself. Grace unfortuntately reminded me of that character.
Rated of 5
Roni S. (Pittsburgh, PA)
I read and enjoyed Rosamund Lupton’s first book, “Sister.” “Afterwards” is a beautifully written thriller mystery that graps you from the first page. The book explores family relationships. You care about the characters. It is written from an “out of body” view as the main character is unconscious in the hospital but able to leave her body and travel. I am not fond of science fiction but enjoyed reading this book. It is similar to “Lovely Bones.” I look forward to reading the author’s next book.
Rosamund Lupton read English Literature at Cambridge University. After a variety of jobs in London, including copywriting and reviewing for the Literary Review, she was a winner of Carlton Television's new writers' competition and was selected by the BBC for a place on their new writers' course. She was also invited to join the Royal Court Theatre's writers group. Before becoming a novelist, she was a script-writer for television and film, writing original screenplays. She lives in London with her husband, two children and Tango, a large ginger cat.
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