Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Afterwards

Author: Rosamund Lupton

Format: ARC
Published: Crown; Apr. 2012
Pages: 400
Genre: Mystery
Grade: A
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis: 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.

My Take: After reading Rosamund Lupton's first novel, Sister (click title for my review) and voting it as one of my favorite books of 2011, you better believe I jumped at the chance to review her latest novel, Afterwards. Granted, regular readers know you won't see many reviews of mystery books here but there is something about Lupton's writing that just does it for me. Perhaps it's the fact that unlike many other mysteries, I find myself never knowing the end and always turning the pages, without getting totally freaked out.

So let's talk about Afterwards because it is no easy read, it is actually quite sad. The novel centers around an horrific fire at a school. Grace is the mother and her son Adam is a student there. Her daughter Jenny is currently a student teacher there as well. When a fire breaks out it theoretically may not have been that bad because it was a sports day (we called them field days) so most of the students were outside, however Grace's daughter is inside because she is supposed to be working. As the mother's hear the alarms go off they immediately try to find their children. Grace spots Adam safely outside but does not see Jenny. While the fire is already raging, her motherly instincts kick in and she races inside the building to save her daughter. It is amazing and horrific all at the same time. 

However, once found they are not necessarily going to survive. The mystery is centered on who started the fire. Lupton takes an interesting viewpoint and allows the 'spirits' of Grace and Jenny to narrate to us as they try to find out what happened to start the fire and decide whether they will be able to continue to return to their bodies and live or not. 

It is at turns both incredibly sad and incredibly beautiful. I think you can understand why it would be sad. Grace and Jenny communicate with each other in a much deeper way then they previously had as mother and teenager. Grace sees what this accident has done to her family. It almost breaks her young son and makes her mother age rapidly, while driving her husband to the brink of madness to protect his family while the mystery is solved. On the other hand you see the beauty of a family's love for each other. Often times when a family has children the relationship between a husband and wife plays second fiddle, but we hear the husband talk to his wife's body with such deep and abiding love and we see flashbacks of their life together that are so deep and moving. We also see how Grace has perhaps judged people too quickly and now as a spirit she is able to watch them without them seeing her and can understand them much more holistically and get a better appreciation for her family and friends.

Overall, I can't recommend this enough to fiction and mystery fans alike. I might caution that for mother's this book could be emotionally difficult to read but it will only make you appreciate your family even more.

For other opinions on this book, please check out the full TLC Tour here!

Cover Lust: It's creepy and cold looking but it doesn't have the same resonance for me that the cover of Sister did. 

Giveaway Details
The publisher has kindly offered up one new copy to a lucky winner! The deadline for this giveaway is May 18th; entries open to those in the US and Canada.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST May 18th. I will draw the winners using and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!


  1. We just processed this for our library...totally creepy cover.
    First commenters never win...but I want to anyway!!
    I'm a follower!

  2. You did a really good job of not giving too much info on this one. I read a review the other day that told it ALL.

    I am a follower!
    bookishchatter AT gmail DOT com

  3. lisanathan at hotmail dot com
    Thanks for the giveaway

  4. This sounds very, very good....

  5. My mum loved this book. Would love to win it. thanks!


  6. Maybe..just maybe I should give her a chance

  7. This sounds like a great read. I'd love to be entered in to the giveaway.

  8. Enjoyed Sisters and looking forward to this read. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. This looks excellent, if a bit sad. Count me in!
    stacybooks at yahoo

  10. Thanks for the giveaway. Am always on the look out for new authors and a good mystery!

  11. Ooh, sounds like this was a great read for you!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  12. Just got an eGalley of this one, so happy to see that you enjoyed it.

  13. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. It sounds compelling and special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. Thank you for the great review (and giveaway). This sounds like a perfect read for me, and I can't wait to go get a copy (or maybe win one!).

    +1 GFC: Twisty J

  15. This sounds really good! I love when I can find a book with a unique and different concept....keeps me interested :).

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).

  17. An interesting book and great review. many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  18. Sounds like a really good mystery. I really like that the mother is such a strong and interesting character. Please enter me. Thanks!

  19. Follow on GFC as Anita Yancey.

  20. Follow on Twitter and tweeted giveaway.
    Twitter Name:@Anita Yancey

  21. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for having the giveaway!

    1. Forgot my contact info:

  22. Thanks for the giveaway! Read Sister last year...liked the story...loved the ending.

    Im a follower!

    Junior Cain


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