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.
Christy-winning novelist Ganshert (The Art of Losing Yourself) opens her newest with a shocking but realistic event: a bomb explodes on a Chicago train. As sole survivor Autumn Manning struggles to recover, her life intersects with the lives of the family members of a victim who was originally (incorrectly) identified as the only survivor. Autumn's life before the bombing was also painful and complicated. It's a lot of trauma, but Ganshert uses masterful pacing, engaging characters, and believable dialogue to bring readers along. Certain faith elements are part of the plot itself, and the characters all deal realistically and in diverse ways with the sadness. While Autumn eventually finds work in a church, the most important faith elements are subtle. She wrestles with age-old questions about suffering and God's will that haunt major religions, and Ganshert captures the seriousness of such discussions without sacrificing readability, tackling big issues powerfully.