BONUS: This edition contains an After You discussion guide.
When tragedy strikes across the ocean, Ellie Lerner drops everything—her marriage, her job, her life in the Boston suburbs—to travel to London and pick up the pieces of her best friend Lucy’s life. While Lucy’s husband, Greg, retreats into himself, his and Lucy’s eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, has simply stopped speaking. Desperate to help Sophie, Ellie turns to a book that gave her comfort as a child, The Secret Garden. As its story of hurt, magic, and healing blooms around them, so, too, do Lucy’s secrets—some big, some small. Peeling back the layers of her friend’s life, Ellie is forced to confront her own as well: the marriage she left behind, the loss she’d hoped to escape. And suddenly Ellie’s carefully constructed existence is spinning out of control in a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.
Like her debut, The Opposite of Love, Buxbaum's second novel concerns a woman struggling with devastating loss. When American ex-pat Lucy Stafford is killed by a mugger, her lifelong best friend Ellie Lerner drops everything to fly to London. Ellie stays on after Lucy's funeral to care for her friend's eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, who witnessed her mom's violent death and has since retreated into silence. Ellie also worries about Lucy's husband, Greg, who confesses that he "can barely even look at" his daughter; her own divorced parents' on-again, off-again relationship; and her long-suffering husband, waiting for her in the Boston suburbs. Ellie finds London as much a refuge as a place of mourning; she's been unable to move past the birth of a stillborn child and feels the need to "borrow" Sophie. As she uncovers more of Lucy's life, Ellie finds her own spinning out of control, and soon she's forced to reassess even her deeply held certainties. Buxbaum skillfully handles this tale of grief and growing, resonant with realistic emotional stakes and hard-won wisdom.
Such an open and honest perspective
One of best books I've read recently. The writing reminds me of Elizabeth Berg's style and ability to describe emotions so you either recognize them or understand what the character is going through.
I especially liked the strength and personality of Sophie. It's nice to see an author give so much to a child in an adult book.
I will definitely seek out additional books by this author. Thank you for sharing your talent!
Don't expect any questions to be answered
It's rare that I review a book but felt it was necessary for After You. The book itself was wonderful with the individuals lives of the characters woven together flawlessly. It kept you racing to the next chapter to hear what happens to Ellie and Sophie. However, after all that racing to find out, the ending was thoroughly disappointing. It appeared as though the author was unsure of where to go with it and decided to just end it abruptly when it could have been taken in multiple directions. So many loose ends left and the reader left with so many questions.
This book was amazing, I read it in like a 1 week and fell in love with it. It's touching.