Wednesday, January 23, 2013

After You by Julie Buxbaum

Ellie's best friend, Lucy is dead. Worse, her murder was witnessed by Lucy's young daughter, Sophie. Ellie drops everything to fly across the ocean and help console Lucy's family in England.

Sophie is scarred by the image of seeing her mother killed and stops speaking. Lucy's husband is a wreck. Greg can't focus on eight-year-old Sophie; he can't deal with the grief of losing his wife. He retreats into his work and assuages himself with alcohol.

With things so out of balance, Ellie can't fathom leaving the two of them alone and flying back home, even though her husband has told her that the time has come. As she tries to balance holding another family and her own marriage together, Ellie starts to learn things about Lucy's life that she couldn't have imagined. They were best friends, and yet maybe Ellie didn't know Lucy as well as she thought.

Though it was sad and at times difficult to read, I really enjoyed After You. The writing is simple to follow and the plot moves quickly. True, it was a little predictable at times, but sometimes it's nice to have a book just go where you want it to.

I loved Ellie. I thought she was such a sweet character. I struggled with how to view her husband's opinions and couldn't get past what I felt was just selfishness on his part. I love that she stuck to her guns and she did what she felt needed to be done. She cared for Sophie as if she were her own daughter and she dealt firmly with Greg's abandonment without being overly callous.

This book just read so easily and just felt like it worked so well. I was a little disappointed in the ending, but Erin has pointed out to me that I tend to judge endings more harshly than she does. I say phooey. I will however admit that it did cause me to drop my rating. After You by Julie Buxbaum receives 4 out of 5 stars.


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