Friday, June 2, 2017

Life After – Katie Ganshert

©2017  Waterbrook Press, New York

Life happens. That is the thread running through this fast-paced romance by Christy Award-Winning Katie Ganshert. I can attest to the fact that life happens as I sit down to write this review (three months late). May I whine just a bit? I started reading the book and was well on my way to finishing it when I slipped on the ice and broke my dominant wrist. So much for typing up the review when I finished reading the book. Then, as does for all ministry types like me, life happened some more. Things got busy at church, things got busy with the busy family, and then a major funeral happened. And so, here I am, three months later, and I have a little more thought into the book than I normally do. (Excuses over, now on to the review.)

 Not being familiar with Ganshert’s work, and desirous to see how my review would turn out, I checked out a copy of an Amish Christmas romance that was written with the contribution of Ganshert and others (Amish Christmas North Star, WaterBrook, 2015). What I found there (in Katie’s story from the book) was a moving story with well-developed, likable characters to push the story along. Consequently, I began to look forward with a little less trepidation to examining the latest book from this author unknown to me, in a genre normally not read by me.

Set in Chicago, the story starts off with a BANG when, well, life happens. On an icy, snowy day, a commuter train derails destroying lives and homes all over the city. Only one passenger survived. The book follows her story, as Autumn Manning comes to grips with her role in the “Tragedy on the Tracks” as the event is labeled in the media. While all her friends and family are trying to figure out why she is not happy, does not feel fortunate, that she didn’t die in the accident, Autumn is filled with regret, remorse, and guilt spurred on by the continually lingering question Why? All the while struggling with a lingering amnesia that her doctors and psychiatrists are hoping to help her move past.

In ensuing pages, Autumn finds her life entangled with the lives of the families of those who died in the tragedy, including Paul Elliot and his daughters. Originally thinking that his wife is the lone survivor, Elliot arrives at the hospital to find a stranger in his wife’s bed.

Ganshert develops the main characters well, but some of the supporting parts are played by people we just don’t want to like, even when we want to like them. Perhaps it is the role they play (Autumn’s former boyfriend who shows back up to help with a memorial that Autumn finds herself not only entangled in but in charge of, for instance—you’ll need to read the book to get the whole story, otherwise I’d have to spoiler alert you).

The story has everything that a romance reader is looking for: likable characters, plot twists, semi-steamy love scenes, emotional conflict, and perfect resolution (the right guy gets the right girl and all is well in the end). For someone who rarely reads romances, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll give Life After 4 out of 5 reading glasses.
—Benjamin Potter August 31, 2012

[Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.]

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