Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published by: Bantam Books (Aug 2010)
Pages: 409 (Paperback)
My Rating: 8.5/10
AFTER YOU BY JULIE BUXBAUM
Ellie, an American, goes to London to look after her best friend Lucy's daughter, Sophie who is 8, leaving behind her husband, Phillip, in Boston. Lucy has been tragically murdered and her husband, Greg, and Sophie (who has stopped talking) are devastated.
While Ellie and Sophie grow closer, Ellie and Phillip gradually grow apart. She tells Phillip that she's staying indefinitely, she believes she's doing the right thing looking after Sophie and they both find comfort in reading Ellie's favourite childhood book 'The Secret Garden'.
Ellie tries to come to terms with her best friend's death, while discovering that Lucy had secrets that she hadn't told her, even though they talked and emailed each other all the time.
I no longer wonder what I am doing here. My mission has been clarified. Sophie needs me. Greg needs me. And, though I hate to admit it, right now, with Lucy gone, I need them too. They are the closest things I have to a purpose. They understand, they appreciate, what has been lost.
Ellie is the voice in the story and I really felt like I had got to know her by the end of the book. Not only was she living miles away from her home, she was mourning and missing her friend, she had to be a mother to Sophie, while her marriage was falling apart with Greg threatening to leave her, also her parents were getting re-married after being separated, she had all these life-changing situations to deal with. I admired her strength of character in coping with everything.
The writing was smooth, the characters were well-defined and I thought overall it was a really good summer read.
For more on the author, Julie Buxbaum, click here
My thanks to Transworld Publishers for sending me this book as part of the Transworld Dan Brown Summer Reading Challenge - details of which can be found here
This is the 2nd book in my challenge - the 1st book was If I Stay by Gayle Forman