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.
What I Loved: Wow! Just wow! What I’d like to do is just remain in my awestruck stupor and tell you that this book is more than worth your time, but I’ll put forth some effort and try to explain to you why this was such a memorable hit for me.
The characters! There was such raw emotion radiating off of the characters. It’s the type of depth that you rarely find in fiction. From the very beginning, Ganshert draws you in with her narrative prologue, and she never lets you go.
If I’m forced to be super picky, I would point out that there were some basics about Autumn that weren’t clear until the end of chapter one or some point of chapter two. I remember thinking that it felt a little late to learn these things about a main character. But even this doesn’t really hurt the book so much. I mention it only for those who might start it and scratch their head a bit. If you feel a tad confused in the beginning, I recommend that you keep going, it really does level out rather quickly from there.
But back to the praises, I felt like I walked away with a deeper understanding of the type of lingering trauma that victims suffer through. Autumn was the lone survivor of a tragic attack, and yet in many ways, she stopped living that day too. Ganshert really forces the reader to notice things they may not have before and sympathize with someone in ways they may not have considered necessary before reading this book.
And throughout it all, she wove a beautiful message about trusting God when you can’t see His hand anymore. It was a blessing to watch each of these characters struggle with their faith and watch their healing take place.
I think she stayed true to reality. This wasn’t a story with a quick fix. But real, deep, emotional struggles. It was a battle of the heart and the mind, and I loved every minute of it.
Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and give it 5 stars.
~I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.