Katie Ganshert is that author that gets a reader excited. I was thrilled to be receiving her newest release, Life After. I invite you to take a peek at all of my reviews of Katie's penned gems.
A Broken Kind of Beautiful, Wild Flowers from Winter, Wishing on Willows, and The Art of Losing Yourself, are all wonderful creations penned by this gifted writer (check out my reviews).
I may be all alone here in my review, but this wasn't my favorite. This was a difficult read. There was a great deal of anger, resentment, and blame. Now, with saying that, I understand why there was so much anger. A crazy man set off a bomb and families were destroyed as their loved ones were killed.
There is one survivor of this day, but she didn't go unharmed. In fact, she carries within her soul scars of this day. Some she remembers, but much she cannot. She blames herself for surviving. Autumn Manning is a woman burdened with a great deal of emotion she has yet to understand. We journey with her as she wants to be normal but is so far from it. Everyone tells her to move on, but to her that thought seems ridiculous in the midst of all the questions she has erupting in every thought.
There is a family who intertwines in Autumn's healing. See, they too are hurting. A husband lost his wife on this day and a daughter and son lost their mother. Their story, their secrets uncover as truth surfaces. The husband is a therapist who feels as though his life is an altered illusion. His daughter reaches out to Autumn. She begins writing secretly to her. This is where the story really takes off.
The title is Life After, but really it is so much more about life before. Yes, how to live after such a tragedy, but this brings these characters to ponder even more deeply their life before this day. Their lives are changed forever and making sense of that takes on the last part of this novel.
These characters are in a whirlwind of wounds of lose, but also of healing that we see come in small wonders. We see God move in this mess and bring these characters together. They never imagined meeting. We see that God is in the unexpected and once we allow Him room wonders of mercy and grace overflow.
Reese Elliott is the standout character of this novel. Oh, the heart of a little girl only wanting to remember good and not wanting to make the reality of what was her truth for now. I love the heart of this child. Through her the other characters learn much about themselves.
It is categorized as romance, but I didn't grasp a lot of romance. By the end of the novel the characters were just starting to know one another beyond that tragic day and all the emotion that they had lived with since. The relationship that stands out is between Autumn and Reese. As the story comes to an end the characters are just then coming to life out a darkness that has surrounded them. I guess for me I just needed more.
With that said, I am still a huge Katie Ganshert fan. You may pick up this novel and find that it is just what your heart needs. It may be that novel that I can go back and read later and find a nugget of sweetness I had yet to uncover in my reading. I will be excited to see where the pen takes Ganshert next!
Happy reading 📕
This novel was a gift from Waterbrook Multnomah for sharing my review with you.
Katie Ganshert is the author of several books and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family.