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There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there...

Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and rush. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.

Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who's still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

386 pages, Hardcover

First published June 9, 2011

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About the author

Rosamund Lupton

8 books1,877 followers

Thank you for visiting this bio. My books are not easy to slot into a particular genre, and you can usually be found under 'contemporary fiction', 'literary fiction', 'political thriller' and 'psychological thriller.' If you try one I hope you enjoy it.

From the publisher:

Three Hours was chosen by the Times as their thriller of the year. The Sunday Times called Three Hours 'a brilliant literary thriller...reminiscent of both Greek tragedy and Shakespeare’

Ruth Jones, author and actress, said 'It's gob-smackingly, heart-stoppingly, breath-holdingly brilliant.. the tension will blow your mind....'

Her debut novel, 'Sister' was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times best seller and the fastest selling debut in WHSmiths'history. Her next two books 'Afterwards' and 'The Quality of Silence' were also Sunday Times best sellers. Her novels have been translated into over thirty languages.

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5 stars
4,910 (26%)
4 stars
7,098 (38%)
3 stars
4,503 (24%)
2 stars
1,242 (6%)
1 star
491 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,980 reviews
Profile Image for Simon Lipson.
Author 6 books26 followers
December 16, 2011
As abysmal as Sister was readable. For a start, the protagonists are bloody angels or spirits or something, telling the story (too dull to precis here, but it's about who was responsible for burning a public school down - good riddance to it, I say) whilst their corporeal selves lie comatose in hospital having been injured in the blaze. I thought this madness would resolve itself in something satisfyingly realistic, but no, it appears Ms Lupton is happy for her 'spirits' to communicate with each other, follow the police around, go home, make the tea, do anything really, without apologising for her feeble conceit.

And then there's the teeth-grinding, middle-class smugness of it all. The protagonist's family are all incredible, clever, wonderful, generous, perfect; their saccharine-sweet love for each other deeper than the the deepest ocean, higher than the highest mountain. Yuck. And for a professional scriptwriter, Ms Lupton's dialogue is unforgivably dismal.

It gets worse. For reasons I have yet to fathom, Ms Lupton sees fit to italicise words, phrases, even whole sentences, lest we, her stupid readers, can't work out where to place the emphasis ourselves. More infuriatingly, most of the italicised words don't merit emphasising.

Sister good, Afterwards appalling. Second book blues. She's blown it with me.
Profile Image for Belinda.
1,331 reviews177 followers
January 12, 2019
5 stars -Dutch paperback - 🍀🍀🍀
Quote from the book : Arson, sombody on purpose set fire to te school .....🥀🥀🥀
Later is the second novel of Rosamund Lipton. It sucks you instantly into the story. A crime is committed and mother and daughter fighting for their lives. One has to let go of live and family. My throat was think, my tears rolling of my checks. Love to read another novel by her hand. 🌼🌼🌼
5 sterren - Nederlandse paperback - ☘️☘️☘️
Quote uit het boek: Het was brandstichting. Had ik zonder het te weten iets gezien? 🌷🌷🌷
Later is het tweede boek van Rosamund Lipton. Het verhaal zoog mij gelijk in de wereld van dit boek. Een misdaad begaan, een moeder en dochter vechtend voor hun leven. Een van de twee zal het leven en het gezin los moeten laten. En word de misdaad opgelost? De tranen gleden van mij wangen. Strot dicht geknepen. Wat een boek. Zou graag nog een boek van haar hand lezen. 🍁🍁🍁
Profile Image for Linda.
28 reviews
December 16, 2011
I'm afraid i was really disappointed with this, Sister was fantastic but this certainly wasn't. The mother-and-daughter-as-disembodied-spirits just didn't work for me, Grace talking to her hubby was really irritating and sometimes i wasn't even sure WHO she was meant to be addressing! There was far too much gushing sentimentality, very corny lines and why so much overuse of italics?? I didn't care about any of the characters either and all these things combined made this a bit of a slog. Maybe if it had been told from Sarah's (the police officer and sister-in-law of Grace)point of view it would have worked.

Hopefully her next novel will leave out the supernatural stuff and just concentrate on producing something as good as Sister.
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,694 reviews873 followers
July 7, 2015
Read This Review And More Like It On My Blog!

3.25 out of 5

Afterwards was a lot of things for me: frustrating, alienating, weird, intriguing, and eventually, quite moving. There's a lot of hype built around this newish author, largely due to the wild success and continued love for her first novel, Sister. With that in mind, I went into this sophomore effort with high hopes that were never quite met. There's a lot of potential in this novel about mothers and daughters, love, and independence but it never quiiiite reaches the heights it could. I want to clarify my 3.25 out of 5 up there - it's the result of knee-jerk reactions deep thinking. The first 300 pages were a solid, disappointing 2 out of 5 stars. An awkward and jarring style (second person POV, told with the present tense), a somewhat overly perfect main character, and a truly irritating overemphasis on italics on nearly every page (and I am an italics, bold and strikethrough addict) mar an intriguing and thoroughly gripping mystery. The final 100 pages of twists, turns, "Oh my god!" and "No way!"s do much to alleviate the various, now-previous problems I'd had and also made me happy I hadn't given up early on this one.

The second person POV rarely, rarely works for me as a reader. In fact the only time I have actually appreciated it as a storytelling medium were for the rare interludes during The Night Circus which used it sparingly. Here, with Grace narrating everyone's actions to/at them ("You do this, say this, want this" etc.), it's very cumbersome and unwieldy to read as a non-involved observer. By the time I grew inured to the strange and uncomfortable style used throughout Afterwards (and it took a while, trust me), I could start to appreciate the subtlety of the mystery that Lupton has created. It's both layered and nuanced in its inception and execution - truly the strongest element to the novel is the whodunit. This is not one of those thrillers where the culprit or culprits is/are transparent from the beginning - several cleverly manipulated red herrings lead the police investigation, and my theories, jumping from character to character. I have to applaud such deft narrative sleight-of-hand - I was curious from the start. Even when I was close enough to giving up, the question at the heart of Jenny's problems wouldn't let go of my imagination.

I wish I could appreciate the spectral-astral plane-ghost-spirit-whatever the main characters have going on. The fact that what's going on with the two main characters isn't really explained in depth was another misfire for me - it came off as gimmicky and rather calculated. Another disconnect was with the main character and narrator, the mother, Grac(i)e. She, her husband, her daughter and son were all too perfect to be entirely believable. And as the novel went on and revelation led to revelation, it becomes apparent that Grace doesn't really know anyone outside her family at all. Her love for her children was certainly compelling and believable, but her harsh judgement of sister-in-law Sarah further spoke to Grace's own shortcomings and didn't inspire any likeability. Sympathy is entirely another matter, because as a "spirit-whatever", her interactions with Jen do allow Grace a bit of growth and personal evolution even though it takes forever.

The story at the heart (heh) of Afterwards is definitely a good one - the mystery well crafted and thought out, but the style really does take a large adjustment. I'm obviously of two minds about this because there's much to love and a lot to lament. There are intense moments of brilliance book-ended by the awkward style and gimmicky status of the main character, but for all its faults, I ended up mostly enjoying Afterwards. It gave me emotional whiplash and I'll keep my eye out for what else this author does in the future.
Profile Image for Hannah.
95 reviews17 followers
October 10, 2015
This book was a good story, on the face of it, as long as you don't look too closely. Lupton is really good at getting across emotions, especially love, and the book is really touching as a result.

But as I said, you can't look too closely. Too many characters are under-developed and when you find out who the arsonist is you are supposed to just accept that she is a totally different person to the one originally portrayed, without any convincing explanation. This made me feel cheated.

I could deal with the "out of body" experience in itself, but there was no detail explaining why or how it was happening. Like: Why can't they see other spirits of comatose people? Why don't they even wonder about this? It is a hospital after all. How do they get inside cars? No one's holding the door open so do they pass through objects? If so why do they need to wait for lifts? Why does it hurt so much when they go outside?

On top of these things was the totally obvious lack of research which really infuriated me. So many things were just plain wrong in this novel, which would be apparent to anyone who can use Google.

For example:

1) The age of criminal responsibility is 10. Therefore an eight-year-old can't be cautioned for arson. The police talking about deciding not to press charges because Adam had "suffered enough" is just a nonsense. The school also "decides" not to press charges, which makes no sense.
2) A local newspaper hints than Mr Hyman pushed a kid out a window, and the same newspaper implies he started the fire at the school. He had nothing to do with either event and a local paper simply would not imply such things without getting sued for libel, they are incredibly cautious because they can't afford not to be. National tabloids may be more risque but not to this extent, it's total nonsense.
3) Tara is apparently a local reporter, but she also decides where things go in the newspaper, what the headlines are and deals with a police officer who comes to the office to ask questions. She is therefore also the paper's editor, sub-editor and news editor.

There are so many more things that continued to rile me throughout that just showed Lupton could not be bothered to look into what she was writing about. She decided instead to work off stereotypes of police officers, journalists, teenagers etc.

She has obvious talent as a writer but these factual errors kept punching me in the face throughout and it just wound me up that she didn't put a bit of effort into making the story at least seem authentic.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Luanne Ollivier.
1,648 reviews85 followers
April 26, 2012
I read Rosamund Lupton's debut novel 'Sister' last year. You may remember me raving about it - it was a fantastic read. I jumped at the chance to read her second novel - Afterwards. Another absolutely brilliant read - one I would highly, highly recommend!

I was hooked from the opening paragraph of the prologue.

"I couldn't move, not even a little finger or a flicker of an eye. I couldn't open my mouth to scream....Only one thing for it, I said to myself, thinking of you, and I slipped out of the wrecked ship of my body into the black ocean."

Grace Covey is volunteering at the outdoor sports day at her son Adam's private school. Her older child Jenny is working inside as the school nurse that day. When a fire breaks out, Grace races to find her children. Knowing Jenny is still trapped in the building, Grace runs into the burning building. She finds her, but the two of them are terribly injured. Cue prologue. Yes, Grace and Jenny are able to leave their ruined bodies. Now, anyone thinking this might be a mainly paranormal type of read is wrong.

Honestly, Afterwards is so many different reads. In the beginning I saw it strictly as a mystery. Grace and Jenny are able to follow along with the investigation into the fire - for it was arson. And Grace and Jenny cannot communicate with the 'outside' world. Piece by piece, along with the victims, we are able to cobble together what really happened that day. There is much more to this fire than meets the eye. Lupton employs many twists and turns and some red herrings along the way that kept me guessing at the identity of the 'culprit' until the last few chapters.

But, in addition to the mystery is the deeper story - that of a mother, daughter, son, husband and father. Grace's love for her children is achingly beautiful, powerful and so poignant. (Hint - have tissues ready for the last few chapters - I finished the book with tears in my eyes)

Lupton uses a second person point of view that takes a bit of getting used to in the beginning, but it works for this story. I can't see it being told in any other fashion. Once I finish writing a review, I head out on the net to see what others think. I was quite surprised to see there were mixed reviews on this book. For this reader, it was an absolutely addicting, stay up late read.

Profile Image for Lela.
375 reviews100 followers
April 17, 2014
What a strange concept. I rather like it as an idea to consider as possible. There was too much drama & repetition & the culprit was pretty obvious to me all the time. Some folks say they had trouble following the pronouns/characters but it seemed clear enough to me. Maybe you need a muddled mind to follow it! However, I turned the pages as fast as I could and I lost sleep (lots of sleep....all sleep) finishing it. Not really as good as her book, "Sister," but still a very good read!!
Profile Image for Cleopatra  Pullen.
1,352 reviews298 followers
August 14, 2013
Afterwards is not a conventional story being narrated by Grace a woman who has left her body in a hospital bed. Grace is in a coma but her supernatural self is on a mission to find out who started the fire which she and her beloved daughter Jenny were so terribly injured. Jenny has also left her badly burnt body in intensive care unit and together unseen by anyone else they set about piecing together the events that led up to the fire, on sports day at a prestigious private school.

This book has it all, the love Grace has for both her children, Jenny now 17 and Adam aged 8 is eloquently described; the thriller element, who lit the fire and why? the nature of love including that of her sister-in-law Sarah for her brother Mike who is desperately trying to look after, and remain optomistic, in the face of his wife and daughter's horrendous injuries.

I was extremely sceptical about the supernatural angle and this would normally put me off but it works so well for this story. This device enables us to eavesdrop on the police investigation as well as hear all the conversations Mike has, to witness his rage that he was unable to do more to protect his family.

I read Sister and thoroughly enjoyed it but Rosmary Lupton's second offering has come up with another offering which is even more moving. A beautiful book which I would recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 47 books142 followers
May 9, 2012
Warning: I shouldn't have read this. It's not my kind of novel and this is by no means an unpartial review.

I hugely disliked the central character and she is pretty much what this book is all about. What I found so objectionable was her outlook on life. It's summed up neatly in this extract in which she talks about how she felt when she first met her husband.

'In that prim little tea shop you told me that you were desperate to be away from the confines of university and out there doing 'stuff'. I didn't know anyone who used the word 'stuff'. I'd done a year of Art History and then a term of an English degree and had never once used the word. My friends were black-clothed, earnest arts students with a thesaurus for a vocabulary.

'I liked the word 'stuff'. And I liked it that you weren't pale with cheekbones studying Kant but were muscular and robust and wanted to be mountaineering and canoeing and white-water rafting and abseiling and bivouacking the world rather than reading and philosophising about it'
(End of quote)

So she's clever and she's arty, but she likes her men hunky and not too bright. Isn't that a bit odd? Perhaps that really is how lots of women are. I hope not. All I know is that she would hate me for my bookishness, not to mention my lack of enthusiasm for mountaineering, and that knowledge entirely alienates me from her character. Yet the whole drive of the book is about empathising with this character and the suffering she endures.

I can't empathise because nothing she says rings true to me. Take those 'black-clothed, earnest arts students with thesauruses for vocabularies' for example - what planet do they come from? I certainly never encountered anyone like them at university.

I also suspect that the author deliberately positioned this book as the story of a middle-class wife who is overtaken by tragedy, a tragedy she doesn't deserve. But the character is so very smug that I didn't feel any sense of unfairness.

I should admit that I didn't finish reading this book. Maybe the central character learns a lot and becomes a nicer person. I just wasn't able to get through enough of the story to find out. Consequently, this review is absolutely worthless except perhaps as an object lesson in how to irritate a certain kind of male reader.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,601 reviews84 followers
April 18, 2012
Rosamund Lupton

Speedy Summary...

A fire at a school leaves devastation in its aftermath...cause of the fire?  It is believed to be arson.

My Thoughts After Reading...

This book begins so sweetly and then suddenly there is smoke, a fire, and devastation.  Jenny and her mum and one other student are the seriously injured.  It was a bit confusing in the beginning...I have to say...because although Jenny and her mum were injured...they were having sort of out of body experiences watching what was happening to them.  I didn't like this approach until I became used to it and I knew what was happening  but it runs through most of the novel...Jenny and Gracie follow all the key players throughout the hospital.  They try to remember what happened and who might have caused the fire.  

The suspense builds and builds in Afterwards...the half truths and lies and secrets permeate the story.  Sarah...sister in law to Gracie is a police detective and slowly begins digging to find out what really happened...it is so engrossing and so maddening and so intriguing that I could not stop reading.  The twists and turns and surprises...just kept me reading far into the night...I had about a hundred pages left...probably the best part of the book.

This book touched me in many ways...it was beautifully written...precisely done...heartwarming and tragic and uplifting and sad.

It is not a book I will soon forget.
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books547 followers
August 29, 2017
This was a very involving book and it drew me in from the very start. On the surface, it seems like a very tragic but simple story, but Rosamund Lupton does a wonderful job moving beyond that. She tells the story through the voice of the mother in spirit form as she goes back and forth in time and memory to discover the truth and understand why what happened happened.
It is difficult to assign this book to a specific genre. It encompasses so many areas, and still really is a story about family. I suppose that shows how much potential for drama and high emotion there is when you love people.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for Rebecca.
188 reviews9 followers
October 9, 2012
I can't even finish this book. Sister was really good. This is awful. I skipped to the end to see what happens (something I've done many times) but the ends didn't seem to justify the turgid writing I would need to endure to get there. OK, it wasn't turgid, but just so difficult to read! A floating spirit wife talking to "you", her husband whilst trying to uncover a mystery that is just plain nasty? It was hard to maintain just who was being discussed at any time. It's left a bad taste in my mouth.

And I haven't finished. And I'm not going to.
Profile Image for Vaso.
1,094 reviews139 followers
March 27, 2016
It was the first book I 've read from the author and I liked it.
It starts as a mysterry-crime novel, but it turns out to so much more. There is enough drama and you also see what most of the characters in this book think about their family and what they do to help/protect them-even if it is morally wrong.

Perhaps, because being a mother, I think there will be nothing I wouldn't do to protect and keep my children safe and happy..
Profile Image for Len.
37 reviews
January 15, 2015
I've enjoyed this book. Another great literary work by Rosamund Lupton.

The POV is a wonderful idea coming from a person the other characters can't see. I don't want to include spoilers here. I loved Sister by Rosamund Lupton and this one is as impressive and as powerful as her first novel.
Profile Image for Cher.
800 reviews274 followers
March 26, 2016
2 stars - Meh. Just ok.

This book starts off with a fascinating premise - a mother and daughter that are close to death after a tragic accident, are both in bodiless spirit forms, are lucky enough to find one another in the hospital where they can communicate together. Sadly, that was the only fascinating thing about this novel, which is essentially a family dynamics drama with a mystery thrown in as a subplot.

Parenting, parenting, parenting. If you relish in exploring every literary context possible regarding parenting and the sacrifices one will make for their children with unconditional love, then this is the book for you. If that sounds disinteresting, then you will likely feel, as did I, that the plot is heavily bogged down by these numerous segments, making the story move along at a painfully slow pace. Even as a bodiless spirit, the mother only cares about her child and parenting duties. That is extremely commendable and respectable, but dreadfully dull to read about.

The writing at times was nice with a few highlights being made, but there were also character traits that were annoying. For example, the mother near the beginning is lamenting that she feels her young son is unprepared for the unfairness of life, but then immediately complains that each and every child did not win an award in a school ceremony. Cause, meet Effect.

Overall, this was 80% tedious family drama and 20% mystery, with an overlying feel of a sweet after school special that warms the cockles of your heart. That does not make it a bad novel, but it does make it one that is not appealing to my particular literary tastes.

Favorite Quote: Because words are the spoken oxygen between us; the air a marriage breathes.

First Sentence: I couldn't move, not even a little finger or a flicker of an eye.
Profile Image for Debbie "DJ".
350 reviews396 followers
May 5, 2014
This book just sucked me in from the first page. I would give it a 4.5 stars. There are just so many layers to this book. The central theme involves a fire started at a school, ruled arson, that leaves two critically injured. Those two turn out to be mother and daughter. The story focuses on this family and who could have wanted to burn down the school. As it turns out, while mother and daughter are near death they are able to leave their bodies and communicate with one another. They are also pivotal in the search for the arsonist as they are able to be near the suspects without being seen and thus catch vital conversations. What I was shown is the inner workings of this family, and those thought to be their friends. It's like getting to be the proverbial fly on the wall, to see the often shocking inner personal lives of those who outer shield is drawn so tightly. In the end though, it is a story about strength, courage, family, and the deepest of love which connects them all.
Profile Image for Mira Margitta.
335 reviews9 followers
July 31, 2017
Malo neobicna krim.prica.
Majka i kcerka su nastradale u pozaru,u skoli i obadvije su u komi,na aparatima.
Dok policija istrazuje slucaj,majka i kcerka su prisutne kao duhovi.
Prisluskuju razgovore,pokusavaju otkriti krivca za pozar,nastoje se prisjetiti svih detalja tog nesretnog dana,lutaju bolnickim hodnicima...
October 19, 2012
Αν κάτι λάτρεψα στην Rosamund Lupton, είναι η ικανότητά της να πλάθει αστυνομικές ιστορίες οι οποίες δεν μοιάζουν με καμία άλλη απ' όσες κατά καιρούς διαβάζουμε. Ο λόγος; Ότι σε πρώτο επίπεδο καταπιάνεται με το αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα, στήνοντας την πλοκή και την δράση της ιστορίας της πάνω σε αυτήν την φιλοσοφία, εμπλουτίζοντάς το σε δεύτερο επίπεδο με την δύναμη και την σημασία που έχουν οι βαθύτεροι, οικογενειακοί δεσμοί. Και αν στο "Στα Ίχνη Σου..." αξιοποίησε την ιδέα της αληθινής αδελφικής αγάπης, στο "Στις Στάχτες" βασίζεται σε έναν ακόμα πιο ισχυρό δεσμό, αυτόν μεταξύ μάνας και κόρης, χωρίς όμως να μένει αποκλειστικά σε αυτόν, περιλαμβάνοντας το σύνολο των προεκτάσεων των συναισθημάτων μέσα σε μια δεμένη οικογένεια και τις συνέπειες που μπορεί να είχε η κατάρρευση της εύθραυστης ευτυχίας της.

Κατά την διάρκεια των αθλητικών εκδηλώσεων ενός ιδιωτικού σχολείου, μια μεγάλη πυρκαγιά ξεσπά στο σχολικό κτίριο. Η Γκρέις, μια 39χρονη μητέρα ενός 8χρονου αγοριού, του Άνταμ, και μιας έφηβης κόρης, της Τζένι, μπαίνει μέσα στο φλεγόμενο κτίριο συνειδητοποιώντας πως η δεύτερη βρίσκεται ακόμα μέσα σε αυτό, πιθανόν παγιδευμένη, αδυνατώντας να βγει έξω. Η προσπάθειά της να σώσει την κόρη της αποδεικνύεται ανέλπιδη καθώς, μάνα και κόρη μεταφέρονται σοβαρά τραυματ��σμένες στο νοσοκομείο, με την πρώτη να βρίσκεται σε κώμα χωρίς να δείχνει ίχνη εγκεφαλικής λειτουργίας και η δεύτερη, φέροντας εγκαύματα αλλά και θανάσιμους τραυματισμούς στα εσωτερικά της όργανα, με την καρδιά της να απαιτεί μεταμόσχευση αν θέλει να κρατηθεί στη ζωή. Μάνα και κόρη, περιφέρονται ως πνεύματα στο νοσοκομείο παρακολουθώντας τους οικείους τους αλλά και την αστυνομική έρευνα που οδηγεί στο συμπέρασμα πως η φωτιά δεν ήταν αποτέλεσμα ατυχήματος αλλά εμπρησμού. Οι πιθανοί δράστες πολλοί, και η Τζένι ίσως να είναι η μοναδική που έχει την απάντηση στο τι έχει συμβεί πραγματικά χωρίς ωστόσο να μπορεί να ξεκλειδώσει στο μυαλό της την πόρτα που θα την οδηγήσει στα γεγονότα. Κάτι που πρέπει να κάνει σύντομα αν θέλουν να βρεθεί ο πραγματικός ένοχος κα�� η αλήθεια να βγει στο φως.

Το πιο έξυπνο στοιχείο στην αφήγηση της συγγραφέως δεν είναι το γεγονός ότι το πνεύμα της Γκρέις αφηγείται την ιστορία στον άντρα της, άσχετα από ότι δεν μπορεί να την ακούσει αλλά, το ότι καθώς τα γεγονότα που ακολουθούν το ατύχημα τρέχουν, με τα κομμάτια του παζλ να ενώνονται σταδιακά όσο οι λεπτομέρειες γύρω από την φύση της φωτιάς αποκαλύπτονται, εκείνη κάνει αναδρομές στην κοινή τους οικογενειακή πορεία, ανασύροντας από το βάθος του μυαλό τους αναμνήσεις, άλλοτε μικρές και άλλοτε μεγάλες, άλλοτε σημαντικές και άλλοτε όχι τόσο πολύ. Αυτό έχει ως αποτέλεσμα ακόμα και ο πιο μέσος αναγνώστης να δέχεται συναισθηματικά με τους ήρωες και να υιοθετεί την επιτακτική τους ανάγκη να βρεθεί ο ένοχος, σαν να πρόκειται για δικιά του υπόθεση. Φυσικά το γεγονός ότι τόσο η Γκρέις όσο και η Τζένι ζουν μια εξωσωματική εμπειρία δεν μπορεί να περάσει απαρατήρητο, πηγαίνοντας την ιστορία ένα βήμα παραπέρα, ακροβατώντας ανάμεσα στο ρεαλιστικό και το μεταφυσικό με έναν τρόπο που κανείς μας δεν μπορεί να αποδείξει αν ισχύει ή όχι αλλά που την ίδια στιγμή, ελπίζουμε και ευχόμαστε.

Όπως ίσως αντιλαμβάνεστε διαβάζοντας όλα τα παραπάνω, η αστυνομική πλοκή μπαίνει σε δεύτερη μοίρα, με τους δεσμούς της οικογένειας να έχουν πρωταρχικό ρόλο, παρ' όλα ταύτα, είναι πάντα εκεί. Με σταθερό ρυθμό, έρχονται στο φως στοιχεία που οδηγούν σταδιακά στην αποκάλυψη της αλήθειας, όχι μόνο όσον αφορά την υπόθεση του εμπρησμού που έχει οδηγήσει ένα μόλις βήμα πριν τον θάνατο δύο ανθρώπους αλλά, και άλλως υποθέσεων που με τον έναν ή τον άλλον τρόπο, αποδεικνύεται πως σχετίζονται μεταξύ τους αλλά και με την καλά κρυμμένη αλήθεια πίσω από το πρόσωπο κάθε ευτυχισμένης και υποθετικά πάντα, χωρίς προβλήματα οικογένειας. Οι ισορροπίες είναι εξαιρετικά λεπτές θυμίζοντάς μας πως, ότι λάμπει δεν είναι χρυσός και πως πίσω από τα πιο μικρά πράγματα, μπορεί να βρίσκονται καλά κρυμμένες οι μεγαλύτερες και οι πιο τρομακτικές αλήθειες που περιμένουν να γίνει εκείνο, το ανεπαίσθητο λάθος που μπορεί να γκρεμίσει κάθε τείχος προστασίας, όσο καλά χτισμένο κι αν είναι.

Η γραφή της Rosamund Lupton είναι απλά συγκλονιστική, για ακόμα μια φορά, αποδεικνύοντας περίτρανα πως ακόμα και το πιο κλισέ λογοτεχνικό είδος μπορεί να γίνει ξεχωριστό και ανατρεπτικό, απλά και μόνο κάνοντάς το δικό μας. Μια αστυνομική ιστορία με δράση, μυστήριο και ανατροπές, που οδηγεί σε μια συγκλονιστική ανακάλυψη, όχι μόνο για τον εμπρησμό και τα θύματά του αλλά, και για την ενδοοικογενειακή βία που μπορεί να γίνει πολύ πιο περίπλοκη απ' όσο ίσως πιστεύουμε. Και πάνω απ' όλα, η ιστορία μιας ευτυχισμένης οικογένειας που βρίσκεται εν μέσω του κυκλώνα μιας τραγωδίας, χωρίς ωστόσο να καταφεύγει σε φτηνούς μεγαλοδραματισμούς, τονίζοντας πως η δύναμη της αγάπης μέσα στην οικογένεια, πολύ περισσότερο της μητρικής απέναντι στα παιδιά της, είναι ότι πιο όμορφο, δυνατό, ειλικρινές και ανιδιοτελές μπορεί να υπάρξει και πως ότι κι αν συμβεί, δεν σβήνει, δεν χάνεται. Είναι πάντα εκεί, ακόμα και ως θύμηση, ως σκέψη, ως φάντασμα για να κρατάει ζωντανά τα αρώματα και τα χρώματα, τις μνήμες και τα αγγίγματα, προστατεύοντάς την με όποιο κόστος που ποτέ δεν είναι μεγάλο, ποτέ δεν είναι αρκετό.
Profile Image for Kris Irvin.
1,358 reviews51 followers
December 13, 2012
Holy. Crap.

This book just skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. Have I ever read a book so intense and moving as Afterwards? No. No I have not. I kid you not my friends, this book - the last page, I cried. I have never actually sobbed during a book before. This one killed me. It broke my heart.

And it was a beautiful agony.

Now for the bad parts - it's very, very British, which I happen to adore, but I know some Americans can't translate to our cousins across the Pond. If you don't have a faint idea of how the British educational system works, you may be confused and alienated from parts of the story.

Also, the way the story is told is somewhat offputting. I grew to love it, but basically it's a woman having an out-of-body-experience "speaking" to her husband (who can't hear her, because he's alive and she's in-between.) I got confused several times because the narrator will switch from describing her memories of the Event, or from following the police around, to talking to her husband. And it was like "who is you? Oh right, that guy she married."

But holy crap. I couldn't read this one fast. I had to take it slow and it was so FRUSTRATING. And awesome.

And seriously that ending THAT. ENDING. I JUST. I CAN'T.

Rosamund Lupton, I would like to be your new best friend, but your awesomeness intimidates me. Perhaps our boys could have playdates together. Have you ever considered moving to Utah? Because you should. At least until I can move to London, which I've been trying to do for the last 7 years. Sheesh.

READ THIS BOOK. And if you hate it, I'm sorry, but you may have misplaced your soul. That's okay. We're all a little soulless sometimes.
Profile Image for Sue Gerhardt Griffiths.
758 reviews35 followers
September 29, 2019
At first I was like ‘what the feck is this,’ I could barely make sense of the supernatural element or who Grace was speaking to…I could so easily have given up on this book as it took at least 150 pages for me to grasp as the second person narration can be challenging to follow but I just adore Rosamund Lupton’s novels and thought I’d give it a good go before abandoning the book. I am so so happy I persevered as it turned out to be one amazing, incredible, thrilling, suspenseful mystery thriller.

For anyone reading this book and thinking of quitting, keep going people as it really is worth reading. You’ll get the hang of the writing structure and who Grace is addressing, sit back, read it slowly and just let it seep into your soul, it truly is a beautiful and powerful story.

*Book #27/72 of my coffee table to-read pile challenge
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,025 reviews2,626 followers
August 17, 2011
Grace Covey is at Adam, her 8 year old son's school for their sports day. Jenny, her 17 year old daughter, is inside, operating as the medical officer for the day. Everyone is having fun, it is hot, when suddenly the fire alarm goes off. The school is on fire, high up, smoke coming from the widely opened windows. Grace races toward the school, then sees Adam outside, being cared for by the daughter of a friend. But Jenny is still inside. She runs flat-out toward the building, then inside and up the stairs, all the while screaming Jenny's name. It's so hot, she can't breathe, she drops to the floor, and crawls. Suddenly she feels Jenny, and starts dragging her down the stairs. But then, part of the building collapses on them both, pinning them down...

Afterwards, when Grace becomes aware of things again, she's in the hospital, tubes everywhere, but she's in a coma. She hears her husband Mike, and his sister Sarah, who is a police officer, talking. Sarah has discovered that it was arson, and it appears Jenny was the target. Grace must find the identity of the arsonist, and protect her children at all costs.

The incredible nature of this story, the emotional impact of the characters, the clues and innuendos as we work toward a conclusion, make this story a very touching, but gripping one, and shows the enduring love between a husband and wife, and parents and their children.

I loved this story, and had a hard time putting it down....I would highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Amanda.
72 reviews21 followers
August 5, 2017
I am so glad Rosamund Lipton became a novelist. I absolutely loved her first book 'Sister' and loved her second one, 'Afterwards' just as much. She touches so well on the depth of relationships and love, in this instance, mainly a mother and her daughter, but the complexity goes so much further. Her novels are powerful and unique and I can't wait to read her next one. She has become one of my favourite authors and I would highly recommend her novels to anyone.
Profile Image for Νικολέττα .
273 reviews5 followers
June 8, 2022
Από τα πιο πρωτότυπα αστυνομικά βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει, εξαιρετική σύλληψη της ιδέας για την πλοκή του. Με ενθουσίασε, με κράτησε και μου άρεσε ο τρόπος που αποτυπώνεται το συνειρμικό ταξίδι του νου.
Δεν βάζω 5 αστέρια γιατί σε ορισμένα σημεία κάνει κοιλιά επαναλαμβάνοντας τα ίδια στοιχεία της έρευνας.
Profile Image for Lisa.
9 reviews
April 20, 2012
Just finished this book, had enjoyed Sister so though i would try this. Its quite strange at times but actually i did enjoy it a lot. I literally could not put this book down, just had to know what happened next.
Profile Image for Julie.
361 reviews1 follower
August 2, 2021
Fluctuated between a 2.5 and a 3 star read.

Certainly came from a very different angle and I haven't read anything similar before.
This, as the last RL that I read, was very 'over the top'.
I expect that if you enjoy anything 'spiritual', you might enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,614 reviews164 followers
April 21, 2012
I don't know how to discuss Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton, because it defies categorization.

On the one hand, and at its most basic, it is a mystery. Grace runs into a burning school building to rescue her daughter Jenny, who is trapped inside. As Grace and Jenny recover from their wounds, Grace learns that the fire was arson, and she sets out to discover who is to blame.

But this book is so much more.

It is the story of parents. Grace and her husband, Michael, have 17-year-old Jenny and 8-year-old Adam. In fact, the day of the fire also happens to be Adam's birthday. They do not always agree on parenting their children; Michael, a traveling television journalist, distrusts Adam's beloved teacher, while Grace wishes Michael distrusted Jenny's boyfriend a little more. But we know they love each other. Theirs is not a marriage that is in trouble, yet it is a marriage. It has its skips and bumps.

Afterwards is also the story of a mother and a daughter. As Grace delves deeper into the mystery surrounding the fire, she both grows closer to and realizes the distance between Jenny and herself. She is unhappy with Jenny's apparent lack of academic discipline, and she thinks Jenny is in too deep with her boyfriend. She also struggles with jealousy of her sister-in-law, Sarah, a policewoman with whom Jenny shares confidences. Grace exhibits typical parental insecurity in that regard.

This is the story of a family. Grace feels inferior to Sarah, and she feels judged by her. Yet she comes to discover a different side to her sister-in-law, as she watches Sarah both investigate the fire and comfort her brother, Michael, as he tries to manage his daughter's and wife's injuries. Grace desperately tries to help Sarah, especially when Grace fears that Jenny's life is in danger.

A figure is hurrying along the burns unit corridor. For some reason, I think of the shadowy figure on the edge of the playing field.

He's going towards Jenny's side ward.

He goes in, and through the half-open doorway I see his shape bending over her.

I scream, making no sound.

I can see a nurse walking towards Jenny's room. Her sneakers squeaking on the linoleum alert the figure to her presence as he slips away.

Grace feels powerless to help her daughter, and she must rely on Sarah to help her find the arsonist.

And this is also the story of friendship. Grace's friend, Maisie, has a daughter Jenny's age who also was in the fire. Rowena is not as injured as Jenny, but Grace knows Maisie is worried about her, nonetheless. But the further Grace moves through the investigation, the more she learns about Maisie, her daughter, and even Maisie's husband. Grace begins to wonder just how much she knows about her purported best friend.

Afterwards will make you think. You will get caught up in the mystery as Grace and Sarah pursue all of the angles. Who set fire to the school? Why? Is Adam's favorite teacher evil or misunderstood. And what about Maisie's husband? Then there is Adam himself. Did he play a role? But it is more than that. You will find yourself examining your own relationships with your children and friends. How much do we really know about our families and loved ones?

This is a completely absorbing book, and I enjoyed every word. I admit that I feel for a bad red herring, and I didn't see the arsonist coming. I did have some suspicions about the mastermind, though, but even then, I can't say I really thought that person was guilty.

Rosamund Lupton is to be commended for writing this novel, because it is so richly complex and fulfilling. But beware: you will not be able to put it down once you start, so choose your time wisely.
Profile Image for vivya.
42 reviews3 followers
January 24, 2023
This book was beautiful. I wasn't prepared for the sadness it comes with, but it was at the same time full with hope and love, described in an amazing way. It's full of suspense and the mystery is brilliant, so many twists!!! I'd definitely read something else from the author. There were moments I couldn't stop reading, just one more chapter. ❤
Profile Image for Nikki.
69 reviews1 follower
January 16, 2013
I am seriously loving this author at the moment! I really enjoyed Sister; such a captivating tale of two sisters love. As a girl who only has one sister I found the whole story incredibly moving and what an amazingly shocking ending.
Now Lupton has released her second novel Afterwards and it's another heart wrenching story! This time focused around a mother's love and the million different emotions that includes. Somehow through this storyline she has woven a crime novel into it as well, with twists and red herrings enough to make me want to skip to the end just to find out if my theories were correct. The rest of the time I spent on the verge of tears in this heart breaking novel of family.
Looking forward to her next novel now - it cannot come soon enough!
Profile Image for Georgia.
36 reviews
June 17, 2017
Πρωτότυπο όσον αφορά την αφήγηση αλλά και την ταυτότητα των αφηγητών. Αν και αστυνομικό, δεν εμοιαζε καθόλου με όσα αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα έχω διαβάσει μέχρι τώρα. Καθόλου προβλέψιμο• τα δεδομένα ανατρέπονταν μέχρι την τελευταία στιγμή. Συνκινητικό.

"Είμαι ένα φως λεπτό σαν αχτίδα και κοφτερό σαν διαμάντι, που μπορεί να γλιστρήσει μέσα από χαραμάδες στον κόσμο που ξέρουμε. Θα έρχομαι στα όνειρά σου και θα σου ψιθυρίζω λόγια γλυκά όταν θα με σκέφτεσαι.
Μπορεί να μην υπάρχει το <<έζησαν αυτοί καλά κι εμείς καλύτερα>>, αλλά υπάρχει ένα επέκεινα.
Αυτό δεν είναι το τέλος μας. " (σελ. 571)
Profile Image for Sax.
15 reviews
April 21, 2017
Divna priča, neobična i emotivna, preporučujem!
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