by Jojo Moyes
After You is the SEQUEL to the wildly successful and best-selling masterpiece that is Me Before You. Under no circumstances can this book be read until you have read that book. Quite frankly, if you haven’t read Me Before You, you have missed out on a book that will stay with you forever. It is in my top 3 books of all time. Yes it is that good! So, do yourself a favour, stop wasting time reading this review and go and read it… I will see you on the other side when you are ready to continue the journey.
It’s nearly 2 years since Lou lost Will. Life goes on around her, but following her travels in Paris searching for the life that Will opened her eyes to, she now finds herself living in an empty flat, in not the nicest part of London, and working at an Irish bar at an airport. Yeah things didn't quite turn out how she had hoped. She feels lost, she misses Will, but worst of all she feels like a failure. The life that Will wanted for her has turned into a disaster and the guilt she feels at letting him and his memory down makes it even harder to move forward.
This is Lou’s story as she navigates her way out of her grief, trying to fill the hole left in her soul when Will decided to end his life. Once again she finds a way to deflect her own problems with other peoples. Still living in the shadow of Will’s decisions and the effect they continue to have on her and those who were closest to him.
Will she be able to move forward and find a life that makes her happy? And will she finally start putting herself first?
I have looked forward to this book for months and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. Once again Jojo Moyes has excelled in her story-telling. What could have been a depressing story is in fact an enjoyable and meaningful journey, peppered with quirk and humour, and of course with the realism that we experienced in the original story. There is an underlying poignancy that remains from both the love and the loss she feels for a man that changed her life, as well as the anxiety she suffers trying to fulfil the dying wish Will had for her and her life. He became that pivotal person in her life and she is lost and still misses him desperately.
Of course, the Clark family are back in all their dysfunctional glory, as are the Traynors. But this book focuses on new relationships that will link her both to the past and the future. It is equally as heartbreaking as it is funny. The balance for me was just right. I loved knowing where life had taken Lou and it really did make for a brilliant read.
So why not 5 Crowns?
Simple… Me Before You was perfection for me. It was in a class of its own. I loved After You, but for me it wasn’t quite as special as its predecessor. I think I may have missed Will myself. Have I put that book on a pedestal? Maybe. But we all have that one book that we feel in every part of our being. Me Before You was that book for me. However, that being said, reading After You was like getting back in to a comfy bed, snuggling into my duvet with my kindle and revisiting friends that I have never been able to forget. It was a welcome snapshot into the life of a selfless girl who fell in love with a man that loved her, but not enough to live his life imprisoned within his own body. It is about how his choices continue to have repercussions long after he made them, especially for those left behind. But life indeed goes on, and I have high hopes for Louisa after finishing this book, I think she has finally found her groove.
If you haven’t read either of these books… READ THEM!! They are special, they are written with clarity, heart and reality. But above all of that they will blow you away!!
Emma - 4.5 Crowns
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.