Atria Books, August 2011
Can I just start by saying how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lisa Jewell! I have read all but 2 of her previous books (most of them within a day!) and was extremely excited to get the opportunity to review her new book 'After the Party'. Again, she did not disappoint! This book is in fact a sequel to her very first book 'Ralph's Party' which was published way back in 1999 which focused on the residents of 31 Almanac Road, an apartment building in South London. More importantly it was the love story of Ralph McLeary and Jem Catterick.
'After the Party' revisits Ralph and Jem and tells us of all the trials and tribulations they have had to endure during their relationship. It is a very engaging story of a couple who seem to be going through their '7 year itch', although in this case they have now been together for 11. Chapter by chapter, the book goes back and forth between Ralph and Jems deepest and darkest feelings. Their intense love for one another is very apparent throughout the whole book, but they seem to have fallen into this big void where they don't seem to hear each other anymore. They seem to be trying to please each other in a way that they 'think' the other person wants rather than actually talking about it and being upfront as they once did. It's a story of them trying to regroup and to find their 'happily ever after' once again.
I seriously loved this book. I read it in a day and a half, I could not put it down! I love Lisa Jewell's style of writing, especially in this book. It's a very heartfelt (and often humorous) account of an issue which every relationship goes through at some point or another. What I liked most about this story is that you got to know both accounts, in depth. Normally I would end up rooting for one person in particular. I couldn't in this book! I found myself with a vested interest in their relationship. They are both such likable characters that you can't quite help rooting for both.
I would like to add that if you haven't had the chance to read Ralph's Party yet. don't worry! You don't actually have to read that one (Although I would highly recommend it!) to get the gist of this story. Lisa Jewell has an awesome way of recapping the history of the couple without leaving you wondering.
You can check out the books synopsis and buy a copy here!
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*Disclaimer - I was provided with a free copy of this book to review. This did not bias my opinion in any way. All opinions are mine and mine alone. I was not compensated for this post.