After the Fall is a truly beautiful, marvelous, contemporary book!
I was truly impressed by this book. Women’s fiction and contemporary novels don’t normally blow my socks off: I typically read them for a bit of escape from my normal dramas. And then Julie Cohen walks into my life, metaphorically presenting me this book on a silver platter and crushes the stereotype.
After the Fall, the name itself, is a play on words for many parts of this novel (it’s rather smart, but I can’t tell you the true meaning… you’ll have to read and make it to the ending to find out!). What I can tell you, is after Dr. Honor’s fall in her house, the older woman must move in with her former daughter-in-law and her family to heal. This move will be a major change and cause some dominoes to fall within the household. Jo, Honor’s former daughter-in-law and widow of Honor’s son, is reeling after a divorce and trying to figure out how to be a single mother. Lydia, Honor’s granddaughter and Jo’s daughter, is dealing with some personal turmoil on how to be herself. The secrets these women hide are going to rock the boat, like in any good dramatic novel.
At first, I didn’t enjoy Honor as much. She seemed very stubborn and I didn’t understand why. Then, like any great literary creator, Julie slowly released information about everyone and their situations. It’s a slow build, but eventually you have empathy and feel for these characters. It was rather smart, because I could honestly see my opinion changing throughout the novel. The more information that was released, the more you understood the story. I truly appreciated how Julie did this – it really packed a punch and made the story more enjoyable for me. It was like unwinding a mystery, but in a women’s fiction novel.
Jo was a very empathetic character, but I felt like she was doing her own “falling” throughout this book. This woman is so cheerful and does her best, but she clearly has made not the wisest of decisions at some points of her life. She is truly trying her best and just wants to live her best life – so she’s pretty much the ideal woman character in a book. Jo is not flawless and she has her faults, but she’s trying. I can see many people relating to her, even if they can’t relate to her situation. Her second (now ex) husband running off with the au pair they hired to help with their daughter? BRUTAL.
Lydia is reeling over being herself. She has fallen for her best friend and is trying to process these feelings and what to do with them. To top it off, like most high-schoolers she’s also dealing with personal issues and exams to get into some prestigious post-secondary school. All of this can be quite difficult for youth, and man was it hard for Lydia. She’s a moody teenager from the point of view of her Mother’s chapters, but when you read hers you can see why she acts out and understand her behaviour. I LOVE books that show the actual side of why people behaviour the way they do. It really hits home well for me.
There’s also some great one liners in this book, my favourite being about an unsolicited dick pic. The comedy just hits the right way and had me giggling.
I can easily say this is one of my favourite reads for the year. It’s impressing and has some truly important themes (and I love themes!!). Some of the plot points are predictable, but that didn’t effect my read at all. I truly was glued to this book and binged it in a day. It’s absolutely delightful and Julie Cohen deserves many high fives. I hope I get the opportunity to pick her books up in the future, because WOW. Just WOW!
Overall, this book is a gem. I’d highly recommend it for fiction lovers, women’s fiction bingers, if you’re looking for something with some deeper messages but still a light read, or if you want something contemporary. This book doesn’t require major “mind power”, it’s a very easy read with some simple yet beautiful themes. Brava!
Five out of five stars.
In addition to all of this, the cover is stunning. It’s one of my favourite covers I’ve seen lately, but I’m a sucker for flowers.
I received a free advanced reviewers copy from Goodreads First Reads.
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