Maybe comfort wasn’t to be found in the why.
Maybe comfort was to be found in the who.
A God who wept.”
I usually have several different factors that tell me a book is a good one: I find myself thinking about what the characters are doing in between reading sessions; I wonder what happens to the characters after I finish the book; and how many tissues I go through while reading the book. Well, “Life After” by Katie Ganshert hits all these qualifications and more for an excellent book.
“Life After” is an amazing story of grief, loss, forgiveness and survival.
Autumn Manning is the sole survivor of a bombing of Chicago’s El Train. A year later, the city is set to memorialize the victims while Autumn continues to struggle with her obsession — she’s obsessed with the “why” of her survival, and she’s obsessed with each of the 22 victims.
After a series of unexpected experiences, Autumn is repeatedly drawn together with one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, and his children Reese and Tate. They don’t initially realize it, but coming together will eventually lead them all toward a path of healing — and possibly a romance.
Ganshert offers not only a great storyline but great characters — deeply real and flawed, and therefore relatable. She shows imperfect people with real struggles. But she also offers so many awesome gems. “Life After” is a story of the “why.” It is a tale of overcoming helplessness; dealing with secrets, guilt and grief; learning to let go; finding the light in the darkness; forgiveness; and rising from the ashes.
As Autumn’s grandmother said after Sept. 11 happened: “Bad things happen all the time, all over the world. And we believe in God’s goodness. We believe He is good. We say He is good. Until the bad things turn personal. That’s when we start to question.”
“Life After” also teaches us some incredible lessons about God — knowing that circumstances don’t dictate who God is; God is a good Father, full of mercy, patience, love and grace; and “When all seems lost, our God is a God who can accomplish the impossible.” It reminds us that when we are in our deepest depths of despair, the Bible tells us Jesus wept too, and what a comforting thought that can be.
Ganshert reminds us that we can survive any situation, we just need to turn to God — and that God always has a plan for us. “Life is hard, and almost always confusing. But one day we’ll see clearly. One day it’ll all make sense.”
“Life After” will leave you pondering your response to hardship and trials, but offers a glimmer of hope in those darkest of circumstances. It was truly a lovely story.
Five stars out of five.
WaterBrook provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.