Saturday, April 1, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert

My thoughts: Reading Life After is like taking a peek into the souls, hearts, minds, and lives of people. People who have been through a massive life changing event that shatters them to their very core. It is being enveloped in the emotions and heart wrenching hurt that they experience minute by minute and day by day.

Being the sole survivor of a horrific bomb blast in the city's train, Autumn feels and experiences the "why me" feelings of survivor guilt. And then there are those she is now learning to know, people who are now in her circle of acquantaince experiencing daily life who lost their loved ones in the same train explosion.

As the story unfolds new friendly relationships bloom and coping mechanisms begin to fall in place. However, the story is not just about people coming to terms and accepting what has happened to those lost in the bombing, it is about the difficulties they face in living their lives with their own personal shortcomings and interacting with family and friends.

Katie Ganshert's writing style is fresh and compelling. This is not a book to skim through. Even though it is a work of fiction, there is a wealth of wisdom and insight to be gleaned from the reading of this story.

About the book: Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

Quotes to ponder from Life After:

  • "We worship a God who might not give us the miracle, but He will always give us the comfort."
  • “I guess that’s what life is...a whole bunch of little moments that don’t seem significant or life-altering at the time, but when you look back...they become the most profoundly beautiful things.”
  • "I'm not the most religious man. But I do believe in God. And the last I checked, He's the one in charge."
  • “Maybe comfort wasn't to be found in the why. Maybe comfort was to be found in the who. A God who wept."
  • "You know what I've learned about God?" ... "Circumstances don't dictate who He is."
  • “I guess that’s what life if, though, isn’t it? A whole bunch of little moments that don’t seem significant or life-altering at the time but when you look back...” She shook her head. “I don’t know. They become the most profoundly beautiful things.”
  • “This man had shown her a piece of his soul. A jagged, ugly, honest piece that was raw and bleeding and unlovely. A piece of his soul that matched a piece of hers.”
  • “She was a broken woman falling for a broken man who had a broken past and two beautiful, broken children.”

DISCLOSURE: As a member of Katie Ganshert's launch team, I received an Advance Reader's Copy to facilitate a review of the book. Opinions are simply my own and are freely given without compensation. Published by: WaterbrookMultnomah Publishing.

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