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(Review) Life After by Katie Ganshert

Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Paperback, advanced reader copy
Pages: 352
Source: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Rating: Excellent

Link for more information at the WaterBrook

About the author:
KATIE GANSHERT is the author of several novels and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner, The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family.

In Chicago, Illinois, Autumn Manning, age 31, is the lone survivor of a train bombing. A year later she cannot remember the events of the bombing. She suffers from post traumatic stress. She cannot move forward in life. She feels haunted by the people who did not survive.
Paul Elliott's focus is to protect and care for his children after the death of his wife. He is haunted by the bombing, but also the events leading up to the bombing.
Paul and Autumn are brought together (reluctantly) but for an admirable purpose.

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the main character and subject: a lone survivor of a deliberate bombing attack. I wondered what it would feel like to be the lone survivor? I wondered about the recovery process? I wondered how the people who lost loved one's lived out the rest of their lives? Since 911, our nation has been the stomping ground for radical hate groups who want to inflict damage and death. It is not something I'd thought of before 911: attacked (at war) on American soil. It is a frightening reality at this point. I feel Katie Ganshert, with clarity and realism, created a story that will touch hearts.
Ganshert, through vivid descriptions, brought to life the characters so that I felt a strong investment and pull in my heart. The questions I'd had before reading the book were answered in the story. Elements I'd not thought of before is included in the story. For example, the survivor and families who had lost loved ones are publicized in the media. Their privacy is gone.
Life After is a heavy story. When a story with a subject like Life After is written, the reader needs to have moments to breathe. It gives a pause. During these moments I'm reminded of everyday living. For example, sitting down to dinner with family, children in school, people going to work, and the change of seasons.
Life After is a splendid story. The theme is serious and adult, but is readable for an older child (high school age.) 
My favorite quote:
I guess that's what life is, 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...They become the most profoundly beautiful things.