Life After by Katie Ganshert

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Title: Life After

Author: Katie Ganshert

Published By: Waterbrook (2017)


It could have been me.

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. (Taken from Goodreads)


It has been a good long while since I stumbled upon a book this good. (Or maybe I just haven’t been reading as much lately.) This book is AMAZING.

First of all: Ganshert is one of the most talented writers I’ve read. Period. Her descriptions pull you in as she masterfully weaves together an enthralling tale about a very real, relatable, mysterious woman and a very secret-laden, protective father, tying everything together in skillful knots and not leaving anything significant untied. Every scene flowed right into the next, connecting naturally so much so that if I found out this was based on real life, I would not blink an eye. 

Autumn, Paul, Reese—they’re developed down to the tiniest bit. The author perfectly captured the turmoil and emotions of Autumn, bringing her to life more and more with each paragraph. Mysteries untangle as the story continues, enhancing our reading experience and leaving behind a tangible feel of reality, leaving us pondering over questions presented. I could not put this book down, and I missed it the moment I finished reading.

I loved the way everything was knit together in a concise way, not dragging the story out but also long enough to really understand the minds of these people that feel so real.

Reveals were breathtaking. Sometimes they felt a little unnatural, coming close to changing the feel of the story for being out of place, but they never did. A few times I found a few flaws—Reese is mentioned being one place at one point, and later it is said she is another—and a few loose strings possibly dropped out of the knot, but nothing big enough to lessen my affection for the story.

Negative Content/Notes:

100% wholesome; there was nothing here that was red flag for me. The author didn’t run away from more mature topics as some writers do, but simply wrote about life and expected the readers to understand, which, frankly, I loved. For example, one character finds out his wife has an affair, but there are no details provided or sexual aspects mentioned. The story just moves on, leaving it up to the reader to know what an affair is.


Masterfully written and expertly brought together with vivid characters, this is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Recommended to: Readers of all genres, ages 14+.

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