Tuesday 19 July 2016

After the Party by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is like her name - you dig out an old one, and it is beautiful, shiny and goes with your favourite outfit. 

I am dying to read her latest - I Found You. But while I wait for it to become a little cheaper (US Kindle edition is over $20 at time of writing), I thought I'd dip into an old one I'd been wanting to read for ages. After the Party is the story of Jem and Ralph, who found their happy ending eleven years ago. Only now, two kids and some stress and chaos later, it doesn't have the same fairytale ring as it did before. Jobs and careers are difficult, they're drifting apart, and the predators of the opposite gender are circling around both of them.

In this delightful read, the author asks when it is right to leave and move on, if the magic can ever be recaptured and whether we are capable of coherent decisions in times of crisis. 

I listened to the Audible version, and found Patience Tomlinson's narration excellent. Weaving seamlessly through time and the net of tangled relationships, the characters were wonderful. Jem is petite, capable and unwittingly gorgeous, and Ralph's charm is in his bafflement at the way his life is falling out of control, and his desperation to recreate it. I only discovered upon its completion that it is a sequel, and I am glad - I think it actually stands alone well, and I wouldn't have enjoyed imagining how the first book went.

The delight and added star came in the surprising and uplifting ending. It worked for me, and although it was a tad long-winded, I enjoyed the journey too.

A heartwarming 4 stars

ISBN: 9781451609103

Other Lisa Jewell books I've read: The Girls, Before I Met You, The House We Grew Up In, The Third Wife

You may also enjoy Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

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