After You by Jojo Moyes

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RATING: 4/5

BLURB: “Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home. Whether her family can ever forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change. Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions? Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered safe. Open it and she risks everything. But once Lou made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in…”

REVIEW: I only recently got around to reading the prequel to this book, ‘Me Before You’ (as some of you may remember) and I absolutely loved it, so I was both excited and filled with rather a lot of trepidation upon starting this second novel, ‘After You’. I had no need for concern, however; yet again, Moyes writes a brilliantly sensitive, humorous, heartwarming (and, at times, heartbreaking), poignant and hugely enjoyable story. When the novel opens it is eighteen months after Will’s assisted suicide and Louisa is struggling to move on with her life even after taking a trip around Europe and moving into a new flat in London. Relations with her family are still strained, she works in an airport pub, and feels lonely in the barely decorated flat. Things all begin to change, however, when Lou falls from the balcony of her block of flats (an accident which, much to her anger, everyone seems to think is a suicide attempt) and is terribly injured. With the help of paramedic Sam, however, she survives, and from there on her situation begins to see some slow – and somewhat rocky – improvement. She is reunited with her family (the sub-plot of her mother turning into a liberal feminist was absolutely hilarious and lightened up many of the more emotional moments), and a mysterious knock on her door one night leads to the discovery of Will’s daughter, Lily, whom he had never known about during his lifetime and who comes to Lou seeking both information about her father and an escape from her uncaring mother. Throw in a relationship (or maybe not a relationship, in Lou’s uncertain mind) with Ambulance Sam, the paramedic who saved Lou’s life, a job offer in New York and the chaos of introducing Lily to the Traynors and we now have an amazing follow-up to the phenomenal ‘Me Before You’ – and this one also made me cry at the end, though for very different reasons. Undoubtedly this is one of the best sequels I have ever read, which is even more impressive considering what it had to live up to, and I highly recommend it to any ‘Me Before You’ fans.

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