After You

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: The Dial Press

Release Date: September 2009

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Ellie has been friends with Lucy since childhood, so it is only fitting she become godmother to Lucy's beautiful daughter, Sophie. Lucy may have married and live in London, but the two women are close. Ellie never dreams she will have to take her godmother duties seriously until she receives the devastating news that Lucy has been murdered near her Notting Hill home while taking Sophie to school.

Ellie drops everything to rush to England for the funeral and to help Lucy's grieving family. Greg, the husband, is popping pills and does not seem to know how to cope with the now silent Sophie. Ellie chooses a copy of her favorite childhood novel, THE SECRET GARDEN, and reads a chapter to Sophie each night. This classic children's book may just provide healing.  Ellie must cope with her own grief as well as her troubled marriage. Her husband, Phillip, does not understand her need to stay on in London. Will Ellie be able to find her way back to the passion and love they once shared?

The author slowly reveals the past turmoils and tragedies that have shaped the characters through dialog and some of Ellie's inner monologue. The use of THE SECRET GARDEN provides a way for the characters to deal with their grief and the struggles we all must overcome if we are to move on in our lives. Love of many types is explored: the unconditional love for a child, love betrayed and even love the second time around. Ellie's parents supply a certain comic relief as they make plans to get re-married in lavish style.

The author has created a story that is authentic and moving. It tugs at your heartstrings and packs an emotional wallop without becoming maudlin. AFTER YOU is Julie Buxbaum's second novel. Her first book, THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE, has been optioned for a movie.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Roberta Austin

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