"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Thursday, August 11, 2011

After The Party by Lisa Jewell

Atria Paperback
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Available August 16,  2011
ISBN-10: 1451609108
ISBN-13: 978-1451609103

Set in London, Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary have been together for eleven years. He is a successful painter and she works part time as a talent agent. They have two children, daughter Scarlett, and brand new baby boy Blake. They thought they would be together forever but clearly the party is over. Ralph really shows no interest in Blake, his artwork is faltering. Jem is exhausted caring for two children, getting up several times a night with Blake and trying to get back to work.  If all that isn't enough Ralph announces he is going on holiday to visit an old friend in the states.  He needs time away to recenter himself and he thinks some time apart would be beneficial. Jem is stunned but rolls with it as she knows their relationship is on a desperate path.

While Ralph is away Jem connects with someone new and so does Ralph. His life also turns in a direction he knows Jem will never understand but it rejuvenates him as he heads home. He returns with hopes of finding a way back together with Jem. Like the old days, the days after the party.  But is it too late? Can their relationship be saved?

This book is said to be a sequel to Jewell's Ralph's Party published in 1999 but I had no problem reading it as a stand alone. It is definitely the story of a couple maturing and realizing that being adults with responsibilities is hard work and definitely not all sunshine and rainbows.  

The book is very well written and the story flows effortlessly which is good as the book is 450 pages.  She offers a keen insight of a modern family existing in today's world of more obligations than time. I really enjoyed the relationship between Jem and her sister Lulu.  Lulu has no problem speaking her mind and telling Jem frankly what she needs to hear.  The story between Jem and Ralph is an emotional one and this is not a light read, it gets really dark in places.

This was my first Lisa Jewell novel and while it did not leave me as moved as other books I read this week I would recommend it as a good book to escape into for a weekend.  If you are a Jewell fan and liked Ralph's party this is a sequel I am sure you will enjoy.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Atria Paperbacks, a Division of Simon & Schuster. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Dizzy C said...

I read Ralph's Party many years ago.

thanks for the review


Julie P said...

This does sound like a good story. I am going to check out Ralph's Party on Goodreads....