Friday 16 August 2013

Review: After The Party by Lisa Jewell

It's eleven years since Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary first got together. They thought it would be for ever, that they'd found their happy ending. As everyone agreed, they were the perfect couple.

Then two became four, a flat became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn't quite so simple any more. But through it all Jem and Ralph still loved each other, of course they did.

Now the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart. And in the chaos of family life, Ralph feels more and more as if he's standing on the sidelines, and Jem that she's losing herself. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted - but maybe it's not too late to recapture happily ever after ...

Review: wow this novel really took it out of me. The tension, the emotion and the feelings of the characters are at the forefront during the entirety of this novel and it is so well written that you feel each and every sigh, laugh and tear with each of the characters. I am a massive fan of Ralph's party so I don't know why it has taken me so long to read the follow up novels, but I am so pleased that I did!

The characters are wonderfully similar to how they were in the first novel, they both still have a really strong voice thought the story and so from that point of view it is like returning home to old friends, however that would be boring if they were ENTIRELY the same. These characters have grown and evolved, they have had children and they are losing Ralph and Jem and simply becoming mum and dad and this is part of the problem throughout the whole of this novel-they need to find themselves again!

The things that this couple have gone through are realistic and believable and yet I simply don't know how they coped. In terms of the plot, it is beautifully mapped. They go through miscarriages, astilbe adultery, Ralph having issues with work, Jem having issues with work, questions over whether they should get married or not. It is one drama after another-it's fabulous. We hear a lot more of jems sister Miranda in this novel than in the previous one, and of course smith is back too. The big admission that I have to make, however, is that I really didn't like Ralph is this book! I LOVED him in the first novel, but in this one, really disliked him, thought he had turned into a lazy man who was letting his family life ass him by. I also really disliked Scarlet, their daughter. I thought she seemed spoilt and just took away from the enjoyment of the story a bit for me.

The fact that I had the dislike of these characters though and found the storyline so stressful was because it was so well written. Lisa Jewell really does have a way of writing drama to make it seem so real that it literally jumps off the page and pulls you in. This is not a novel to read if you are looking for a restful Sunday afternoon affair. You need to invest in this novel, but it is well worth the investment! This is Jewell at her best and if you are a fan of hers, you have got to read this one. If you haven't already read Ralph's Party then read that first because I think you have to know the characters from that novel before picking up this epic read!

You can get your copy of after the party by clicking here...

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