The novel begins with newly-wed Alice waking up to a note from her husband, Justin, saying he’s left. With no explanation for his disappearance and unable to get through to him, Alice is left reeling, with nothing but questions. As Alice struggles with her new reality, she meets Evelyn, and although she is forty years her elder, her heartbreaking story has haunting parallels with Alice’s.
Both storylines are equally compelling, and I was struck by the similarities between these two women from different generations and how they share the experience of suddenly having their life’s plans thrown into disarray. I marvelled at the way the author communicates the depth of their experiences, and how Alice and Evelyn are able to take solace in each other’s situations, bringing clarity to their own lives.
As the mystery of both storylines unfolds, After You Left provides a powerful exploration of the devastating nature of relationships. It reminded me of the immediate and enduring fallout of the heartbreaking choices we make for love. It’s a story that, a year on, continues to resonate with me.
- Sammia Hamer, Editor