After The End by Clare Mackintosh | @claremackint0sh @LittleBrownUK @millieseward | #bookreview #AfterTheEnd

Author : Clare Mackintosh
Title : After The End
Pages : 384
Publisher : Sphere / Little Brown UK
Publication date : June 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son. 

What if they could have both?

| MY THOUGHTS |

This is such a hard review to write but I imagine not nearly as hard as it must have been to write this novel.

Max and Pip face one of the toughest decisions any parent could possibly face. Their three year old son, Dylan, is brain damaged due to complications from a tumour. Max and Pip are one of the strongest couples you’re bound to meet but now, they find themselves on opposite sides as each tries to decide for themselves what’s best for Dylan.

After The End is a novel I had to read in bits and pieces, for fear of choking on the huge lump in my throat. The author deals with a highly emotional topic and it all feels incredibly realistic, moving and extremely heartbreaking. The story is split into two parts, the before and after. The reader is offered an insight into Dylan’s circumstances and the many long days Pip spends at his bedside. The tiny slivers of hope and the plummeting realisations when things go downhill felt like a rollercoaster. There are also the wonderful friendships parents form with each other on the ward, the support they give each other and yet it must be so incredibly hard to watch another child make a recovery and ultimately leave for home when your own child lies unmoving in their bed.

The “after” in the story is split in two. The reader follows both Pip and Max but in alternative storylines. Each has to deal with the decision they made regarding Dylan’s future. Was it the right one? How can you ever know? Will their marriage survive when so many do not?

I must admit that my feelings for this novel were also split in two. I thought the first part of the story was exceedingly compelling and I was right there with the characters on the ward, trying to figure out what I would do in that situation. But the second half of the story started to lose me somewhat. It seemed a bit repetitive at times and while I was still rooting for the characters to come through it all, I didn’t find this second half as gripping as the first half.

Nevertheless, After The End is a beautifully written story about a marriage put under strain in the most difficult of circumstances and facing an impossible choice. A remarkable departure for Clare Mackintosh, who you may know from some excellent psychological thrillers. This was quite obviously a story that she needed to tell and she did it in the most wonderful way possible. Not an easy story to read, yet one that will remain with me forever.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy!

After The Lie is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 2)

I refuse to believe it’s June. Absolutely refuse. I only just got used to writing 2019 everywhere and we’re almost halfway through the year. What is happening?!

Hey, guess what? Weather update! 😉. I am roasting! Out of nowhere, we suddenly have 30°C temperatures today and now I’m impersonating one of those old farts that complain about it being too hot to go outside! There’s just no pleasing me, is there? I have no problems being outside all day in this kind of weather in Italy but here? Not so much.

Speaking of Italy, three months to go and I’m off! Not that I’m counting down or anything.

This week has mostly been spent digging up old Playstation games and having a blast. You might be surprised to hear that I did manage to read though. Not a lot, by my standards anyway but it is what it is and I’m not fretting. Yet.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Three is the new seven (or eight). I’m actually quite enjoying this change of pace and I’m still ten days ahead of the schedule so I will actually have some time to squeeze in one (or two) of my 20 Books of Summer books this week too. As soon as I can decide which one to start with, that is. I just need two or three books in a row to really pull me back in and I’ll be off so watch this space. Might even manage four books read next week 😂

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Oops. Not entirely sure what happened here. Not to worry though. I’m sure this is just a blip. 😉

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

With thanks to Titan, Endeavour and Transworld. Two for blog tours, one I just couldn’t resist when it was offered to me. That’s The Colorado Kid. Although I must admit there was some pressure from the other half to accept it. Not entirely sure why. I mean, it’s not like HE will read it! 🙄

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles

Wednesday : Shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing

Friday : Posted my 20 Books of Summer Challenge list

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Someone is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst and posted my weekly wrap-up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Probably nothing

Tuesday : There may be a review. Or not. We’ll see.

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Extract | The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Please tell me it’s obvious that I did make a conscious effort at some point to slow down with the blog tours? 😂 Can I keep it up though?

Question of the week : Likeable versus unlikeable characters. Do they make a difference to your reading experience? For example, Skin Deep by Liz Nugent features the most unlikeable main character ever but it’s one of my favourite books. Some people were put off though. Some people need a likeable character to get behind and I understand that completely. It makes no difference to me though. I often find I lean towards to the unlikeable characters instead because they always intrigue and fascinate me more. Thoughts?

The other half is off with his former army buddies for the day and I have the whole house to myself! I’ll be catching up on some reviews, maybe read a little but most of all, try my hardest not to melt.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week and I wish you all lots of happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (May 29)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

‘Sara! Remember! Victoria and Albert. All I can say. They’re here. They’re-‘ 

These are the last words Sara Prior will ever hear from her husband. 

As DS Nathan Cody struggles to make sense of the enigmatic message and solve the brutal murder, it soon becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. Taking the investigation into her own hands, Sara is drawn into a world of violence that will lead her in a direction she would never have suspected. 

For Cody, meanwhile, things are about to get personal in the darkest and most twisted ways imaginable…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son. 

What if they could have both?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

Anything catching your eye? What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx