Rating: 4 1/2 stars
The many, many readers who couldn’t put down Moyes’ “Me Before You” will be thrilled that she has brought back the intrepid but changed Louisa Clark. Louisa has tried to put her six months with Will behind her, but she can’t forget how he changed her life. But in some ways, her life has not changed at all. She is still tending bar albeit in a different location — she now lives in London.
One crazy misstep from the roof of her condo, and Louisa is back in the small village of Stortfold living with her parents while she recovers. To be perfectly honest, the first part of the story is a bit slow, and occasionally the reader might wonder when the magic that filled “Me Before You” will appear. Be patient, it does.
By the end, Louisa’s quest for closure, for a new beginning, will have magnificent results. She not only brings closure to her own life, she enriches the lives of her own family — and, surprisingly — Will’s family. Will’s influence on Louisa is evident in almost every page, and while she misses him terribly (don’t we all?), she comes to terms with his decision and learns to make some decisions of her own that would make Will proud.
The ending leaves room for another sequel — which Moyes will no doubt ably complete (I hope) and enthrall us about the next step in Louisa Clark’s life.
Moyes is able to combine humor, pathos and thoughtful themes into her stories. In “After You,” readers will consider what makes people family — is it just a blood relationship? What makes people act the way they do, and can love exist from afar? She also brings into the story the vulnerability (and stupidity) of youth. While this book could stand on its own, readers will enjoy it much more having read the first book — and the first book is one that cries out to be read. So read “Me Before You” and then grab this one. Buy the set for someone you love. They’ll appreciate the gift.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Pamela Dorman Books, for review purposes.