Life After

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Member Reviews

I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, WaterBrook & Multnomah and Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Life After by Katie Ganshert is a beautifully written and thoughtful work on what happens after tragedy. Grief is really the main character in this tale of events and people that feel all too real.

An emotional read without melodrama. You feel for the characters that are looking for answers to that most nagging of questions: why?

5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.
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This book was very different from my usual choice of reading selections.  Emotionally gripping, it dealt with life after a tragedy focusing on the families of those who died as well as, in this case, a lone survivor.  Ganshert deals earnestly and effectively with the clashes between faith and fear and the resiliency that faith can give.  

Autumn is the lone survivor of a train explosion.  She is obsessed with all those who died and can't move forward in life.  Her biggest question is, of course "Why me?"  She could very have looked at it as "Why not me?"  When the pre-teen daughter of one of those  who died connects with Autumn, they both begin seeking answers by deciding to interview each of the families of the victims and putting together a You-Tube video.  But they soon find out that sometimes there are secrets hidden behind those doors that may need to be in the open so healing can begin.  

A wonderful read that will stay in my memories for a long time.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book  from Waterbrook Publishing through NetGalley.  Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
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Where do you start when you wake up and have no clue who you are now you got to the hospital and why was there? Too many questions not enough answers then on top of all this and was not alone in who survived. Families want answers,the gulf the headaches you really feel this with all the characters make sure you hold on to your heart and expect to cry. So many emotions! Wonderful writing it you ask me In will be reading more from this person,received this through Net Galley for my honest review,thanks!😺
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5 Stars:  5/5 rating
I can't say enough good things about this book.  The characters could be your sister, your friend, your father because Katie Ganshert makes them real.   They are approachable and have faults as well as good just like the rest of us.  
The book addresses survivor's guilt and family relationships in a sensitive and moving manner.
I highly recommend this book to readers of Christian fiction.
I received a digital version of this book from netgalley and Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts expressed are my own.
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Autumn Manning was the only survivor of a horrific tragedy, named Tragedy on the Tracks. Her memory of events prior to the explosion are lost. She feels so much guilt-for being the only person to survive. Her life is forever changed. Her family all worries about her. She now has an ex-fiance. She questions God. How could a good good God allow this?
Reece, a twelve year old girl whose mother lost her life that day in that tragedy, is writing letters to Autumn. As a result, Autumn meets her father, Paul and her little brother, Tate. This story had me feeling so much empathy for the family. There are also secrets there, which I will not reveal to those who have yet to read the book.
The one year anniversary of the tragedy has just occurred, and Reece very much wants a tribute done. Autumn interviews someone from the family of each of the deceased. Their stories of their loved one is so amazing! Paul continues to put Autumn off on interviewing him about his wife. Reece is determined to talk, on camera, about her mother.
Very well written story.
I was given a free ecopy to read by the publisher WaterBrook Multnomah and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Clean read
Intense read with poignant, heartfelt intermingling of two families.  As Autumn struggles to remember the day of the accident and tries to piece herself and her life back together, she becomes intermingled with a family that is part of the tragedy too.  Heartfelt, hurting, genuine honest and hopeful as the healing process for Autumn and Paul's family intermingles and blends as they seek for answers and healing.  Beautifully composed, and cathartic read with a dash of hope and optimism in the end.  This is a first for K.G for me, and it won't be my last.  Beauty from ashes.
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I am blown away. 

I think this may be my favorite book of 2017. 

I saw this on my sister-in-law's bookshelf, picked it up, read the prologue, and was immediately hooked. As soon as I got home, I grabbed it from my library, and couldn't wait to dig in. This is the first novel I have read by Katie Ganshert, and will most certainly not be the last. She has an unforgettable writing style, and writes just as unforgettable characters. This is the kind of book that leaves you clutching it to your chest, not wanting to let the story go. 

Firstly, it's rather interesting to note that this book is basically futuristic - published in April 2017, it is actually set in April - July 2017. So, the author was writing about events that would "happen" (It's still fiction) in a matter of months. I've never read a book set in the near future like this, so it was kind of mind-blowing. 

Secondly, characters. Oh. My. Goodness. Such heart, beauty, and raw honesty wrapped up in a book character like this I have not seen before. Autumn was the perfect character - not that she *was* perfect, but that she was a flawed human being trying to cope in the aftermath of a tragic accident, and trying to move past her own issues and make an impact in others' lives. Paul was an equally perfect character; I just love everything about him. I loved the father\daughter story line with him and his daughter, Reese. So, so sweet. Reese's character arc was also fantastically done. And Tate was just plain adorable. I have never experienced such a tragic event as these characters did, but I found my self empathizing and relating to them nonetheless, which speaks well to the author's writing ability. Characters make or break a story for me. And Ganshert nailed them. 

As previously mentioned, Ganshert's writing style is unforgettable, and stunningly beautiful. Poetic and elegant, yet simple and heartfelt. It was what drew me to read the book in the first place. If you took out the amazing characters, and the original story line, (not to mention the gorgeous cover!), I would still read more of this author's works. 

The story was arresting and original, and very thought-provoking. The way Ganshert revealed bits and pieces of the plot slowly, all down the last chapters was lovely and intriguing, and not at all frustrating, as it can often be. The theme of beauty from ashes was phenomenal, as was using the symbol of a phoenix. The sweet and subtle romance woven ever-so-gently throughout was just delightful. I absolutely loved it. 

All in all, this is a book I highly enjoyed, and would give 10 stars, if I could. I will definitely be re-reading this in the future, and checking out more of this marvelous author's works. 

CONTENT NOTE: Due to rather adult themes, I would recommend this for ages 16+. [The crux of the story has to do with a bombing on a train, during which 22 lives were lost. This book deals somewhat heavily with loss, and grieving loved ones. Also, infidelity and adultery are semi-main themes, but handled in a very tactful and non-graphic way.]
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22 Lives Lost. One Survivor. It could have been anyone. Why her?

Autumn Manning is far beyond survivor’s guilt. Her whole life’s purpose has become an obsession with the twenty-two passengers who lost their lives a year ago—the day a bomb blasted through the “L” train she boarded in Chicago. With no husband or children to need her, why did God choose to spare only her? And why was Autumn even aboard the late train? When she awakens in the hospital, she has no memory of the blast or the immediate hours before the disaster, nor does she know the reason she was on that late train. Will Autumn be able to fill in the blanks and make sense of the situation?

As the one-year anniversary of Tragedy on the Tracks approaches, Autumn contacts a family member of one of the victims. That one regrettable action opens a Pandora’s box of emotions and events as grieving souls try to move forward with their lives. 

Family members want their loved ones to be remembered—all but one. Paul Elliott wants to shield his children and safeguard his career and let the past stay in the past. 

Such tragedies bring some closer to God, while others turn their backs to Him. Will Autumn and Paul be able to restore their weakened faith and return to a fulfilling life among the living?

This book has been on my want-to-read list since before it was released in April of 2017. I hadn’t got to it yet, so I’m glad it popped up on NetGalley’s site. 

I’ve read a half-dozen of Ganshert’s books, so I expected good writing. I wasn’t disappointed. The story moved along at a good pace. Ganshert did a great job of getting me into the characters heads, filling me with compassion for them. 

This book gives an authentic glimpse into PTSD and survivor’s guilt. You walk with the characters as they battle the demons birthed the day of the disaster. You cheer for them as they baby-step away from the chains that have bound them since that fateful day. You cry for joy as Autumn achieves each little success.

NO SPOILERS: The ending of the story was perfect. Not the happily-ever-after of a romance, but it’s oozing with hope and healing. This story has a very strong inspirational thread and rates a zero on the blush factor. A perfect read for a teen or her grandmother. 

I give this book FIVE stars because that’s the max.
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A year ago, Autumn Manning was the sole survivor of a train crash that killed twenty-two people in Chicago. She still hasn’t recovered. She has nightmares. She hasn’t returned to work. She can barely leave her apartment—except to tend the graves of the twenty-two victims. She’s alive, but not living.

Psychologist and marriage counsellor Paul Elliott lost his wife in the crash. Life has gone on, propelled by the need to raise his two children. It’s not easy, especially as his daughter is twelve and acting out. Then Reese disappears, and Paul finds her in the last place he’d expect: Autumn Manning’s apartment.

Autumn and Paul begin an awkward friendship that begins with Reese but builds as circumstances bring them together. They both still need to heal, and the irony is that they heal through each other, and through a project inspired by Reese.

Life After is strong in every way.
An intriguing concept. A solid plot. Flawed and realistic characters. Excellent writing. A strong Christian message, but without being overwhelming. The story hints at secrets and lies, then reveals them at exactly the right time for maximum impact.

I definitely recommend Life After for readers looking for deeper Christian women’s fiction.

Thanks to WaterBrook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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LIFE AFTER by KATIE GANSHERT takes place a year after a train explosion that killed twenty two people, leaving only one survivor.
Autumn Manning has a bad case of survivor's guilt and a morbid interest in those who have died. In fact, she is particularly sad for Paul Elliott who's wife was mistakenly thought to be the sole survivor. When Paul's twelve year old daughter, Reese, befriends Autumn and they work together on a tribute to the lost, healing starts, but also secrets are uncovered.
It is all very intense, with relationships being stretched to the limit. There is also a good mix of comedy with the seriousness of the subject matter, and it is altogether a most enjoyable read. I like the way Autumn is the one telling the story.
Whilst some ask where God was when the tragedy occurred, there is a strong message running through the book that God is a good Father and is in control of everything. We see how God can bring good out of even the worst situations, and we also see how important it is to speak the truth in love, and to walk in forgiveness rather than bitterness.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Waterbrook & Multnomah. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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I received this book free as an ARC from Net Galley.

The plot centers around a devastating train explosion that kills 22 of the 23 persons on board.  The woman who survives the explosion is at first misidentified, which brings her into contact with the husband of the woman she was believed to be.

Autumn is the survivor, and as the story begins, it is the anniversary of the explosion.  Autumn is profoundly struggling with grief and survivor guilt which has taken her to a very dark place.  

Paul, a well-respected marriage therapist, is the husband of the woman that Autumn was misidentified as.  His daughter Reese, unbeknownst to him, has been writing letters to Autumn and becomes aware of this when Autumn brings herself to write a letter back.

Their lives continue to intersect although uncomfortably excepting the relationship between Autumn and Reese and her younger brother Tate.  The children welcome this new woman's entrance into their lives.

I enjoyed this book and thoroughly recommend it.   It's a book that explores survival, hope, and healing.  Ganshert's characters are real and believable.  The story is multi-layered which makes the reading of it a very great pleasure.
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This book introduced me to a new author, one I'd never heard of before.
This book is so worth reading! It shows how everything in life can be changed in a moment.
And how things are not always as they are seen or perceived.
Autumn is a character I couldn't help but liking, and wanting to know more of.
Her struggles & challenges are very real. I liked to see how she grew throughout the story.
This book has some of the hard questions in life. It gets you to face things, and realize that life is not an easy road. 
I was challenged and blessed by reading it!
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I was excited to be able to read this book. I’ve never read one of Katie’s books before and I’m glad this was my first. Autumn carries so much guilt over surviving the train bombing. While dealing with the fact that she was the sole survivor, Paul Elliott is dealing with the fact his wife was killed that day. Being put in a situation where he and Autumn have to interact and work together definitely wasn’t what he has in mind. Life After was a beautiful, eye opening read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m a little upset I didn’t know about it sooner.
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LIFE AFTER hooked me from the start, with a traumatic explosion and attack on a Chicago train platform. One person survives while 22 die. The story focuses on survivor Autumn Manning, who one year later still cannot remember the bombing, yet suffers crippling survivor’s guilt. 

Paul Elliott was widowed by the blast and wants to leave the tragedy behind as he seeks to raise his young children in peace. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are brought unexpectedly together, Paul fears she’ll bring more pain than healing to his family.

Author Katie Ganshert’s stirring narrative and believable characters make this an unforgettable read, one that asks the tough questions about truth, faith and ultimate purpose in life. Highly recommended! 

Pub Date 18 Apr 2017

Thanks to WaterBrook & Multnomah and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are fully mine.

#LifeAfter #NetGalley
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Life After by Katie Ganshert.  Thought provoking, melancholy, story about survivors of the victims of a tragic event.  Not an easy read but worth the tears.  

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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Wow.  I’m not sure how to write a review about this book. It’s superbly written.  The story can only be described as gripping and enthralling.  It has such a connection with our society today.  It grapples with some deep faith questions, and leaves you with a deep sense of God’s unending, overwhelming love for us.  The characters seem like people you would know.  I’ll be thinking about this story for a long time.  It’s given a personal face to all those families who suffer after the tragic death of a loved one through accidental death or terrorism.  I’m not sure how Katie Ganshert wrote this heart-rending story, and infused it with such hope, but she did.  Don’t miss this one.   

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
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How would you feel if you were the only survivor in an accident that killed   
22 other people ? Autumn Manning was the only survivor in a train accident; before the accident she got on the train with a box and then she speaks with an older man who wore a John Deere cap, she notices a young girl with a butterfly tattoo, a young businessman with a laptop, a young Latino boy wearing earbuds, and a stressed young woman with a child. Then she sees an explosion of heat, shattered windows, and metal is twisted, and she wakes up in bed remembering being pulled out of a fire and having tubes all over her body , but she can’t stop remembering the victims and the accident - it was if she had died along with the victims.
Paul Elliot was the husband of one of the victims,his wife Vivian had been killed in the train bombing, and he was left alone to raise Reese, 12, and Tate, 7. Reese had not been acting normally, she was starting to be unaccountably rude and then she had been caught shoplifting! The day of the shoplifting Reece had run away from home, Paul had called the police and then she showed up at Autumn’s house, and Autumn called Paul to come and pick her up. Autumn told Paul that Reese had been writing her letters in which she shared her grief and her confusion after her mother’s death.
You will have to read the story for yourself to find out what happens to Autumn, Reese, and the rest of the survivors, you will find yourself wondering about the people’s lives that you hear about in a tragedy and you will see them as individuals, and not as numbers!
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All of Katie Ganshert's books are tear jerkers.  Life After deals with grief and the "why me" and guilt of surviving when no one else does.  The heroine of this book is the lone survivor of a train explosion and as she is dealing with her grief she meets a man and his children who lost their wife/mother in the explosion.  As their lives cross paths that start the healing process together.  Throughout the story the focus is on God and trusting Him to get through.  This story could be ripped from front page headlines.  I would highly recommend this book and all of Katie Ganshert's.
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I cried. I had to get up and walk around a few times because my eyes were too watery and I couldn't see the page. Admittedly I can be an emotional person in general when I read, but this one was tough for me. My heart broke for the characters. Katie Ganshert painted such a realistic picture that I felt like I was a real part of it. I can't imagine losing my spouse/sibling/parent because of a bomb. I also can't imagine what I would feel like if I was on the train and the sole survivor. The survivor's guilt that Autumn struggled with throughout the story was very raw and heartrending. It crippled her from being able to live the life she once led.

I really liked how the author developed the relationship between Autumn and the Elliott family. She started out wanting to help a 12-year-old girl (Reese) mourning the death of her mother but ended up touching the lives of the whole little family. I won't share too much detail to prevent spoiling, but I will say that it was "the little things" that slowly help the family (and Autumn) to heal, and some of those "little things" are exactly what brought tears to my eyes!

One thing that added to the emotion was the filming of the tribute to honor those who perished in the explosion. Autumn wasn't only struggling with survivor's guilt, but the guilt that she doesn't remember what happened on that day or remember everyone on the train with her. She wants them to be remembered. It's with pushing from both Reese and one of her sisters that Autumn sets out to make the tribute happen. The memories shared by the family members made it all seem so real. My particular favorite story was Lazarus as shared by his wife. They had been married for 65 years and shared many loving memories together.

I am not afraid to cry while reading a book. To me, a good book is one that can make me feel something. Whether I am laughing, crying, gasping in shock, whatever it may be, it's more than just words on a page. This story will make you smile and probably cause tears, but it will certainly grip you emotionally. I can't recommend it enough! It's definitely being added to my favorites pile!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in hopes of an honest review. I was not obligated to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed were mine alone.
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This was a moving and emotional story. The author had us thinking beyond those who perish in mass tragedies. What about those who survive? What s their life like after?
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