After the Party

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I stopped reading this a few times but kept picking it up again.  Ultimately, I did enjoy it.  The narrative structure (varying points of views) was at times awkward, and there were loose threads I found annoying.  But it's a pre WWII British story that has been ignored by most novelists, and I'm happy to have found it.
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After the Party is a tale of Phyllis who finds herself led into a series of unfortunate choices that leaves her and her husband incarcerated during WWII. It was an interesting insight to those with opposing political views in Great Britain at the time.
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What a fascinating story, I couldn't put it down. I felt so drawn into the world that Connolly created. The writing was beautiful and lyrical, and I enjoyed it more than I can express.
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It failed to get my interest going even though the synopsis had gotten my attention at first. I did not particularly like any of the characters and found a lot of them unlikeable. That may have been purposeful, but I did not care even a bit for the main character. The twists were a let down after the anticipation of trying to figure out what had happened to get the main character incarcerated.
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This book initially grabbed my interest as a historical fiction book. Prior to picking this one up, however, I wasn't very familiar with the National Fascist Party. 

This story, unfortunately, did not grab my interest or attention the way I was hoping it would, and it took me quite some time to get through it. I did like that the story was told in different perspective between 1979 and 1938, and while there were parts of the story that I liked, over all I couldn't connect to the characters and was a little bit let down by the plot line! 

That being said, there is a reader for every book and I would encourage you to read it if it sounds like an interesting plot or time in history to you, and the author's writing can be beautiful, I would definitely read more from her in the future.

Thank you NetGalley for an advance reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I really love Historical Fiction and desperately wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't for me. Between the repetitive whining and judging from the rich people, I kind of lost a bit of interest in the first 40% of the book. The event at the party wasn't as dramatic as expescted, and left me wanting more. I felt that event had very little to do with what the book was about and I think maybe the title referred more to how their lives changed after they were arrested.  I felt bad for the circumstances surrounding their incarceration, but I didn't feel very empathetic towards the characters in general. Where many of the characters were not very likeable, they did make you think. I found myself trying to analyze them to see what could possibly make them tick. 

What I liked about this book:

1. The author is obviously a skilled writer, but the content didn't appeal to me as much as I wanted.

2. I loved how Nina and her family developed. They worked hard to get where they were, but ultimately it came at a price. That was a twist I didn't see coming. 

3. I thought it was great how this book showed the other side of the Nazi movement. Most books are told from the anti-nazi point of view, so this was a change of pace. I definitely don't agree with the Phyllis' point of view, but it sheds a light on how many so many people followed such an evil person. I was shocked at how devoted she was to the leader even after she had lost everything. 

4. I liked how much history you got on each character at the end. It's nice to see how an author sees a character 40 years later. 

Overall I loved the writing, so I will be looking forward to the authors next book.
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A meticulously researched and fascinating look at Sir Oswald Mosley's county set followers in the British Union of Fascists.
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After the Party by Cressida Connolly is set in England just before World War II.  Phyllis, Patricia and Nina are sisters living on the cusp of British society.  Their lives circle around their networks and associations - who they know, what positions they hold and how they are perceived by others in the group.  It is Nina that introduces the sisters to British Union, a Fascist political group led by Oswald Mosely.  In the book Mosley is affectionately referred to as "The Old Man" and the party's anti-semitic and xenophobic views are glossed over.  After the Party is narrated by future Phyllis as she reminisces and takes stock of her life. 

"Had it not been for my weakness, someone who is now dead could still be alive. That is what I believed and consequently lived with every day in prison."

In her rose-colored world BU was a nationalist peace movement who wanted British to remain to themselves and not participate in the war effort.  In reality the general public considered them traitors, Nazi sympathizers who posed a threat to Britain's national security.  Under Defense Regulation 89 they were jailed without writ of habeas corpus.  As the jails became overcrowded prisoners were transported to internment camps on the Isle of Man where they lived alongside enemy aliens (citizens from Germany, Italy and Austria).  On the whole Phyllis is oblivious to the effects of her actions.  Even after all the years of confinement she is still faithful to the cause, proud of her involvement, connected to past party members and reverent of Oswald Mosley.  There has been controversy over what some readers perceive Phyllis as a sympathetic character.  I do not believe that this was Connolly's intention.  Given the current political state here in the US, Phyllis serves as a vessel to explore how some "generally nice and respectable" people can be so easily misled by political rhetoric.  If one examines the history of the BU they were at first generally accepted by the masses because they spoke the words that the electorate wanted to hear.  Are you having trouble making ends meet?  Well then, British jobs should be for Britons only.  Did you not got accepted to that college?  British resources should not go to immigrants.  To fill their party rolls underlying prejudices were capitalized on and manipulated.  Rather than considering Connolly's After the Party as blasphemy consider it a warning. 

Special thanks to NetGalley, Pegasus Books and Cressida Connolly for access to this book.
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Prior to reading this book, I didn’t know much about the National Fascist Party. At a point in the book, I actually stopped and did a little research as I was curious as to what the beliefs were. Once I had done a little research the book made a little more sense to me. This story is a drab story; not via the content but the time period, the subject and the scenery, I found the entire book just seeping in grayness. Phyllis is one of three sisters who don’t seem to care for each other but who tolerate each other. Phyllis and her husband Hugh along with other family members are open members of the Fascist Party. When Phyllis and Hugh are imprisoned for their beliefs; one of her sisters takes in her children. Phyllis’s husband Hugh also seemed to have a pallor around him. He seems to be a cantankerous man who doesn’t bring himself or the others around him much happiness. I didn’t feel the story had that uumph I look for. The story is laid out in chapters that vacillate between 1979 and 1938 making the story unfold in a rather unique way and overall while I didn’t love it, I did like the book. It’s a book that make me think about alternative perspectives and what it must have been like in the 1930’s in London but I certainly didn’t want to befriend ANY of the characters!
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After the Party starts with a family moving back to Britain after living abroad for many years.  Phyllis returns to her two very different sisters and a country at war.  The story focuses on how the family became involved with the British Fascist Party and the aftermath of their political affiliation.  The characters were interesting with complex relationships.  I expected to the "party" to be a more integral part of the plot but the overall story did not disappoint.
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So, I wasn't really sure what to make of this book. It was interesting reading a book from the perspective of the Fascist  party as I've never read a WWII book from that perspective before. However, I did find it a bit slow at times and disliked most of the characters. Overall, it was an okay read. 

I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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A book about 3 sisters in Britain and their families on the cusp of WWII. 
From the very beginning I had a hard time keeping characters and their spouses/children straight. With two sisters named Phyllis and Patricia, I got them mixed up a lot for the first third of the book. This took my mind and concentration away so often that I had a hard time getting into the storyline and finding anyone to care about. 
Both the political and personal battles happening throughout the book were nicely touched on but again, the names of the characters had already bugged me so much, I was ready to be done reading. 
The writing style was fluid and engaging, though the pacing of the storyline was rather slow for my liking.
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I give this book a strong 3.5 stars. I enjoyed learning about this time period, right before the start of World War II. I do not remember learning about Oswald Mosley and the Fascists in school, so this was new to me. It was an interesting perspective to see how logical the attitudes seemed to Nina and Phyllis, in doing their "peace work," and what it actually turned out to be. As a reader, I can see how they were pulled in to the work and felt they were doing the right thing for their country.

I liked the characters, despite some other reviewers' opinions. I felt Phyllis was believable and I couldn't help feeling on her side. Although privileged, I think she was more naive than anything.

The writing was pretty good, so I liked it overall, but can't say I loved it. I did feel it was sort of anticlimactic; I was expecting another big revelation that never came.

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this digital advanced copy.
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World War II is one of the darkest times in history - and yet so, SO many books are written about it. Fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, etc. It's been written to almost the point of exhaustion - and yet, there's always a new angle.

After the Party is the story of Phyllis Forrester. She has recently returned to England to her sister's house. and finds herself drawn into a new world of beliefs and people. She find herself drawn to a new and charismatic 'leader' who will restore England to it's 'glory.

This isn't an easy read. There are complications and facts that were left out - on purpose, i would assume. 

It's an interesting look at a dark time.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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"A captivating novel of manners that tells the story of a dark and disturbing period of British history, by a master storyteller.

It is the summer of 1938 and Phyllis Forrester has returned to England after years abroad. Moving into her sister’s grand country house, she soon finds herself entangled in a new world of idealistic beliefs and seemingly innocent friendships. Fevered talk of another war infiltrates their small, privileged circle, giving way to a thrilling solution: the appointment of a great and charismatic new leader who will restore England to its former glory.

At a party hosted by her new friends, Phyllis lets down her guard for a single moment, with devastating consequences. Years later, Phyllis, alone and embittered, recounts the dramatic events which led to her imprisonment and changed the course of her life forever.

Powerful, poignant, and exquisitely observed, After the Party is an illuminating portrait of a dark period of British history which has yet to be fully acknowledged."

Sometimes I suffer from WWI fatigue, but who can resist a country estate and a party with devastating consequences?
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
The language and writing style used by the author draws the reader into an uppercrust world still clinging to the naivete and carefree lifestyle of the 1920s. There is a place for everyone, and everyone has their place. The mystery and secrets at the core of the book are revealed in stages through a series of memoirs written by the narrator. I found this literary technique confusing and hard to follow, as the narrative seems too meandering at times. I know that the lush setting bore description, but the author was often too descriptive and I found myself skimming pages. This is a book that needs to be read in one sitting, without distractions. I found myself sidetracked quite often, and tempted to delve into other titles on my to-be-read shelf.
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I have mixed feelings about this book.  The author is very talented and I like her style.  
The story starts in 1938 when Phyllis returns to England with her husband and children after living abroad.  She wishes to live near her sisters Patricia and Nina.  The story introduces the stirrings leading up to WWII. Something happens that leads to Phyllis being imprisoned.  Phyllis is released from prison in 1979 and tells her story.  I just did not feel that enough attention was given to the “event” at the party and  I was rather unfulfilled in that aspect. I did learn much about the events and facism in England during that period.  
Many thanks to Pegasus and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.  
That being said, I’ve been struggling to write this review for a week now.  I really wanted to enjoy this book, but parts of the plot just fell flat.  
I did enjoy reading about a different facet to this genre since the novel is basically about the Fascist party.  However, I kept waiting for something big to happen when reading and it just didn’t.  
I thought the main character, Phyllis, was likeable enough, but her relationship with her sisters was frustrating at best.  I’m still a bit confused as to why she was sent to prison in the first place... was it because of her husband’s past, her sister and brother in law, or her association with the party.

Overall, I’m giving this a 3 star rating.  The book was well-written and I can appreciate that, but the plot line and character development  just fell short for my personal taste.
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This definitely was not the typical WWII story that I usually read.  The writing was excellent, I did not, however, like most of the characters.  I think that is the way that it was supposed to be...

I did not find myself warming up to anyone.  I did enjoy being on the "other side" and trying to understand how they got there.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Pegasus Books for this advanced readers copy.  This is scheduled for release in May 2019.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

In 1938, Phyllis Forrester returns to England with her husband and children after living abroad for many years. Phyllis and her husband soon find themselves drawn into a new political movement that the British government does not like. This eventually leads to Phyllis being imprisoned. The story is told from the perspective of Phyllis in 1979 alternating with a third-person narrative of events starting in 1938. 

What I did like about this book was that I learned something. I’ve read several historical fiction books set near the WW2 time period, but I had never heard of these particular events in England’s history during that time. 

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into the story. Somewhere after the halfway point I thought it was getting better but then it lost me again. I didn’t find the characters likable or that interesting.

So while I wasn’t thrilled with this book, I definitely appreciate that it led me to look up some things and learn something new. And I always say that if the synopsis sparks your interest, give it a go! This is just my little old opinion.
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