In The After by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro (Review + Giveaway)

In The AfterIn The After by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro
Published by: Self Published on October 16, 2012
Genre: Abuse, Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 398
Source: Author
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★★★

There is a reason fairy tales end when they do ... because happily ever after is just the beginning of real life.

Once upon a time in the quaint, forgotten coastal town of Joyce, Washington Emmy Burns existed in the middle of an inconsequential life that resembled a small-town fairy tale; days filled with caring for her daughter Avery, running her small but thriving pottery store, married to the only man she had ever loved. But all of that changed when the fog rolled out one beautiful morning, leaving emptiness where Emmy had stood only the day before. She had seemingly and without a sound vanished into the thick misty air of the Pacific Northwest, taking with her a lifetime of secrets.

In the aftermath Stephen Burns is content telling the police his wife must have simply chosen to walk away from him and their daughter. But Sidney Ruth, Emmy's closest friend, knows the truth. Sidney is the one person who had watched as the vines grew around the dark forest that was the Burn's marriage trapping Emmy inside and keeping everyone who loved her out.

Years of abuse has to lead to this moment. As the days unfurl so do the secrets Emmy kept walled away, leaving the people of Joyce wondering: What really happened to Emmy Burns in her happily ever after?

Wow, you guys. In The After is truly an amazing and beautiful (but sad) story! It’s one of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read, but I can’t recommend it enough! I love everything about this book: the cover, the title, the characters, the story, and the insane way that Ashley made me hope when there was no hope. When I first read the synopsis, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from this book, but that’s what I loved about it! And as soon as I read the first chapter, I knew that Ashley had me completely hooked.

This story is about an incredible friendship between Sidney and Emmy. The two girls have a falling out and by the time the story starts, they haven’t spoken for several years. Then one day, Sidney gets a phone call from a police officer reporting that Emmy has possibly gone missing. Frustrated by the police department’s lack of progress, Sidney takes matters into her own hands and embarks on a journey to find her friend… despite the fact that she feels it in her heart that Emmy is dead.

In The After by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro Caterpillar & Butterfly Quote

Ashley’s prose is absolutely beautiful and I love the way this story is written. Ashley switches between present time and memories from Sidney and Emmy’s past. We read stories from their childhood to learn about their friendship and the beginnings of Emmy’s abusive relationship with Stephen, all the way up until the day Emmy goes missing. This wonderful way of writing made me completely fall in love with the characters and become sadder and sadder as I started to really adore Emmy. The more I read about Emmy’s incredibly sweet and loving personality, the more distraught I was at the prospect of her being abused and possibly murdered, and the more I hoped that somehow she was alive! It was silly of me to hope, because surely Emmy was dead.. but I just couldn’t imagine horrible things being done to such an amazing person. Ashley really got me invested in the characters, and I swear I thought they were real!

If it weren’t for the fact that I read this entire book cuddled up in my boyfriend’s arms, I probably would have cried my eyes out the entire time. My heart broke more and more every time I read a chapter about Emmy’s abusive relationship. Each time, I snuggled a little closer to my boyfriend and thought about how insanely lucky I am to have him. I just wanted to reach out to Emmy and hug her and find her a husband like my boyfriend or like Sidney’s husband Paul. This book will rip you apart emotionally, and that’s what makes it so incredibly powerful and one of the best books I’ve ever read!

In The After by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro Beautiful Places Quote

Not only is this an amazing and heartbreaking story, but it’s also a story about friendship, abuse, love, parenting, the power of the media, and bravery. It’s deeply moving, incredibly sad, and very powerful. In The After actually reminds me a bit of the movie Enough. If you enjoy that movie then you will LOVE In The After. The stories are kind of similar: dealing with an abusive relationship when a child is involved. The most devastating part is how real this story is. There are women out there who don’t know how to get out of their abusive relationships. So although In The After is written as an adult contemporary fiction story, it deals with some very real issues.

Even though I have been reading a lot of contemporary lately, In The After is not the kind of story I usually read. But I am so insanely glad that I read it! The cover and blurb are initially what intrigued me and they didn’t disappoint! This story is a complete emotional whirlwind that will totally suck you in. It’s intense, mysterious, and will probably make you cry your eyes out. In The After one of my favourite books of the year, and is one that will likely stay with me for a long time. This is the kind of book that I think about for days or even weeks after I finish reading. I almost feel like I lived the story, because that’s how powerful it was!

HUGE thanks Ashley for letting me review her amazing book! ♥ ♥

Giveaway Time!

You can enter below to win some absolutely EPIC prizes provided by the wonderful, amazing author! This giveaway is open to US and CA residents only! Sorry! Best of luck! πŸ™‚

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The Verdict


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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Hi Ashley!

    Thank you so much for your review and for sharing some of your screen space with me!


  2. Okay so this doesn’t look like the kind of book I’d normally be interested in, but I think you won me at the Enough reference because I love that movie to bits and pieces and I pretty much think I’m sold on that point. Awesome review, as always. :]

    Sierra recently posted: Life; Crumbles
    1. I love love LOVE Enough too! I’ve seen it about a million times. And this book is so similar. It’s inspiring and empowering, but also scary and sad. It’s amazing!!

  3. For my happily ever after? I guess right now it would be that I was able to get enough scholarship money to go to college πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds great and I love the cover:)

  4. Awesome review~~~ I really want to read the book… I guess my happily ever after would be to get through school with a good scholarship πŸ™‚

  5. The book looks great!

    As for my happily every after… I don’t know. It used to be now but I’m moving and running from my abusive ex since he found us (my daughter and I) again.

    That’s probably why reading books like this are painful but helpful at the same time for me.

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