Rarely do I read a book that is so powerful, so moving, and so thought-provoking, that the characters and plot invade my thoughts for weeks after finishing. Debut author Aidan Donnelley Rowley does exactly that in the SheKnows Book Club final pick of the year, Life After Yes. The story follows Prudence Quinn O’Malley, a born and bred New Yorker, after she accepts a marriage proposal from her supportive and loving boyfriend, Sage. The proposal, which takes place in Paris, is beyond beautiful and romantic, and Quinn accepts without a second thought. But just a day later, Quinn’s thoughts and emotions begin to spin out of control. Is it because her father won’t be able to walk her down the aisle, as he perished on that fateful 9/11 day? Is it because she still thinks about her first love, and wonders if she is making the right choice in committing her life with Sage?
I think one reason I found a common ground with Quinn is because of the numerous mistakes she makes. Quinn is a highly successful young lawyer and is set to marry Sage, who is an equally successful investment banker. But even with her success and her supporting friends and family, Quinn still almost seems like a misfit, determined to be selfish and indulge in binge drinking, and upset those she’s loves the most. At first, I was angry with the book. I hated Quinn! The way she treated people, especially her fiancée, the way she seemed to care so little for anyone else but herself, made me disgusted with her character. But as the story moved along, I started to understand. I began to feel for Quinn. The more dilemmas’ she faced, the more the deeper meaning of the story became obvious to me. By the time I reached the last few chapters, I had started crying, thinking about my own life and the mistakes I made, the ones I haven’t owned up to and probably never will, and how I can strive to be the best I can with what I have. It was almost like therapy!
Life After Yes was one of my favorite reads of 2010. I commend Aidan Donnelley Rowley for writing such a truthful story, with real characters and real problems. I almost feel this novel should come with a warning label: Will you risk asking yourself the questions Quinn is asking of herself? Are you brave enough to face the answers? I recommend everyone to read this book, chick lit fan or not. I think we can all identify with a piece of Quinn, and take away a lesson on true happiness.
In My Mailbox: Week of October 31st
Title: Skipping A Beat
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Received: From Sarah Pekkanen
Synopsis: Sarah Pekkanen’s poignant second novel about marriage, forgiveness, and the things that really matter, which will have readers laughing and crying.
Title: Welcome to My World
Author: Miranda Dickinson
Received: From Charlotte Allen @ Avon Publicity
Synopsis: A travel agent who longs to travel. An intrepid explorer who just wants to find a place to call home. And a Big Idea that changes everything!. When Harri Langton finds herself locked in the Ladies’ loo at Stone Langley Village Hall, she has plenty of time to muse on the events leading up to officially The Worst Night of Her Life! Harri is a travel agent with a shameful secret. Despite possessing extensive knowledge of places around the globe, she’s never set foot outside the UK. Few of Harri’s friends understand her longing to see the world – least of all her boyfriend Rob who still hasn’t proposed after seven years of waiting. But when Alex Brannan arrives in town, Harri finds a kindred spirit. A globe-trotting traveller for the past ten years, Alex’s stories light up Harri’s world, and in return she becomes his confidante, sharing the highs and lows of his awful love life. But everything changes when Alex’s aunt suggests her Big Idea – offering Alex up on a plate to the female readership of It’s My Life magazine. How will Alex feel about being sold off as a prize bull? Will Rob ever step up and propose? And will Harri’s dreams of exploration ever become a reality? An enthralling tale for fans of Harriet Evans and Richard Curtis films from a dazzling star in women’s fiction.
Title: Life After Yes
Author: Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Received: From SheKnows Book Club
Synopsis: This is the story of Quinn—born Prudence Quinn O’Malley—a confused young Manhattan attorney who loses her father on that tragic September morning that changed everything. Now, at an existential crossroads in her life, Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney . . . and far too many grooms. Suddenly, her future isn’t so clear. Quinn’s world has become a minefield of men—some living, some gone, and traversing it safely is going to take a lot more than numerous glasses of pinot grigio.
Life After Yes is a blisteringly honest, thoroughly modern tale of life and love in chaos, marking the arrival of a truly exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.