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After the Party: The page-turning sequel to Ralph’s Party from the bestselling author

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In 1974, a troubled Vietnam vet inherits a house from a fallen comrade and moves his family to Alaska. She's got such a clear, relateable voice, and she really knows how to keep readers turning the page.

This book was rather different to the ones I'd read before; which wasn't a problem at all and I enjoyed it. Ralph misses Jem but tries to find his muse - he ends up spending time with an old man and having a fling with a young American. She’s imagined this conversation a thousand times and every time her heart has raced, her skin has flushed. As they drift further apart through crises and attractions elsewhere, will they find a way to make their life together work? The twelfth anniversary of Ralph and Jem’s first kiss falls upon a cool, paper-dry Wednesday at the beginning of March.

Dealing with Joel, his son and wife; Karl Kasparov; Ralph's new spirituality; Rosey and Smith; Jem trying desperately hard to find herself - it just seemed like too much by far.

I am definitely not in the right place in my own life to understand their actions and to understand how you can carry on in the relationship afterwards. The ending felt a little rushed to me, and I kind of wanted to see this couple figure out their communication problems a little more explicitly. For Jem, motherhood is wonderful but exhausting and with Ralph abdicating responsibility for even the simplest of chores, she resents his desire for intimacy when she feels she is too tired and too busy to oblige. It was so forced that it was evident (reinforcing the Acknowledgments by the author at the beginning of the book) that this book was written for monetary purposes and not because there was a legitimate concept of what happened to these two characters. Because I didn’t read Ralph’s Party before reading After The Party, I can’t particularly say if Jem and Ralph are the same in the sequel as they were in the prequel.

Poignant and heart-wrenching, it's a wonderful insight into what can happen when the fairytale finally ends. I really enjoyed Ralph's Party but found that not only did I enjoy this current book, but I fell in love with the characters all over again.

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