After The Party by Lisa Jewell

By Lisa Jewell
Atria, $15.00

Publisher's synopsis:
Eleven years ago, Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary fell deeply in love. They thought it would be forever, that they'd found their happy ending. As everyone agreed, they were the perfect couple. Then two became four, and an apartment became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn't quite so simple anymore. But through it all, Jem and Ralph still loved each other. Of course they did.
Now Jem is back at work part-time as a talent agent. Ralph, a successful painter, is struggling to come up with new, hopefully groundbreaking, work for his upcoming show. But the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart And in the chaos of family life, Jem feels like she's losing herself, while Ralph, stuck on the sidelines, feels like he's lost his muse altogether. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted—but maybe it's not too late to recapture happily ever after…

After The Party is Lisa Jewell's follow-up to her 2000 novel Ralph's Party, but don't let that stop you if you haven't read Ralph's Party first.. This is a great read, I didn't know Ralph's Party existed until I did some research about the author before I started to read this book.  After The Party is easily a stand alone read.

While not a pretty subject, or easy to read subject, we watch the eleven year relationship of Ralph and Jem crumble before our eyes. And that's never fun.  Lisa Jewell has beautifully created realistic and believable situations for the long time couple who never managed to make their relationship legal.. I was new to Jewell's writing, but sure enjoyed her telling off the ups and downs of Ralph and Jem as they break apart. But can they find their way back to each other?

This is one of those books that you are immediately drawn into and as messy as the situation is, you want to keep reading. You are vested in this family and I couldn't put it down. It's seamlessly plotted, brilliantly written with fully crafted characters and situations. You want to read about these people.  I don't want to give the story away, but need to say that Jewell's written a gem of book. Puns intended. ;)

A joy to read, a joy to share.

4 out of 5 stars!

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