The After series includes loosely related books that center around a theme of transformation. In every book I’ve read so far, the focus has been how the person rises out of the ashes of an identity crisis, a severe illness that has changed the characters’ lives, or regaining your bearing after a crippling loss. The themes are about things we experience in our own lives–occurrences we face ourselves at one time or another. Like these characters, we need answers to our pressing questions. We need to figure how to do life AFTER–all relevant needs for today’s readers. The author then helps us step into another’s shoes and imagine how their lives could possibly help us in our own AFTER.
Albert Dove was a writer. But recently he fell into a slump when his wife died. His friend is concerned about Al’s lack of motivation to even live and take care of himself. His publisher dumped him when his popularity slumped and now he doesn’t know what to do with his life. His friend makes a last ditch effort to revive Al’s writing career. To do that, he tries to find a way to inspire his friend to pick up his pen again. They find just that in the form of a cover model for the next book in Al’s series. And his friend is going to show him how to self publish the book.
Rachel Song is a waitress. Worse yet, she is a former model who she believes is past her prime. She’s just gliding along in life without much purpose when her friend Candace shows her an ad for an audition. She decides to give her old career one more try before moving on. But then she is chosen as the model for Al Dove’s next novel, something about a feisty female sheriff who has disappeared in the last book and is now making a surprise come back. She and Al hit it off right away, and he is certain he can write not only one more novel but a whole new series. His muse is back and he decides to make this a faith based series.
Like the other books in the series, this one is filled with hope and life. Faith plays an important role in how these characters recover from losses and setbacks. The author’s intent is clear. She wants us to be encouraged rather than discouraged by the tests and trials we face so often. Her desire is to show us how God can lift us out of the pain and into peace right in the middle of even baffling circumstances. I think she does this well without becoming wordy or preachy. Her message is that there is always hope. That hope is in a close relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And He has a plan for our lives.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”