Life After by Katie Ganshert – Emotional, Heartwarming Inspirational Fiction

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Source: Publisher / Blogging for Books
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Find the Review Elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Genre: Fiction; General, Inspirational
Rating: ★★★★★

23 passengers stepped on a Chicago “L” train on what seems an ordinary day. 

It’s ordinary for an elderly man who’s been married to his wife for over sixty years. It’s ordinary for a college student who’s a bright, beautiful young woman on the cusp of her whole life. It’s ordinary for a young mother and son. 

It’s not ordinary for Autumn Manning or Vivian Elliott. 

23 passengers step on the train. 22 passengers never return to their homes in the wake of a bombing. Autumn is the sole survivor of the attack, an attack that’s dubbed her the “miracle survivor,” but left her emotionally unable to “live.” When her path intersects a year later with that of Paul, the widower of Vivian, things become complicated, painful and somehow, full of joy in a combination of unexpected emotions.

Katie Ganshert is one of THE brightest and most talented authors in the contemporary inspirational (or Christian) fiction scene. Or this is my impression of her stories. Her writing is challenging, simple (again, always used as a compliment), and emotional, all of which she conveys to page with a “no fuss” kind of storytelling. It’s no surprise then that her latest novel, Life After, would be no differently composed. In fact, this may be her greatest accomplishment yet.

Life After is a breathtaking symphony of loss, hope and forgiveness told in a way that brings together so many people without overwhelming the reader by cluttering its pages. Some books can shove too many characters at us, but this is an example when lots of characters are for the benefit of the tale. The characters that come into Autumn’s life aren’t only mere figments of therapeutic release, they’re somehow made to be vital to the story even though their time “on screen” is brief, especially in comparison to Autumn (who carries much of the story) or Paul.
I guess that's what life is, though, isn't it? A whole bunch of little moments that don't seem significant or life-altering at the time, but when you look back . . . They become the most profoundly beautiful things.” ― Katie GanshertLife After
This isn’t the typical happily ever after story. Instead, it’s a mature story of love, acceptance, healing and finding our way “home.” Interwoven into this are the personal relationships and tribulations between families. The structure or “set up” of the story is well put together. From the POV switch off to the journal entries and Reese’s letters, this story has all the classic makers of a tearjerker that’s sure to, in the end, leave you with a smile. Though not everything ends up being a rose-colored glass result, I was surprised at the tenderness of how everything comes out even if it’s just a tiny bit “rushed.”

No matter what, it’s in the flaws that this story shines. Whether it’s the journey to feeling “whole” again; a teen trying to navigate the secret she doesn’t understand; or a man who inadvertently restricts a healthy healing process, the stories in Life After is an emotional heart stopper. Those who enjoy this type of fiction are missing out unless they pick up this beauty. You’ll be hooked from first page to last. ♥

Life After hits store selves April 18th!

Synopsis: On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead. 

But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones. 

Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God. - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

Review text is © Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), 


  1. Beautiful review! This one will be coming at some point and I'm really looking forward to reading it!

    1. Thank you, Tressa. This one IS beautiful. It's a stunning story that I (hope!) think you'll really like. :)

      Let me know what you think!

  2. Gorgeous review, Rissi. I love what you said about Ganshert's writing. I will definitely make a point to read this one!

    1. Thank you, Bekah. It's always easy to write a review when the story is this beautiful. :) Hope you enjoy this one if you read it! Let me know when you do. :)

  3. This books looks different to many of the books that I've read lately, excited to add this to my TBR and try it out soon. Lovely review :)

    1. YAY! Hope you enjoy this if you read it, Kristin; have you read any of Katie's books? They're all lovely. Or those I've read sure are (and I've little doubt those I haven't are equally beautiful). Thanks so much for visiting!

  4. I actually loved that this book wasn't a typical "happily ever after" book, since I think it would of watered the story down. I adored this book.;)

    1. I did too, Amanda - and shame on me if I didn't mention this in my review! :D The ending was a little unexpected and swift, but it's also beautifully realistic which I love.

  5. This one is also on my list. :) I was thrilled when I saw our local library has it on order (because I have a rich man's reading list on a poor man's budget :D).

    1. It's stunning, Becca! I hope if you read it, you find it a worthwhile story. Let me know what you think when you do. :)


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