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Sunday Book Review: The Hereafter by Jessica Bucher


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The Hereafter is Jessica Bucher’s debut novel about memories, life and death and love.

The story follows main characters Nin – short for Evangeline – and Dylan, both of whom have died and have no memory of how they did. Nin is alone in her afterlife until Dylan arrives, and together, they put the pieces back together. This is shown through flashbacks to the past marked as ‘Before’ and the current events, with both Nin and Dylan being given their own point of view chapters.

This is an incredibly character-driven story and although these stories are harsh, they are treated with care. It is very emotionally raw, dealing with grief and suicide and feelings of hopelessness that one would assume comes from being dead.

It's an easy read with some beautiful imagery throughout. Although the action in the book is slow, the emotions are very fast paced and this lends to making it feel as if so much as happened in a short space of time.

Nin and Dylan are sympathetic, if not relatable, characters with how they deal with their grief and their abuses and how their worlds have shaped them. The idea of these two people being connected so entirely at such an important moment that shaped everything about their futures is handled really well. The way that Bucher writes memories and plays with the idea of whether they can be trusted is well done and keeps you as the reader on your toes.

There are criticisms, however. The pacing felt off at the beginning of the book, as if the reader is being thrown into the middle of an already ongoing story. Because of the themes within the book and the fact that the past unravels within the story, this can be forgiven - but it did make it quite difficult to gain a sense of time and space.

The largest issue – without giving too much away – was that an abuse victim had their history made public without their consent. More often than now, these horrors are shown through invaded memories, some intentional and others not. Even though the want is to help, it doesn’t mean that sort of invasion of privacy should be deemed acceptable. It made those few scenes uncomfortable to read at times.

Despite this, The Hereafter is a very sweet, well written, character-driven love story that made me feel all warm inside by the end. 

This is just Bucher's debut book and it's already a great read, I'm sure that each book that follows will allow Bucher to improve in leaps and bounds.

Diversity? None that was obvious within the story.

Warning: abuse (at the hands of a parent and a lover respectfully), suicide, graphic descriptions of injury, murder, drugs and prostitution.

The Hereafter was released on March 16th and is available on Amazon and other online stores.

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