Friday, September 10, 2010

Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

2.5 Star

Prudence 'Quinn' O'Malley, a New York attorney, has an unsettling dream the night after her romantic engagement involving three grooms, handcuffs and a courtroom setting full of unusual jury members. Unable to forget the bizarre dream when she returns home, Quinn starts questioning her future as well as her past, making impulsive decisions as she continues to deal with engaged life as well as still coping with the grief of losing her father on 9/11. Will she figure out how to move forward? 

Lydia - 3.5 Star

Life After Yes is a smart read about love, family, grief and understanding that was well written, poignant and amusing at times. I appreciated some of the laugh out loud moments amidst the uncertainty and grief Quinn was dealing with and thought her father's death in the 9/11 attacks was handled well and wasn't overly depressing. This novel held many insights into love and imperfect relationships, but unfortunately I just didn't find myself connecting with Quinn as much I would have liked to. 

I found Quinn was too preoccupied with the gym and partying, coming across insecure and whiny at times.  Maybe my age is starting to show or I'm just looking for a happier read at the moment and the fact that she wasn't sure about the man she'd just agreed to marry didn't go over well for me. I did love that she explored her concerns and questions instead of simply ignoring them as so many make the mistake and do.

I got immersed in this novel from the first few pages, enjoying the voice and story, but some flashbacks threw me. When it moved forward again after a sequence of them, I wasn't as attached or as interested as before they began and I can't quite put my finger on whether it was the flashbacks themselves, what they contained, or that I just didn't love her character when returning to the story.
The supporting cast was well developed, however I did occasionally have a hard time telling the difference between her two closest friends. I thought the character of Quinn's future mother in law, was portrayed so vividly I could picture and understand her as well as her fiance, whose changes towards the end I found interesting.

In the end, I wasn't as enthralled by this novel as I would have liked, but I'll definitely check out another by Donnelley Rowley! I did a little digging and found others were much more taken by Life After Yes than I was. Check out the reviews by Write Meg and S Krishna's Books where they rave about this novel.

Kathryn - 1.5 Star

I’m afraid I found this novel it a bit of a struggle to read at times.  Though the general concept was interesting - (made me wonder just how many people accept marriage proposals from serious partners and really aren’t sure they made the right decision?) I didn’t warm to Quinn or most of the supporting characters but I kept pushing through hoping that a connection would gradually creep up on me. 
From the very beginning I had a hard time getting into the novel because of the way it began with a bizarre dream and then immediately put her in a sexually implied position with a man (who turns out to be her trainer)?  This person didn’t mesh for me with the girl who had recently lost her father and was trying to find her place in her own life.  I concluded in the end that despite liking the concept and feeling that there was a lot of potential in all the characters it was perhaps the writing style of this particular story that didn’t work for me- I found Quinn’s voice a bit whiny and self-involved.  I don’t think this was intended by the author- I think I was supposed to feel like she was having a difficult time weighing her choices & how her heart really felt- but it came across as a bit self-involved and even a little selfish at times. 
Although there were a few details that I liked (the fact that her parents named her Prudence after the Beatles song was a sweet thought) and I eventually liking her fiancĂ©e and her mother- it wasn’t enough to make me love her so I’m afraid I wouldn’t call this one a favourite.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with  Aidan Donnelley Rowley:

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