Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: The Ever After

By Melissa Amster

Josie and Frank Moore are happy…at least Josie thinks they are. As parents of two young girls in the Chicago suburbs, their days can be both busy and monotonous, and sometimes Josie wonders how she became a harried fortysomething mother rather than the driven career woman she once was. But Frank is a phenomenal father, he’s handsome and charismatic, and he still looks at his wife like she’s the beautiful woman he married more than a decade ago. Josie isn’t just happy—she’s lucky.

Until one Saturday morning when Josie borrows her husband’s phone to make a quick call—and sees nine words that shatter her world.

Now Josie feels as if she is standing at the edge of a sharp precipice. As she looks back at pivotal moments in the relationship she believed would last forever, she is also plunging ahead, surprising everyone (especially herself) with how far she will go to uncover the extent of her husband’s devastating secret.

With her “conversational writing style and a knack for making readers care about her characters” (
The Washington Post) bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen paints a vivid, kaleidoscopic portrait of a marriage before and during a crisis—and of a woman who fears that the biggest secret of all may be the one she’s hiding from herself. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I've probably said this before, but I want to say it again for those of you new to this blog: Sarah Pekkanen had me at The Opposite of Me (2010) and hasn't let go since. The Ever After is her latest domestic drama. While it has a different feel from her previous novels (perhaps the cover contributes to this in a way), it's every bit as good!

Josie is instantly a sympathetic character and I found myself feeling the way she felt each time a new aspect of the secret was revealed. I could easily relate to her in regards to the stresses (and joys) of motherhood. The dialogue and emotions were genuine throughout. Even though Frank deeply hurt her, it's easy to feel bad for him too. I found myself hoping that things would get resolved between them. I think because Frank reminded me of my husband in a lot of ways (aside from the secret).

The only thing that didn't work as well for me was that a sense of place wasn't established. I know that it took place in the Chicago suburbs, but given that I grew up in that area, nothing really stood out to me as being unique. Perhaps if they had gone to Portillo's or Lou Malnati's for dinner? In any case, the story might as well have taken place in the DC suburbs, like in most of Sarah's previous novels.

Overall, it was a great story with a well-defined arc. I sometimes forgot I was reading a book, as I became so absorbed. Off to check my husband's phone now...  Just kidding!

Suggestions for the big screen:
Josie: Marley Shelton
Frank: Ed Helms
Karin: Kathryn Hahn
Amanda: Bonnie Somerville
Dana: Leslie Bibb
Sonya: Mary Lynn Rajskub
Mike: Dermot Mulroney

Thanks to Atria for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have TWO copies for some lucky readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends June 12th at midnight EST.

More by Sarah Pekkanen:

40 comments:

Janine said...

I have never been to Chicago and really don't know much about the city. If I went, I would definitely want to check out the view of the city from up high in one of the buildings.

Cori said...

Chicago is a super fun city for sports fans! I love Wrigley Field and the atmosphere during summer nights at the ballpark!

Kristy F said...

I'very never been to Chicago. The first thing I would want to do is see a Cubs game, preferably when the SF Giants are in town. I just love baseball games.

Carla S. said...

I haven't been to Chicago for ages, but I hear the deep dish pizza is great!! :)

Natasha S. said...

I've always wanted to visit Chicago, and will one of these days. I think it'd be fun to go to Millennium Park and see a concert.

RD said...

I have never been to Chicago. I would love to go on the boat tour that shows the architectural beauty of that city.

Margie Shaw said...

I have never been to Chicago. I don’t travel other than in the reading I do. That takes me to many places if only in my mind.

Rita Wray said...

I have never been to Chicago so if I went I'd like to see all the sites.

Jess said...

I love so many things about Chicago! The pizza, the hotdogs, the waterfront in general, aquarium - I could go on and on

Burma Turner said...

I have never been to Chicago, so I don't know what I would go see first :)

traveler said...

I would love to visit and explore the historic neighborhoods, walk along the shore and eat at the wonderful restaurants.

Faith Creech said...

Walking down by Lake Michigan. It’s so pretty down there.

Linda Kish said...

I've never been to Chicago. I would want to go by the lake and also walk around the city.

Kelley B said...

I have been to Chicago and saw Oprah's book club!!

A. B. said...

This could be the best question I've been asked in the longest time! I lived in Chicago for nearly 10 years, and loved it. It simply felt like home. (That's not a very simple thing to explain or describe, I know. :) ) I lived in several different neighborhoods, and just enjoyed the daylights out of it. Miss it dearly.
--Ann

Tracy said...

It's a bit busy for me but if I went I think I would go to the American Girl store. Isn't there a lego store there too?

Bonnie K. said...

I've never been to Chicago other than to switch planes. I'd go for their Chicago-style hotdogs. I'd check out historic places and maybe look for famous author places.

Elizabeth Parker said...

So I actually just went to Chicago last month, for Yelp Spring Break - and tried Portillo's for the first time :). I'd go there or for pizza - I like Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, and Giordano's, though we now have Giordano's in Detroit.

Kate Vocke said...

I've only been in the airport - I hear its really cold there so I wouldn't visit willingly LOL But I ave heard their pizza is good! (Although living in NJ/NY area - it would have big standards to live up to for me!)

holdenj said...

I liked the bean!!

Mary Preston said...

I've heard about the pizza too. A good reason to visit.

Dianne Casey said...

Chicago is a beautiful city! I love the lakefront, Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, the museums and the restaurants.

Toni Laliberte said...

I've never been to Chicago but if I ever go I'd definitely get a deep dish pizza and see the Sears Tower.

Linda May said...

I live in Chicago & I wouldn't trade living anywhere else. In Chicago there is so many museums, shopping, Navy Pier & the restaurants & the shopping is terrific. Thanks for this great giveaway.

Dianna said...

I've never been to Chicago, but if I ever get to visit, I would like to go to a restaurant that's been featured on Food Network.

bn100 said...

baseball game

Grandma Cootie said...

Pizza (no where better), Italian beef sandwiches, The Museum of Science and Industry, Lake Michigan . . . I grew up in NW Indiana, about 60 miles from Chicago. I love everything about it!

Lesley McIntosh said...

I have never been to Chicago but it sounds an interesting place with museums and historic buildings but I think a visit to Lake Michigan would be first as well as some food

kristin tahai said...

At this point I have only been to Chicago Midway airport. However, I’m moving to the suburbs within the next couple months from New England, so I know we’ll be visiting Chicago for sure. At this point, however, my favorite thing about Chicago is the Chicago style hot dogs.

The Book Sage said...

I guess one of these days I will need to read a Pekkanen (unless I have already - but I don't think so!)

techeditor said...

Although I haven't been to Chicago since the 1980s, I loved the museums.

Bethany Clark said...

I have never been and would love to go! I think St. Patrick's Day would be awesome when the turn the water Green! So fun!

Hailey Fish said...

I have never been to Chicago but it's a place I've always wanted to go especially if Book Expo is there next year! The first thing I would do is definitely check out the bookstores and restaurants (not chains) and see what food in Chicago is all about!

Anonymous said...

My nephew and his wife and their newborn son live and practice medicine in Chicago! They like it!

Kathleen Bylsma h5apby@yahoo.com

StoreyBookLover said...

I have never been to Chicago, but one thing I like to do in any new place I visit is go to the public library. This started when my husband and I visited the library in Kauai, Hawaii while we were on our honeymoon (We met as booksellers at the same store, and they had a book sale, we just HAD to stop :) Ever since, we try and visit a library in every new place we go. I feel like you can learn so much about a place just by visiting their library! <3

Carla said...

I love the walkability of the Loop.
Love Wrigley Field.
Love Lou Malnati's pizza.
Love how close it is to my small western MI town.

John Smith said...

"What is your favorite thing about Chicago?" The painting by a member of Rembrandt's circle at the Art Institute--the one showing the young woman at the Dutch door.

Tatum Rangel said...

I've never been, but I'd love to check out their bookstores and libraries.

jpetroroy said...

The restaurants!

Anonymous said...

I would love to visit the museums, the aquarium, restaurants, etc