After the End - Clare Mackintosh
Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley
Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree. As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again. But anything can happen after the end . . .
When I requested this book on NetGalley, I didn’t realise it wasn’t Mackintosh’s usual psychological thriller. It doesn’t give a lot away in the blurb, but I jumped at the chance to read another of her books as I’ve loved them all so far. It doesn’t matter that this wasn’t the genre I was expecting as it is an outstanding and brilliant read in its own right. I kept forgetting who the author was as it felt like I was reading a Shari Low book. Low’s books can be quite bleak and poignant. The most recent of hers that I read had the split ‘what if’ story where part of the book the heroine stays with her husband and the other half where she leaves him. The second part of ‘After the End’ reminded me a lot of ‘With or Without You’ as the chapters interspersed with different outcomes from the court trial. I disagree with some of the other reviewers that thought the book should have ended after the court case as that’s not entirely what the book was about. It is concerning how each party coped with the aftermath and the consequences. It is called ‘After The End’ after all! Sometimes the interspersed chapters could become a little confusing especially as it neared the end but if you concentrate you can keep up. I also missed Leila’s side of the story in these, yes she popped up now and again, but we had gotten to know her life in the first half and then all of a sudden she no longer had a staring role. The final chapter had me screaming out though as I’d hoped for the real ‘answer’. I thought this book was beautifully written and you could feel the heartbreak that Pip and Max had to go through, and I don’t envy anyone that has to make that kind of choice. It really makes you think (I don’t have kids, but I do have cats) and it would break my heart to have to make a decision even close to this one.