Monday, 3 February 2014

After I Left You by Alison Mercer


Anna has not been back to Oxford since her last summer at university, seventeen years ago. She tries not to think about her time there, or the tightly knit group of friends she once thought would be hers forever. She has almost forgotten the fierce sting of betrayal, the heartache, the secret she carries around with her, the last night she spent with them all.

Then a chance meeting on a rainy day in London brings her past tumbling back into her present, and Anna is faced with remembering the events of that summer and the people she left behind. As Anna realises that the events of their past have shaped the people they've all become, hope begins to blossom for what the future could hold . . .

..........


When I first started reading this, I was gripped. I just had to find out what was so bad that had happened to Anna that had caused her to cut all ties with her university friends.

The novel is written in five parts and flits back and forth from Anna in present day to Anna as a university student. Reading older Anna and younger Anna you can see how what happened to her has changed her. As a uni student she is more carefree and happy to embrace whatever comes, but as a woman in her thirties, you can see how closed-up and untrusting she has become.

Everything in this had a raw kind of quality to it. The emotions and the way that the characters spoke to each other seemed sometimes so coldly honest and direct. As a reader you are never unsure of what each character is thinking.

I liked how Alison cleverly alluded to what had happened to Anna with snippets of conversation between characters in the present day. They say enough to let you know something bad did happen, but never enough to completely give it away. You are left to try and make up your own mind as to what happened. The novel did lose its pace slightly for me in the middle and I did get a little frustrated, but my need to find out the secret kept me going, and the novel did start to pick up pace again.

I loved the setting of Oxford university. Really wish I had been clever enough to go there. It just sounded so picturesque and full of history and intrigue.

A great storyline idea, full of intrigue and suspense in places that should carry you to the very last page.

8/10


After I Left You is available to purchase from Amazon UK 

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