Book Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert + Deal!

"Cold stuck to her skin. She yearned for a hot cup of tea. A long soak in a warm bath. Something that might chase away the coldness that had seeped inside her bones long before she stepped outside." (2)

Title:  Life After
Author: Katie Ganshert
Publisher:  Waterbrook & Multnomah
Release Date:  April 18, 2017
Genre: Literary Fiction / Inspirational Contemporary

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.
In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

Everyone must read Life After by Katie Ganshert. If you decide not to read the rest of my review, at least get that first sentence. You must read this book.  Life After is my favorite read so far in 2017, and can easily make its way to one of my top reads of ALL time.  Back to the book. Life After takes you on an emotional journey, diving into the world of mass tragedy and survivors' guilt. What's more, it's not only survivors of the immediate tragedy, but also survivors in the sense of those left behind. What is life after for those affected? How will you find closure to the many "what ifs"? 

"We rarely will know when death will come." (1)

When I first read Life After, I didn't expect the memories and feelings that it would evoke. I didn't expect to be become a bubbling mess, but the author's masterful portrayal of every emotion from the sole survivor, Autumn and those that were left behind, but with so many unanswered questions were spot on.  You see, I understood. I've seen. I've heard and I've witnessed. 


During the September 11, 2001 attacks, 2996 people were killed, with over 600 wounded, and countless were directly and indirectly affected. Born and raised in New York City, I remembered, I knew and I mourned with the rest of the city. I knew those directly affected. I knew those that lost a love one. Where I lived, I can see the cloud of smoke and polluted air from the attacks that lingered over the harbor, the southern tip of Manhattan island for days. "The city that never sleeps" had an area that slept for months. For the next couple of years, I designed several memorials at businesses dedicated to their fellow colleagues that lost their lives. Reading the obituaries, talking to family, friends and colleagues of the deceased, I remembered the despair of it all. I remember the feelings and the words. 

Life After is not about 911 nor was it set in New York. Life After's story is set in Chicago where a train explosion claim the lives of all but one. Despite the different circumstances, the author gave survivors of all types of tragedies a voice - a voice that reigns true and honest. Along with the message of God's comfort, Life After is beautiful as it is powerful.  There will be stories within stories, with subplots that doesn't take away from the theme of "life after," but finding resolution in one's heart. 

Sometimes, one step at a time, one day at a time, and know that He is the God of comfort, may be all we as survivors need - because we all are survivors.  

"Life is hard, and almost always confusing.  but one day we'll see clearly. 
One day it'll all make sense." (126)

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

Please note, quotes not shown in graphics were taken from an advance reader's copy, which is more a less an uncorrected proof. Please do not reuse these unless you've verified with the release copy. Thank you.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



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K.E. Ganshert (Katie) was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She's won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about K.E. Ganshert and these things she writes at her website

TO CONNECT WITH KATIE:  website,  facebooktwitter

Want to meet Katie? She will be 1 of 41 authors attending the 2nd Annual Christian Fiction Readers Retreat this summer in Cincinnati, OH.  Check out the website for more info, but clicking on the image below. 



  1. Awesome review, Annie! I have this one on my MUST read list!

    1. Thank you Caryl. This book hit a personal note and I just love it.


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