The After Wife by Cass Hunter | Book Review | (@C_HunterAuthor @TrapezeBooks) #TheAfterWife

Published by Trapeze/Orion

Available in ebook and paperback (6 September 2018)

368 pages

Source: Review copy from publisher

I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts on The After Wife. My thanks to Trapeze for the review copy and to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invitation.

|   About the Book   |

A surprising and emotional story starring an unforgettable heroine, for fans of Together, The Summer of Impossible Things and The Time Traveler’s Wife

When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.

She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband.

Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.

But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death.

A gift called iRachel.

If you liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or The Summer of Impossible Things, you’ll love The After Wife

|   My Thoughts   |

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  Do not read this book in public. At various times you will be a blubbering mess.

What can I say about The After Wife.  I ADORED it.

I have to admit when I first realised it was about a robot, I thought “is this going to be for me”, not being scientifically minded at all.  I am SO glad I picked this up and if I hadn’t read it, I would have missed out on an absolute gem.

The principal characters are Rachel, her husband Adrian and teenage daughter Chloe.  And of course iRachel.  Rachel is a brilliant scientist and together with a colleague Luke, they have been building a humanoid robot.  Not just one that can carry out tasks but one that can also express empathy and can be a worthwhile companion. Rachel has been writing the code and inputting huge amounts of data whilst Luke is responsible for the appearance and movement.  He has decided to make it in Rachel’s image.

When tragedy strikes, iRachel ends up living with Adrian and Chloe.  They are both blindsided by grief and resistant to the idea however this was Rachel’s last wish.  There was a part of me that initially thought how cruel can you be to inflict a robotic replica of yourself onto your grieving family and I couldn’t get my head around why anyone would want to do that but as time went on, I realised that they all needed each other and that far from hindering the grieving process, it helped in moving their lives forward.

This is a story of love, loss, grief and hope.  It’s sad. You will need tissues.  There were times when I cried but its also very funny with some witty observations and one-liners and I veered between snotty tears one minute and snorting with laughter the next.  On the face of it, it sounds a far fetched concept but when you look at the robots that are currently being developed, perhaps this isn’t such a bizarre idea for the future

Mainly narrated (in the third person) by Adrian, Chloe, and iRachel, you can’t help but feel a proper engagement and empathy with that person.  I fell in love with all the characters for different reasons, I even liked Luke (despite his rude, taciturn manner and lack of people skills).  Even though she was super busy and always at work, Rachel had run the house like clockwork and Adrian, despite being a great dad, had a hard act to follow.  Chloe was a typical teenager, a bit stroppy at times and wanting to push boundaries but underneath she had a good heart and was heartbroken by the loss of her mum and the thought that she had been a disappointment to her. And as for That Letter! I was reading that part on the train and I couldn’t read through my tears. I had to put the book away. Aidan’s mother, Sinead had been a strong independent woman but was now facing her own failing health problems.  iRachel was just a wonderful character and made me want a humanoid of my own.  Not only did she do household tasks – she cooked and cleaned! she had an infinite database of information but also she was learning about human emotions and how to interact.  There was one part, near the end, when she made a long speech and it broke me. All these characters pushed their way into my heart and it made for a wonderfully emotive read.

Cass Hunter has written this quite beautifully with superb characterisation and emotional depth. I was charmed from the first page and I really didn’t want the story to end.

All the love and all the stars for this one.  I can’t recommend it enough.

Just a couple of the quotes that made me laugh:

(From Bea, the manager of the laboratory.  “For a collection of very clever people, they’re often very dim. Most of them couldn’t find their own arses with two hands, a map and an Excel spreadsheet”.

From iRachel.“She responded with a phrase which was partially inaudible but when checked against my vocabulary database resembled ‘pith off’. Logic suggests this is not a reference to peeling citrus fruit but is instead a conventionally impolite request to remove myself from the vicinity”

|   Author Bio   |

Cass Hunter was born in South Africa and moved to the UK in 2000. She lives in North London with her husband and two sons. She is an avid lifelong learner, and works at a London university. Cass Hunter is the pen name of Rosie Fiore, whose novels include After Isabella, What She Left, Babies in Waiting and Wonder Women.

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