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The Ever After


The Ever After

I read a lot. A LOT. My favorite way to dive into a book is to know nothing about it. I pick books because I know the author or someone has recommended it to me. I never read the back cover. I love letting the author take me for an unknown journey without having any upfront knowledge beyond the title. In reading THE EVER AFTER, I knew nothing but had the prior bias from reading THE WIFE BETWEEN US, a psychological thriller that Sarah Pekkanen co-wrote with Greer Hendricks. So I was expecting that genre with its suspense and surprises.

I laughed at myself as I closed the book because I really had been cleverly finding clues and anticipating a twist that never came. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel as a tender portrait of real-life, human relationships, specifically within a marriage and all the related repercussions to a family. Pekkanen dives deep into the agony and conflicting emotions of Josie when she discovers that her husband has strayed.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the novel as a tender portrait of real-life, human relationships, specifically within a marriage and all the related repercussions to a family."

Being of an age when many friends and acquaintances are divorcing, the topic feels sadly relevant. Pekkanen masterfully brings the reader into Josie’s heart where we feel her conflict, her embarrassment, her confusion. We are privy to her doubts and worries in a way that goes beyond superficial, sweeping emotional description. The author dissects this relationship through the wife’s perspective, and I could feel her inability to trust throughout. Perhaps my expectation that this was a thriller with a twist up ahead played into that mistrust, but I imagine it’s not at all dissimilar in a real-life scenario. When a spouse breeches trust by going outside of the marriage, how would one not be suspicious and continue looking for clues of other infidelities? Clues to understand more, to find meaning? It actually felt brilliant to me in the end. Josie’s life felt like a suspense story. What didn’t she know? What more would she discover? What lurked in pockets, emails or phone calls?

There are some loving and sweet moments as this couple learns to reconnect and rediscover why they fell in love in the first place. In the pursuit of figuring out how, and if, to reconcile, Frank, Josie’s husband, gives a beautiful and unexpected answer: “What if we could make it better?” And, to me, that’s the core of the lesson for the reader: Challenge yourself to go make your own relationships and marriage better. Even if you’re in a good space, you can still make it better. I love that concept in life --- to strive every day to be a kinder, better person than yesterday. That applies to our character and inner work, to our relationship with ourselves, but also, critically, to our relationships with those around us.

Pekkanen reminds us not to take our loved ones for granted. Go be inspired by THE EVER AFTER!

Reviewed by Leah DeCesare ( on June 8, 2018

The Ever After
by Sarah Pekkanen

  • Publication Date: June 5, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • ISBN-10: 1501106988
  • ISBN-13: 9781501106989