Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Mini Reviews: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton and The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

I don't read a ton of it, but every once in awhile there's nothing like a good mystery novel to get keep my attention, and Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton was exactly that. The story begins with a school on fire, and Grace, a mother, knows that her daughter Jenny is inside. She races in and finds her in time, but that is only the beginning of their trouble, as the arsonist is still on the loose and whoever it is still wants to destroy her family. There is an unexpected slightly supernatural element to the book, but even if I didn't totally buy it, it worked in context.

Like the successful mystery novel it is, Afterwards was full of twists and turns that kept me guessing. It's a pretty long book at 400 pages, and I admit I might have (digitally) flipped towards the end to get some details just so I could go to sleep without finishing it. It was intense and exciting and wonderful. Ultimately, I picked this book up looking for a good mystery novel, and I went away completely satisfied. Afterwards is an unexpected, sometimes strange and unusual novel, but it was a great read for me and left me eager to read Lupton's much-loved debut novel, Sister, in the future.

Obviously Afterwards left me in a mystery-craving mood because the next book I finished was The Cutting Season by Attica Locke. The novel centers around a historic plantation house in Louisiana, Belle Vie, and Caren, the woman who has managed it for the last four years but has long had ties to the place. When a dead body turns up, Caren is drawn into the investigation, uncovering many secrets along the way.

The Cutting Season initially caught my attention as a mystery, but as soon as I started reading I realized it was more than that. If anything, it falls into the category of 'literary mystery' because of Locke's detailed writing and eloquent prose, but with an unexplained murder underpinning the entire novel. Unlike Lupton's novel, there is definitely nothing supernatural about it, but that doesn't it stop it from having some pretty creepy moments.

My major issue with the novel was that it was too slow-paced at times, in particular because I was looking for a mystery, and that meant that as beautiful as Locke's writing is, it often had difficulty keeping my attention. I didn't have an incredibly strong connection to Caren either, which made me less invested in the outcome and also probably contributed the fact that the book took me an entire month to read– in comparison to the two days that Afterwards took. That said, for readers looking for a complicated and original story, an incredibly setting, and beautifully written prose, The Cutting Season is still worth checking out.

Release Date: April 24th 2012 / September 18th 2012   Pages: 400 / 384   
Format: E-galley /ARC   Source: NetGalley / Publisher 


  1. I have read reviews stating Sister and Afterwards are great, glad you enjoyed it and look forward to reading the debut.

    The Cutting Season sound like a great read also but it will have to be a mood read as the details sometimes drive me crazy.

    1. Hey Marce- The Cutting Season is definitely a mood read! perfect way to describe it. I would recommend picking up one of Lupton's books, I really enjoyed it and will definitely have to read Sister in the future (some reviews seem to prefer it actually though I can't compare).

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