Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: "Life After Yes" by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Despite the fact that I'd love to, I'm not able to buy a lot of brand new books. I'm a mom of three young boys and for now I only work part-time so that I can be home with my boys. However, when Meg at Write Meg! reviewed Life After Yes a while back (her review), I knew that I had to have it. Not only is the cover beyond gorgeous, depicting a girl wearing a gorgeous wedding dress, but Meg gave it a 5 out of 5- high praise from her indeed. So, I bought the book. Days after receiving it, I sat down and read it, unable to wait any longer.
Life After Yes tells the story of newly engaged Prudence Quinn O'Malley's complicated journey down the aisle. A lawyer with a prestigious firm, Quinn knows that she should be giddy wth glee at having a ring on her finger, but she's unable to shake the feeling that marriage just may not be for her. She's still reeling from the recent and unexpected death of her father, who was having breakfast with his financial advisor on the morning of September 11, when the Twin Towers tragically fell.

As her wedding date quickly approaches, Quinn questions why she doesn't feel more. She finds herself unable to get caught up in wedding plans, she's prickly with her fiance, who is only trying to create a life for them, and she can't envision herself becoming the kind of wife who wears lingerie and cooks for her husband every night. Sage has always been the nurturer in their relationship, and Quinn is unable to picture their roles reversed.

As the wedding comes closer, Quinn must decide if she is truly ready for "Life After Yes".

I've been following Aidan Donnelley Rowley's blog, Ivy League Insecurities, for a while now and she has mentioned that she writes about the shades of grey present in our daily lives. Life After Yes has the courage to address the grey that we find when we embark on marriage, and to reflect on it. For Quinn everything is not black and white- marriage carries with it the implication that she will change into someone that she decidedly is not. She loves her finance, but finds herself unable to buy into the myth of marriage. Many of Rowley's observations, written so lyrically that you can't help but want to read her words again, are spot on. Too many brides plunge into marriage thinking only of white gowns and place settings, but Rowley dares to address what happens after the presents are all put away.

Despite the fact that the character of Quinn could have come across as melancoly, and perhaps even ungrateful for the blessings all around her, she doesn't. Instead she comes across as someone practical, someone grieving the unexpected loss of her father, and someone who intends to enter into marriage and the rest of her life with her eyes wide open. Quinn is determined to choose happiness, rather than allowing it to just come to her. Rowley has fleshed out her characters with the greatest attention to detail, and I often felt as if I was in their heads.

I can't think of one darn thing that I didn't like about this book. This is women's fiction for women who want more from their women's fiction.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Women's fiction fans and readers who appreciate good writing and a solid plot
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010, RYOB Challenge 2010


  1. I'm so glad to see you loved this too. I won it recently and now I'm looking forward to reading it!

  2. Meg does have good book taste, doesn't she? Now that two people have adored this book (5 out of 5!), it's going on my To Read list.

  3. Oh, so glad you loved this one, too -- it's absolutely one of my favorites now, and I think about it often. Rowley definitely has a lyrical way with words that kept me reading compulisvely. And that cover is so gorgeous!

  4. i look forward to reading it soon!

  5. That's 3 highly positive reviews of this book I've read and I'm so glad I have it on my TBR pile. I can't wait to get to it!