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“I don’t know where we go from here…”

Jenny: This story hit me on such a level so deep and provoked some strong emotions. It was as though I was living through the heartbreak and hopes right there with the characters. My heart soared and broke with Lauren and Ryan. I’ve witnessed marriages in the same state of disrepair as Lauren and Ryan’s. Some survived, others didn’t and Taylor Jenkins Reid captured those raw emotions perfectly.

My heart is truly broken. And I know that even if it mends, it will look different, feel different, beat differently.

My feelings switched between hope and sadness in this emotionally charged, sometimes humorous and powerfully thought-provoking story. Hope that these two could find their way back. Sadness at the thought that the apathy, disconnection and lack of communication had caused too much damage and they would be lost to each other forever. I witnessed their feelings of emptiness and I cried with them when the realisation of the state of their marriage hit home.  I felt a part of their story. What about you Gitte?

‘There is a part of me that feels like years ago I stopped fighting with you. It just became easier to agree with you or ignore you.’

Gitte: I really enjoyed this story, it was flawless and flowed beautifully. It smacked of reality and real-life marriage struggles. It was completely believable and touched me deeply with the rawness and intensity of emotion.

“Just because you can live without someone doesn’t mean you want to.”

I think we all know couples who have gone through what our couple did in this story. Ryan and Lauren quite simply forgot who they were together as well as apart; slipping into a damaging routine which can have a negative impact on the romance and excitement of love and life.

Jenny:  I thought the way this author infused Ryan’s pov into the story was brilliant and it was at those times I came completely undone. Hearing from Ryan broke me and I have to say he was the character who elicited the strongest emotions from me. I felt so drawn to Ryan’s character and needed his happiness as much as I needed my next breath.

‘Nothing you could ever say out of love could hurt as much as it did to look into your eyes and see that you couldn’t stand me anymore.’ Ryan

Lauren was somewhat meandering through her marriage, choosing apathy over actions, silence over communicating her anger and frustrations. When their passion subsides, when life gets in the way and a day of not communicating their feelings became a week, a week became a month….finding their way back became a task. Could she find her way back to the man who stole her heart? Her reconnection with her family was beautifully told and she needed time to become re acquainted with herself again. I love when makes you think and After I Do certainly did.  I devoured Lauren and Ryan’s story. I cried, I laughed, I loved.

Gitte: Ryan stole my heart. No question about it, his voice of sheer honesty and turmoil screamed pure emotion and came directly from the heart. This bloke, all through the story, tried to give Lauren everything she wanted. But it came at a price!

“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love. What a beautiful thing to have been. What a sad thing to be.’

At no stage did I think this guy was in the wrong nor did I question his actions or motives. However, I did question the year of no communication and the ‘okay to see other people’, it just didn’t sit well with me. Also, it wasn’t really delved into or examined.

“I don’t know why I’m laughing….This is the saddest moment of my life.”

As for Lauren; she was lost, so lost that she’d accepted non-communication and became almost lazy in her commitment to the marriage, unbeknownst to her. I loved her interaction with her Granny and her family. The connection and bonds; the wise words. Well, they all served to wake Lauren up from her slumber.

‘Why do we undervalue things when we have them? Why is it only on the verge of losing something that we see how much we need it?’

I absolutely empathised with both characters and I recognised and related to many issues highlighted in their story. I’m a huge emotional reader and I have to say, Ryan’s communication where we heard his inner thoughts had me in absolute tears at times. After I do didn’t just make me cry though, it made me laugh and it made me believe in the beauty of a surviving romance after a dark stifling storm. It was an intense and raw look at trying to get back to the time before.

 **Reviewed on ARC copy provided by Atria via Netgalley**



When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

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