Katie Ganshert is an author who is unafraid to tackle the difficult issues of life and she does so with such finesse. In “Life After” she plumbs the depth of her characters’ emotions as they work their way through grief and guilt in the aftermath of a tragic train bombing that left only one survivor. I found it extremely easy to become involved emotionally with the characters, especially Autumn and Paul. I was also prompted to consider my own possible reactions if confronted with a similar situation.

How many of us have ever really wondered about those left behind after a devastating tragedy other than a passing thought or two or perhaps a pause to pray for the families of the victims? The author apparently asked herself those questions and developed them into a book that dares to ask “What If?” and “Why?” She also boldly portrayed both the relief and subsequent guilt of one character who lost a spouse. I was impressed by the perceptive and sympathetic understanding of her characters as she dug deep to bring them to life.

“Life After” is a poignant yet rich novel that clearly presented that faith and hope really can emerge from tragedy.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by the author. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.


Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty.