“Losing him was like having a hole shot straight through me, a painful, constant reminder, an absence I could never fill.”Excerpt from:
After You (Me Before You, #2)
Synopsis from Goodreads
After You by Jojo Moyes is the sequel to the 2009 best seller Me Before You. It follows Louisa “Lou” Clark’s struggle with grief after the death of the remarkable man who taught her how to live.
Will Traynor, a 35-year-old quadriplegic, hired 26-year-old Louisa Clark as a personal assistant. As they grew close, he gave her six months to change his mind about assisted suicide. Will, a wealthy businessman, grew up privileged in the historic castle towering over rural Stortfold. His father was in charge of the castle while her dad was a groundskeeper. Will had to live with his parents after his accident. He exposed her to classical music, philosophy, fine art, food, and wine. In turn she brought him out of isolation and softened his anger. They became best friends and fell in love. But their love was not enough to stop him from ending his life, with Lou at his side.
When I first learned that Me Before You was having a spin-off, I was a little hesitant. It was such a terrific novel that I wasn’t sure whether a sequel would improve or detract from it. These were characters I admired, and I didn’t want my memories of them to be tarnished. Consider how readers become emotionally invested in the characters. One horrible act changes their opinion of that individual, and not in a good way. That said, I was curious about Lou’s fate following the events in Me Before You, which prompted me to read this spin-off novel.
Anyway, I wish I could claim that I viewed this book with an open mind, but I can tell you that it was difficult. The first book was exceptional to the point of setting a high benchmark for me. Unfortunately, that did not happen in any way. JoJo Moyes is a fantastic writer. Her works handle big issues in the most creative manner. Reading one of her books is like getting enthusiastic therapy. You’ll burst out laughing one minute and wail the next. They work just as well for a book discussion as they do for a movie debate. However, when a writer chooses to create a sequel to a novel like Me Before You, the expectations are quite high, and the ensuing tale must be completely exceptional. This one, however, did not. Most spin-offs don’t satisfy the first, and while I don’t like this one, I believe it didn’t deserve to be penned or developed. A few stories are so unique that they should be left alone. They are wonderful as written and satisfyingly complete, and Me Before You was one of those novels for me.
This book did not make an impression on me. After finishing it, I was confident that any subsequent volumes in the series would skip over this one. I wish I could give it a better rating because I adored Me Before You so much, but I can’t. Not a bad read, but not up to the standards set by the author in the preceding book.