The After of Us is a standalone new adult romance novel and a spin-off from the Judge Me Not series.
Can the ending of one dream lead to the beginning of a new one?
Will Gartner made a lot of mistakes in the past, but he finally has his life together. Leaving his reckless teenage years behind, he's recently graduated from college and is all set to move from Las Vegas to New York to start a prestigious new job. But when an unexpected guest shows up at his farewell party, all Will's dreams are smashed to pieces. Suddenly, he's taking a crash course in how to be a father to the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed.
Will changes direction and heads to Harmony Creek, Ohio, and the only person who's ever really been there for him, his brother, Chase. Chase saved Will in the past, but will he rescue him yet again? Some lessons - like fatherhood - can only be learned by doing. Is Will up to the challenge?
And where does Emma Metzger fit into Will's suddenly upside-down world? Emma knows all about his troubled past and sees his hesitation to commit to his new daughter. How can she commit her heart to a man who doesn't know what the word means?
Chase always told Will, "Follow your heart. Always try to be a good man." But will following his heart be enough for his daughter, and for Emma?
The After of Us is a story about letting go of old dreams and, in the process, discovering that what you really needed to make you happy was right there in front of you all along.
If you could sum up The After of Us in three words, what would they be?
Follow Your Heart
Have you listened to any of Lacey Gilleran’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This is actually the first time I have listened to Lacey Gilleran. I thought she did a pretty good job with both the male and female voices, but probably would have preferred a male narrator for Will if possible. He just sounded too young and not masculine enough. There were a handful of times that it took me a second to figure out who was speaking. Lacey's performance as Emma, however, was wonderful.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Let Your Dreams Lead You
Any additional comments?
This was a sweet single dad romance. I haven't read the prior books in this series, but didn't have any issues getting up to speed with all the characters. Overall, I enjoyed The After of Us, but found Emma a little too forgiving and a bit like a door mat. It's hard to imagine that moments shared at a wedding when you're 15 would turn into a lasting love for her, especially considering how that encounter ended. I both loved and hated Will at times. I understand that it was critical to Will's journey to make the decisions that he did, but it was still hard to swallow his back and forth/hot and cold behavior. I would have liked more push and pull between Emma opening her heart to him versus Will pushing her away whenever things got too serious or real for him. It just felt like Emma was taking any scraps that he was willing to give. The message of following your heart and letting your dreams lead you, however, was a wonderful one and I loved that aspect of the story. It really brought the entire book full circle. This was an enjoyable book/listen and I am interested in finding out more about Chase and Kay's history as well as more backstory on Will.
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Will Gartner is finally getting his life together. After making a ton of mistakes as a teenager with alcohol and drugs he pulled himself together, went to college and is now graduating and on the road to a better future. Just as he is about to move to NYC his past comes back to bite him in a way he never expected.
Will has a five year-old daughter he never knew about and her mom is in no shape to care for her. Will is now the sole provider for Lily which is kind of comical since he barely knows how to care for himself. So on his way to NYC decides he's gonna stop in his hometown and beg his big brother to help him.
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I have been a fan of S.r. Grey's for quite a while now and I can say unabashedly that each book she publishes I think is my favorite by her. I can unequivocally say, the other books have been moved a little to almost favorites as The After of Us has now moved into the top position. Thanks to the excellent narration this book came to life for me even more than when I read the words!!
I had all the feels with this book and there were a few times I was brought to tears by this story, but in a good way. This is the story of Will Gartner, his daughter Lily (whom he's just discovered is his daughter) and Emma Metzger, the girl from his hometown that he had a crush on when they were younger.
When this book starts. Will has just graduated from college, has sweet new ride courtesy of his mom and is getting ready to head to NYC for the job of a lifetime or so he thinks. All this changes the night before he's to leave when his ex-girlfriend from high school, Cass shows up with 5 year old Lily in tow. When they were together, Will and Cassie started to go down the road of drugs and alcohol and while Will got out of that world, unfortunately, Cassie did not and it sucked her in even deeper.
Hence the reason, Will is just now learning of Lily's existence. Cassie is doing the one and only unselfish thing she's ever done, by giving Lily to Will.
Well this throws all of Will's plans out the window and he does the one thing he thinks is the answer, he and Lily go to Harmony Creek, Ohio which is where his brother, Chase and his wife Kay live with their two children Jack and Sarah. Will thinks he can just "drop" Lily off and go to NYC to get everything setup for Lily to join him. What he wasn't expecting was how much he's already fallen under Lily's spell....
“Lily sounds so forlorn that something in me swells. I don't know how to explain it, but it's like my daughter's happiness is suddenly tied to my happiness. Weird. All I know is I really want Lily to feel accepted."
And so the adventure of getting to know what kind of man and father Will Gartner is begins....
Watching Will interact with Lily and how much she has soaked into his heart and soul was truly beautiful. Ms. Grey did an amazing job of drawing the pictures with her words allowing me to picture all the players in this book.
Especially little Miss Lily. I fell in love with this little girl. What I loved even more was how Will changed once he was in Harmony Creek and began to explore what it would be like to give up what he thinks is his "dream job." In reality, he has other dreams that if he listened to his heart he'd realize everything he's looking for is right in front of him.
Speaking of which, this is where Emma comes into play. She's Lily's pre-school teacher and she's never forgotten Will Gartner and how much she liked him. They've both changed since they last saw each other and their attraction is still there. Of course, Emma doesn't want to take that leap with him because he's planning on leaving and that's just not something she wants to entertain. But that doesn't stop her from trying to make Will's dream come true. She's quite ingenious in her methods...gotta love a woman who goes after what she really wants. Because as much as she's doing this for Will, she's doing it for her too.
She's definitely not the shy and quiet type of woman when it comes to having sex...she's quite the participant that's for sure. In one particularly hot and steamy scene Emma comes to a realization....
“This is the after of us from before, who we were, and we are becoming.”
As the book progresses, the story moves with such grace and ease that I fell more in love with these characters and what they mean to each other and how their lives could potentially be their forever.
Ms. Grey has a way with her words that draws you into the heart of the story which allows you to really "be there."
What made the experience of listening to The After of Us the most enjoyable?
It brought the story to life for me.
What did you like best about this story?
The overall storyline was strong and fast paced. It was totally enjoyable.
What does Lacey Gilleran bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Her inflections and just the way she can pull you into the book with her voice.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Will is a bachelor, living his life with very few cares. When a daughter is dumped literally in his lap, his whole world changes. As he struggles through learning fathering on the fly, he truly becomes an amazing man.
I found myself wishing there were more men like Will. More stand up dads who want to be a part of their kids lives. What a difference it made to Lily, and to Will and his family. Emma, who had always loved Will from high school even changed her thoughts about Will as he continually put Lily first.
This is a feel good story about a new dad finding his way. It shows how one small act can change your life for the better. It truly is an amazing, must read story.
Lacey Gilleran is a perfect narrator for this romance. Her soft, sweet voice really helped bring the characters to life. The different tones she used for each character enhanced the story. Lacey made the story become a movie in my mind, one that I could not stop until the end.
I do not listen to many "coming of age" books, but this one was exceptionally well done. I loved how Will matured and learned to put his daughter first. Finding out he was a father was an eye-opener for him, but he made a commitment to do right. The author wrote some very endearing characters and realistic emotions and great imagery in this book. This book is a standalone listen. I was given this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I thought the narrator did a very good performance, but didn't have as much distinguishable characters.
I love this story. At first I wasn't sure about audio books, but as l continued thru I fell for the characters and the real life feel of the story. Im glad I continued to listen. Would recommend this story.
I loved this audio book. The narrative was great. I also loved the story. so worth the listen
What a cute story. I didn’t really read the blurb so I went in blind. I thought this was such a good story it had funny parts, sad parts and I love the chemistry between Will and Emma. I enjoyed it all the way through. The narration was also enjoyable as well.
This is more like a 3.5 for me, but I bumped it up to a 4 because the writing is good and the story is interesting. Where the story fell short for me is in the relationship between Will and Emma. I didn't feel the connection between them, and I didn't really get why Emma was so hung up on Will. I felt like Will could be totally horrible to Emma, and she would go crawling back to him, so I wanted more depth to their connection. They do have some sweet moments, and Will is a nice guy for the most part. He's not quite book boyfriend material for me, but he wants to be a good guy, so he gets points from me. Will's druggie ex-girlfriend shows up and drops a 5 year old daughter off with him that he didn't know about, and he handles it pretty well. Will used to be a major partier and did some drugs, but he went to college and grew up a bit. He's still unsure of himself though, and there is a going away party scene towards the beginning of the book that put him in a negative light for me. So anyway, Will has a fancy new job waiting for him, but now that he has a daughter, he doesn't quite know what to do. Will is still a young guy; he's 22, so he's still immature at times, and makes decisions that reflect that. He does make some good decisions at other times though, so he's not too bad. Will met Emma when he was a teenager, but they don't end things in a good place. When Will meets Emma again, the connection the two feel for each other draws them together, but Will is still on shaky ground, so these 2 have some obstacles to get through if they want to be happy. There's a couple sexy times in this book, I didn't enjoy the one at the beginning party, but I liked the other ones. I liked Emma and Will, and I liked the addition of Will's brother and his family. The story is mainly told in Will's POV with a bit from Emma's POV. I listened to the audiobook version of this story, and thought the narrator did a good job, but maybe since the bulk of the book is Will's POV, it might've been nice to have a male narrator. I still really enjoyed the listening experience though, and I'd listen to another audiobook with the same narrator. So, all in all, a good entertaining story, and the writing style worked for me. I enjoy S.R. Grey's writing, so I'll definitely be continuing with her books!