*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Walter Augustus is dead. His current state of existence has become a monotony of sweet tea and lonely strolls and after decades stuck in the Interim — a posthumous waiting room for those still remembered on Earth — he is ready to move on. Only when he is forgotten by every living person will he be able to pass over and join his family in the next stage of the afterlife. At last the end is tantalizingly close, but bad luck and a few rash decisions may see him trapped in the Interim for all eternity.
Letty Ferguson is not dead. Letty Ferguson is a middle-aged shoe saleswoman who leads a pleasant and wholly unextraordinary life, barring the secret fortune she seems unable to tell her husband about. However, when she takes possession of an unassuming poetry anthology, life takes on a rather more extraordinary dimension.
I love this book!
For the first few chapters I was reminded of Mitch Albom’s afterlife life-lesson stories, but Hannah Lynn quickly found her feet and her own distinctive style which is lighter and masks the moral education with a thick icing of entertainment.
Walter and Letty are both very believable characters (although I did have to suspend disbelief and huge chunks of envy at Letty’s money problem). Obviously the story deals with the afterlife, or more accurately the interim period between life and the afterlife, and therefore the realism would be very dependent on your personal beliefs! Lynn does not push the religious aspect, but rather creates a fresh setting full of imaginative possibilities that intersects with her ‘real world’ in recognisable ways (poltergeist activity, Ouija boards and so forth).
There is a bit of everything here: some action and mild peril, some romance, some mystery and a certain family member that makes you want to throw a shoe as you read! The plot starts quite slowly, but once Letty finds the poetry book things soon pick up pace and by the climax I was on the edge of my seat. I had a particular soft spot for a bad-tempered, animal-loving character and found the ending of the novel both touching and satisfying. I may have had a little tear, as well as a chuckle.
The aftermath of The Afterlife of Walter Augustus had me thinking deeply about patience, honesty, priorities and how I interact with the people around me. It also left a warm glow for me in my thoughts about the loss of loved ones (Disclaimer: I am not religious) and the interaction in how we remember them.
I can recommend this to anyone who likes a warm, light, easy read with tons of heart and soul!
In the mid 1800s – when Walter James Augustus had been at the pinnacle of his living existence – he, like those around him, held to the concept of a finite life and an infinite afterlife, be it eternal bliss or equally, if not more so eternal, damnation. His belief was perhaps slightly weaker than those around him; he would not feel the need to chastise himself too greatly should he forget an evening’s prayer for instance, yet he never considered allowing his children to forgo their prayers, just in case. Like his fellow men, he had believed – somewhat naively, he now realised – that his passing would take him to his final resting place, where he would spend all eternity surrounded by those he loved. If only it were that straightforward.
– Hannah Lynn, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus
The Afterlife of Walter Augustus is available on Amazon right now, and is only 99p until the 31st July 2018!
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