There is a real morbid side to me. I love stories about death and serial killers. When I was offered the chance to review a book called After the Funeral*, I jumped at the chance. There was just something creepy about the title. I wasn’t disappointed. This book kept me on the edge.
After the Funeral by Gillian Poucher hints at a terrible family secret for Julia Butler after a stranger approaches her at her mother’s funeral. It comes at a bad time for Julia who is already at breaking point following a split from her cheating partner and the prospect of a childless future. However, could a war-time entry in her mother’s diary about a love affair be what she needs to put the ghosts of her past to rest?
Starting the book with a funeral sets up a dreary tone for the rest of the story. I loved it! It adds to the uneasiness of Linda, the stranger who hints at a family secret. I actually really enjoyed Linda’s character because she kept me on my toes. I wanted to know who this pushy woman was. The closer she got to Julia the more suspicious I became of her motives. At on point I even started to fear for Julia’s life. It added great suspense.
Julia wasn’t my favourite character. She was a bit uptight and hard to relate to. However, I loved the fact that she was an older character, 49 to be precise. It was more interesting seeing how she reacted to the trauma of her life. The author did a great job of describing Julia’s stress levels and I was just waiting for the point when she would boil over.
One thing I really didn’t see the point of with Julia’s character was her relationship with ex-partner Greg. My reasoning is that, because he was such a horrible person, he served the purpose of showing just how close Julia was to the edge. I mean, there is no denying that this woman was pretty hard done by. However, I felt at times I could have done with less of her woe and more of Linda’s story.
Overall, the suspense in After the Funeral was pretty up and down. Likewise, there were some coincidences that happened throughout the story that were a bit too much on the unbelievable side. Nevertheless, the author did a really great job of unraveling a family secret, while also touching on difficult subjects like mental health and postpartum psychosis. I could forgive any dips in a book that brought such important topics into the spotlight.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.