Tuesday 4 February 2014


Book review: After I Left You by Alison Mercer

My edition: Paperback, published on 30th January 2014 in ebook (and to be published on 31st July 2014 as paperback) by Black Swan, 432 pages.

Description: Anna has not been back to Oxford since her last summer at university, seventeen years ago. She tries not to think about her time there, or the tightly knit group of friends she once thought would be hers forever. She has almost forgotten the fierce sting of betrayal, the heartache, the secret she carries around with her, the last night she spent with them all.

Then a chance meeting on a rainy day in London brings her past tumbling back into her present, and Anna is faced with remembering the events of that summer and the people she left behind. As Anna realises that the events of their past have shaped the people they've all become, hope begins to blossom for what the future could hold . . .


Anna hasn't seen the friends from her days at Oxford since graduating from university nearly two decades before. She has tried her hardest to put that part of her life behind her but when she bumps into old flame Victor, lingering feelings instantly bubble up and the past she so desperately tried to forget about comes tumbling back and crashing into the rather dull but safe life she has build for herself. The unexpected meeting and the emotional impact it has on her leave her with no other choice than to finally face that which made her run away from her old life in the first place.

Through flashbacks and the reconnection of Anna to some of her old friends, author Alison Mercer weaves an intricate web of intrigue and secrets which has the reader gripped from the moment they venture into Anna's past. Even though the major event alluded to throughout the novel was one I saw coming from the very first moment it was mentioned on the page, there were still plenty of unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. One in particular took me by surprise but certainly explained Anna's more than hesitant attitude towards one of the people she cut off contact with.

The close knit friends made for an unusual group of people to bond so quickly and so intensely, yet their inseparability also made perfect sense. On their own feet for the first time in their young lives they needed each other to lean on and to make sense of the harder parts of growing up and being independent. This in particular made it so profound that Anna cut all ties straight after graduation and it meant that nearly twenty years later she was still struggling to find her own place in the world.

Even if the reader's own university days weren't quite as tumultuous as Anna's, it isn't difficult to understand the conflicting feelings and other issues she's struggling with. The strong emotions that go hand in hand with first love and the transition from adolescence to adulthood were portrayed very realistically and were easy to identify with, making this a very relatable contemporary novel. Add to that a healthy dose of intrigue and you've got yourself a riveting read which will have any reader hooked until the final page.

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Blog: alisonmercerwriter.com

Twitter: @AlisonLMercer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlisonMercerwriter

Many thanks to the publisher for a proof copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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