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After Before

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  48 reviews
“That was the day that Mama made the rules: If they come, run. Be quiet and run. But not together. Never together. If one is found, at least the other survives….”

During a cold, British winter, three women reach crisis point. Emily, an immigrant survivor of the Rwandan genocide is existing but not living. Vera, a newly Christian Londoner is striving to live a moral life, her
Paperback, 334 pages
Published June 1st 2014 by Legend Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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For the widow Lynn, her two sons John and Luke, as well as Lukes's fiancé, Vera, and Rwandan refugee Emily, happiness were abandoned a long time ago.

Secrets and hurt After Before, led them slowly and quietly into darkness. Mentally, emotionally, as well as physically, they were slowly dying because of the wounds from their respective pasts that were still mentally bleeding them dry.

Luke found solace in his dedication to Jesus. It did not matter how his insecurities or strong urge to contro
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Goodreads winner!

For a debut novel this book is incredibly accomplished. The author deals with many themes including: sexuality, the inevitability of death, faith in religion and depression.

The story follows the lives of three women and how their lives intertwine, in which two mutually help each other with their daemons. The book is a sad read but at the same time uplifting as we are reminded of the benefits friendship can have on the soul.

First off we have Lynne, a ter
Diane S ☔
I have decided to abandon this book unrated not because it is not well written because it is but because it is just not my kind of book.
Ashton Jade Gibbs
After Before - Jemma Wayne

I was a very lucky girl and won this book as part of a GoodReads First Reads Giveaway! #100reviewsin100days

"That was the day that Mama made the rules: If they come, run. Be quiet and run. But not together. Never together. If one is found, at least the other survives..."

After Before is not the type of book I would normally pick up and read, so I have to give a huge thank you to Legend Press and Jemma Wayne for giving away this book and giving me the opportunity to experience it!After Before is a beautifully powerful novel exploring thit!Aftersurvives..."
Janet Camilleri
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
While not a "light and fluffy" read, I enjoyed reading this book. I was particularly taken with the way the author handled the very real faith struggles of a couple of the characters. These matters of faith weren't all neatly tied up by the end of the book - but then, isn't that real life?
Liz Barnsley
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
After Before was an interesting read for me, one that I went into blind and ended up thinking was really great - multi layered, emotional and with some truly remarkable characters that kept me right in the story throughout.

The story is based around three women and is a character driven, heartfelt novel that explores many themes and is a very profound read that will have you thinking about it long after you are done. Lynn, now suffering from terminal cancer is regretful of missed oppo
Gayla Bassham
Likes: Wayne really knows her characters, and the writing is solid. She has an good observational eye for detail, which I always appreciate.

Dislikes: Implausible plotting, including one turn that infuriated me so much I had to put my Kindle aside for a while. IT MADE NO SENSE. IT WAS THREE DAYS AGO. I AM STILL MAD. Also, the fact that Wayne seems to view Luke as largely sympathetic confuses me, as I had been thinking of him as "imminently punchable." And the way that Emily's story en
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
As my very first Goodreads First Reads book, I was excited to get reading as soon as it arrived through the letterbox. Strictly based on the blurb alone, it wasn’t the type of novel that I would typically pick to read myself, but as I was lucky enough to win one I thought I should give it a go.

The style of writing takes a bit of getting used to; at times it can be a little stilted, lacking a natural flow that makes it easy to turn pages. There wasn’t the instant connection with the c
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very original and moving.
Samantha Nash
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A first time author, who entwines fabulous stories with depth and compassion.
Sam Still Reading
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: on the Baileys Prize longlist
The Baileys Prize longlist this year has been wonderful for me – without it, I would never have found the gem that is After Before by Jemma Wayne. This book is intense – it has all the feelings condensed within its pages and on finishing it, I didn’t want to leave the world it had created. The story is difficult, painful and beautiful and something you can analyse in your mind for hours afterwards. The ending is left somewhat open – we don’t know what choices the characters will make, only the d ...more
Nicole Overmoyer
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jemma Wayne took me for a ride with After Before.

There are breathtaking highs and bumpy lows in this story of three women; Lynn, a dying fifty-eight year old who gave up everything for her family, Vera, a lost late twenty-something who gave up her family, and Emilienne, a young woman who lost her entire family.

Aspects to the story make it deserving of five stars and aspects of the story make it worthy of just three stars. So I give it four stars, because the ending brought tears to my eyes an
Mary-Ann Smith
I received After Before, a while ago as a first reads book. I started it a while ago, but have recently re-picked it up and became completely engrossed by it. The pause in reading this book was not based on how engaging I found this book. But rather I was focused on other books I was reading. Once I dedicated my time to this book however, I couldn’t stop. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking out it, and it was based actually about a point of history I didn’t know about, or at least didn’t kno ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an astounding book which really gets into the skin, hearts and minds of three very different women.
Emily is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who has ended up in Britain as an immigrant refugee. Struggling to exist, never mind live, Emily is all alone and facing an ongoing battle with nightmares of the atrocities she has experienced.
Starting a new job as a cleaner in private houses brings Emily into contact with Lynn, an elderly woman with her own demons, now dying from canc
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
The subject matter of After Before is far from a barrel of laughs: genocide and terminal cancer with another harrowing event thrown in for good measure that for spoiler-free reasons I can’t elaborate on here.

As the title may suggest, this is a novel about the past and the present and the (in)ability of three women, Lynn, Vera and Emily, to overcome their personal torments and claw back (or cling to) some semblance of a life.

Each of these women has to face a certain inevit
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've always struggled to talk about books I really enjoyed in any great detail. When I dislike a book, I find it somewhat easy to identify the areas that don't work and spoilt the book for me. But when I like a book, it's hard. I want to draw love hearts around it and gush over it but I don't really know how.

Jemma Wayne's After Before is a book I love.

In After Before, Wayne gives us three women on the verge of revelation and revolution, who find themselves connecting and disconnecting
Janine Cobain
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
After Before… If you’re looking for a light cheerful read to pass some time on the beach this summer – this book isn’t for you. This is a hard read, in more ways than one.
Each of the characters is given such depth that you are drawn in and experience their circumstances first hand; Vera, striving to be good and present a clean, God-fearing image while her past bubbles inside, threatening her mental stability with each rhyme she recites; Lynne, trying to come to terms with the loss of herself th
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
After Before by Jemma Wayne is a searing, tender and stunning novel which tells the stories of three women whose lives are inexorably intertwined by a twist of fate. It is a surprise and a telling-experience to read about how these three vastly different women with secrets of their own struggle through life, and ultimately found peace and redemption.

We are first introduced to Emily, who is a Rwandan genocide survivor. Living as a refugee, the dark and horrendous memories of her past
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a very moving, powerful read of three women who all have demons in their past to face. The premise of the story is secrets, secrets that eat you up inside unless you tell someone and achieve salvation, forgiveness or just plain peace of mind.

Lynn has terminal cancer. She is a widow and mother to Luke and John who devoted her whole adult life to being a wife and mother. Now she regrets missing out on a career. Vera is engaged to Luke. She also has a dark secret in her past, so
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, 2014, e-book
Emily is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Vera is newly engaged, a recent convert to her fiancé’s religion and a recovered addict. Lynn is dying, a bitter and resentful woman. These three distinctly different women’s lives are soon to become intertwined. Vera’s fiancé is Lynn’s son and Emily becomes Lynn’s carer.

Through the narrative we discover the afters and befores of each of these women’s lives. Emily’s story is by far the most compelling. She has watched her family die as fri
Won this on a Goodreads Giveaway.

Now this is a strangely powerful and emotional book that creeps up on you with its sheen of normalcy over dark and deadly secrets that never fully resolve themselves. The book revolves around three very different women who have a lot in common. Firstly we meet Vera a born again Christian with a loving fiance and a wild past with a heart-breaking secret. Vera seems rather shallow at first but you gradually find that there is a lot more to her than meet
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Anderson
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The question of how to reconcile the past is at the centre of Jemma Wayne’s debut novel “After Before”. What’s fascinating about this book is the way the author approaches this dilemma through the lives of three very different kinds of women. Emily is a young, Rwandan-born woman living in England. She struggles to survive on low-paid work and lives in social housing. Having abandoned her real name Emilienne because English people have difficulty pronouncing it, she’s effectively invented herself ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gloria by: Goodreads friend
After Before, is surprisingly, Jemma Wayne’s debut novel.

It tells the story of three women, of different ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, living in London. All three have a ‘Before’ which has had a devastating affect on their ‘After’. Surprisingly they ‘come together’ and have a profound on each others lives.

Emily, is a Rwandan genocide survivor. Vera, who has become a ‘Christian’, is engaged to Luke, also very involved in religion. Vera is tormented by haun
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads

for #100reviewsin100days

I received After Before from the Goodreads First Reads scheme.

This is a beautiful book, full of believable characters and full of emotion.

This review is Spoiler Free and will also be available on my tumblr.

Emily- a survivor of Rwandan genocide slowly relearning to live her life. She becomes a carer to Lynn. Her charact
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
The cover drew be in first, then the title, and finally after reading the story outline I knew I wanted to read After Before.

Not having read anything written by Jemma Wayne, I did not know what to expect. However, on starting the book, I found that I could not put it down, and found life getting in the way of reading it.

The story of three women's lives that become entwined was one that brought a smile to my face. Lynn a mother and matriarch, Emily a refugee from Rwanda, a
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of three women. Emily is an immigrant survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Vera is a new Christian who is trying to live a good life but her secret past threatens that. Lynn is battling a fatal disease and is bitter because of her choices in life. The story centres around their attempts to come to terms with their lives. It is beautifully written and I had a good cry at the end. Books don't make me cry very often but this one felt so real and bittersweet. This is the first book by ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received a free review copy of this book from goodreads first reads.

This is a difficult book to rate as the writing is good and the author clearly is talented. My problem with it was I didn't like any of the characters apart from Emily. If the book had been about her story alone recovering from the Rwandan genocide, I think it would have been a better book, as I looked forward to Emily's story coming round in the book.

The ending was disappointing with many major things
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
(No Spoilers)
I received this book as part of a goodreads giveaway.

This is a beautifully written book, about three women's interweaving stories. The main body of the story is set in the modern day with flashbacks as plot-points and interactions important connections are revealed. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a fairly quick read with an interesting, engaging and, at times, unsettling story.

The Rwandan passages are what really sets this book apart
Emma Bull
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway-wins

I found this book to be moving and well written. I like how the author slowly brings the stories of the three women out. The only reason I gave this four stars is because I felt she left the tale hanging. An extra chapter or two to tie up a few unanswered questions would have been great. I don't like books that give you a taster of how it turns out and asks you to imagine what the next moves are. But other than that, it was a good read. Just do
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Born to an American musician father, and English mother, Jemma grew up in leafy Hertfordshire and studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster. She began her career as a journalist at The Jewish Chronicle and now works freelance splitting her time between journalism, writing for stage, and prose. Her first play, Negative Sp ...more
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