Published by Dreamscape Media on September 8th, 2015 (First published on July 1st, 2014)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
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From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as "moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching"—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.
I have so many mixed thoughts and emotions about this book. There’s a part of me that loved it. And then there’s the other part of me that has me shaking my head at the events of the story and asking, “how does this even make sense!?”
What I loved
I saw a lot of myself in Lauren. Having been through almost the exact situation she and Ryan are in, I was able to connect and agree with her a lot. It was eye-opening; because I didn’t feel so alone. It honestly felt like Taylor plucked all my thoughts, emotions and fears from my brain and wrote them all down. Several times, I had to pause the book because there was just too much noise and I didn’t want to hear out loud what I went through, in someone else. It’s really hard to explain but that is how I felt.
There were also parts from Ryan’s perspective that we get a glimpse of I was often asking my husband, “Is this how you felt?” And 99% of the time, it was a sound YES. It really opened up my mind to the fact that I wasn’t the only one suffering, and it opened up a few conversations with us that we were able to hash out. Not that our issues weren’t resolved because they are, but when more doors open, you see more and want to understand what you are seeing.
I also loved the beginning, seeing when they fell in love and how things slowly started to go downhill. It made me look back on my own marriage to see if I could pick out the different trials, situations or conversations that led us to get to where we were at that time.
While I didn’t agree with the way they handled their situation, more on that below, I loved seeing Lauren grow into her own again. She had a whole new perspective on life, love and relationships and it was a beautiful thing to witness.
What I didn’t understand
One major part of the book was both characters claiming to not love on another anymore. I am a firm believer that you never stop loving someone. Can you fall out of love? Yes. But there will always be a part of you that loves them, in some way. So I didn’t understand why that was their first thought. And since it was, why spending a year apart without even talking would make you love the other again? It doesn’t add up, or make sense to me.
There’s the whole, absence makes the heart go fonder thing, but having spent a year apart from my husband while he was in Iraq, that was never an option for me, and never even ONCE crossed my mind during that time we were having problems. That year was hard and we both grew SO MUCH individually, things were not easy when he came back. Communication is HUGE. How are you able to work on your relationship if there is no communication? Seeing other people isn’t going to solve anything.
There’s more there I want to discuss, but I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone.
I’m finding I’m relatively happy with most narrators. I always feared that hearing the narrator as one character would always make me think of that character while listening to other books, but I’ve gotten better at separating the two. This was my first Tara Sands book, and I adored her narration. She’s a very popular narrator; seeing so many of works while browsing Audible, and I would not hesitate to listen to her again.
All in All – I did enjoy After I Do, a lot more than I thought I would. While yes, I wasn’t onboard with how the characters handled their situation, it opened my mind a little bit as to how others feel they need to deal with it. It’s an important book; one that makes you see things from many perspectives and opens up a lot of discussion with your partner, well everyone really, about love and relationships. I recommend it!
Tell me your thoughts
- Have you read After I Do? If so, what did you think? Did you agree or disagree with how Lauren and Ryan handled their marital problems?
- If not, does it sound like something you would read?
- What’s a book that opened your mind to how others handle love and relationships?
Tonyalee is an avid reader, gym junkie, coffee addicted workaholic, and blogger. Be sure to follow on Twitter & Instagram for random shenanigans.