Book Review: Life After Yes

Life After Yes is the debut novel by Aidan Donnelly Rowley, who also blogs over on Ivy League Insecurities.  Somehow I missed her blog until I discovered the book, but it turned out to be a great read as well and is now loaded into my Google Reader.

This book caught my eye while searching for vacation reading at Target.  It wasn’t the pretty cover that pulled me in, however, it was the title.  I picked up the book because I dread reading books where I can predict the ending, and I correctly guessed this story would twist and turn in unforseen ways. 

Life After Yes is the story of Prudence Quinn O’Malley, who hates the idea of being prudent so much that she insists on being called Quinn.  Newly engaged, Quinn isn’t having the reaction expected of a bride.  First, she has a panic-inducing dream where she walks down the aisle to find three grooms (amongst interesting appearances by Britney and Nietzsche).  Quinn doesn’t pour over bridal magazines like a newly-minted bride-to-be.  She dreads picking out her wedding gown and has let the groom pick the wedding venue.  That’s the least of her problems though when she keeps finding herself attracted to other men: a guy at work, then her former boyfriend.  Add to it that she’s also still grieving over the loss of her father on September 11th, and Quinn is at a confusing crossroads in her life. 

Quinn is engaging and wonderfully flawed. Every woman will find some piece of herself in Quinn.  I was hooked when the back cover revealed she was a young lawyer, but that became the least of what made Quinn irresistable once I began reading.  Equally engaging was her hilarious, say-exactly-what-she-thinks (no matter how inappropriate) friend and colleague, Kayla, who I think deserves a novel of her own!    

I knew I would love Rowley as soon as I read the quotes that preceed the book’s beginning, which explain that she chose to break the “rule” that you don’t start a novel with a dream sequence.  She stubbornly (I would imagine) refused to follow the “rules” because this is where she thought Quinn’s story began.  She was right.

I also love to read novels told in the first person. Rowley does a great job of letting us inside Quinn’s head, while also developing all of the other characters into complex and engaging individuals. Not an easy feat when writing in first person!

I finished this one in 48 hours and would definitely recommend it to friends.  I’ll be adding Rowley to my list of attorneys-turned-authors (others include Kristin Hannah and Emily Giffin) that I can’t seem to resist!

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