July 3, 2012

Early Review: The After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Excerpt here
Release Date: July 12, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
L.A. is no place for widows. This is what forty-four-year-old Hannah Bernal quickly discovers after the tragic death of her handsome and loving husband, John. Misery and red-rimmed eyes are little tolerated in the land of the beautiful. But life stumbles on: Hannah’s sweet three-year-old daughter, Ellie, needs to be dropped off at her overpriced preschool, while Hannah herself must get back to work in order to pay the bills on “Casa Sugar,” the charming Spanish-styled bungalow they call home.

One night, standing in her backyard under a majestic avocado tree, in the throes of grief, Hannah breaks down and asks, “Why?” The answer that comes back—Why not?—begins an astounding journey of discovery and transformation that leads Hannah to her own truly extraordinary life after death.

THE AFTER WIFE is the funniest sob story I have ever read! Here we follow Hannah's road to accepting her beloved husband's abrupt death with the help of The Grief Team, several bottles of wine and a series of therapeutic sessions with the dead. Set in the sunny and palm-laden city of Santa Monica, CA, THE AFTER WIFE is like Sex in the City meets Ghost Whisperer complete with unbreakable friendships, heartbreaks, sexual liaisons and I-see-dead-people moments written candidly with lots of unforgettable dialogue between Hannah and her friends.

After a brief prologue, the story opens with Hannah's last morning with John. GLGrazer beautifully illustrates how content and very much in love Hannah and John is and despite being married for 10 years it seems like the honeymoon stage is far from over. Then a freak accident happens that took John's life and the world as Hannah knows it comes crashing down. After John passes she finally seeks the cracks of their seemingly perfect life and now it's up to her to mend it and recreate a life for her and their daughter, Ellie.
I had been the one to die, Ellie's life would continue relatively smoothly. But I wasn't. I was left here to pick up the pieces.
THE AFTER WIFE is a very touching and emotional satire of a widow's journey back to Life. Hannah's strength lies in her grief and vulnerabilities, being a widow is devastating but GLGrazer  managed to show us a different approach and attitude towards death through Hannah's eyes. The Grief Team is the source of much laughter for me, they have noble intentions but their helpful advice and careful assistance often turns into a comedy of errors. They had Hannah do a parade of "widow activities" ranging from a V-steam (vagina steam) session to keep her tight "down there", a colonic cleansing spa getaway where they met a handsome outlaw, widow support groups for lesbians, hiring a gorgeous Manny, seance sessions to open her chakras and boy did that session unleash Hannah's inner Melinda Clarke and thus started her dialogue with the dead.
Don't be jealous, someday you'll love somebody with all your heart. And then, he'll die on you too.
At first I was skeptical about the Ghost Whisperer-like twist in the story even thinking that maybe Hannah is having a breakdown and unraveling because of too much grief. But GLGrazer wrote it in a very laid-back and humorous sort of way that in the end THE AFTER WIFE became a heartwarming comedy sure to make you laugh and cry at the same time. This is a recommended summer read.


  1. I about cried just reading your review. Oh, I really did cry. Things like this always get to me. If you haven't read To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell I suggest it b/c it is a tearjerker but the story was so good I just cried and laughed through the whole things as well. :o)

    1. Some people love erotica, chick lit is my guilty pleasure. I have to check To the Moon and Back if it's anything like this. Thanks Amanda!

  2. I liked the first quote in your review >.< This one's going on my tbr list for sure :P great review Braine :)

    1. Don't let the dramatic quote fool you, she also said "As much as I love you, I'm not going to steam my vagina for you" or something like that. But yeah, this is a super funny story.


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