Title: After I Do
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Atria an imprint of Simon & Schuster
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.
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Patricia’s 5 Star Review
After I Do takes you on a journey through the relationship highs and lows of Lauren and Ryan. It starts out by providing the back story of how they met, fell in love, and ultimately solidified their relationship with a marriage. After the wedding vows were spoken and the honeymoon phase was over, what Ryan and Lauren found was not the happily ever after they envisioned.
“… what hurts the most is when someone does something out of apathy.”
Instead, they reached a point in their marriage where they were indifferent towards one another. There was no conviction, no drive, and no desire. They were simply two individuals cohabitating under the same roof and barely acknowledging each other’s presence. While it was an ugly thing to see unfold, they finally acknowledged the impasse of their relationship.
“…the evidence of how ugly our marriage has become and yet proof that we are tied to each other. We can hate and love, miss and loathe each other all within the same breathe. We can never want to see each other again while never wanting to let go.”
As their marriage hung in the balance, Ryan and Lauren chose to navigate a year apart in the hopes that they could rediscover the love that once knew no bounds. After all, marriage is what happens after you say I do.
I love to read about the chase. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. Part of my love of the chase is the happily ever after that you hope ensues. Most books will end with some derivative of that as it provides closure for the reader as well as the author. However, most stories I have read don’t take on what happens after the pursuit, the engagement, and the wedding like this story does.
There is no significant event the leads to the demise of Lauren and Ryan’s marriage. It’s somewhat of a normal progression of time between two people in a long term committed relationship. Sadly, it’s something my girlfriends and I have discussed countless times through the last 15+ years of married life.
I have never read a book that hit so close to home and touched me the way this story did. While I normally feel like an outsider observing a story as it unfolds, I felt a connection to Lauren and it was an eerie feeling to read about things that were so sadly familiar. My heart ached for both Ryan and Lauren as I watched their marriage crumble and their love atrophy. While their course of action may have been unconventional, it was necessary for them to take some time away from each other. In doing so, it gave Lauren and Ryan an opportunity to see things through different eyes.
I admired them both for taking such a drastic step to save their marriage. While some may view it as an evasion of the issue, I saw it as a significant step towards restoring their relationship. This story was heartbreaking, heartwarming and funny. It made me cry, smile and laugh, and I enjoyed every moment of the story. While it was my first book from Taylor, it most certainly will not be my last.
Whether you are single, married, or in a long term committed relationship, this book can be enjoyed by all readers who enjoy romance and all that it entails.
**Complimentary Copy provided by the Publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Taylor Jenkins Reid is from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston in 2005. She worked in entertainment and education before becoming a writer. In 2012, she signed a two book deal with Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Her first novel,Forever, Interrupted, is out now. Her second novel, After I Do, comes out July 1st, 2014. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit.