March 20

After The Storm – Jane Lythell

After The StormSome secrets destroy you.

Rob and Anna have only just met Owen and Kim. Now they’ve boarded their handsome old boat to travel to a far off island in the Caribbean.

With only the four of them on board, it should be paradise: lazy afternoons spent snorkelling; long nights enjoying the silence and solitude of the sea.

But why does Owen never sleep? Why is he so secretive about his past? And why does Kim keep a knife zipped into her money-belt? Anna can usually get people to talk… but this time, does she want to?


Many thanks to Head of Zeus for my review copy.


Two couples on a boat in the Caribbean. They all have their emotional baggage, they do not all get on and at least two of the four characters do not want to be on the boat. Clearly there are going to be conflicts and clashes in After The Storm.

Having read the book over the last couple of days I think that this one may split the crowd. There are a lot of positive elements, however, I am not sure it will float everyone’s boat (sorry, sorry – terrible pun).

From the outset of the story Jane Lythell is building up the tension between her four key characters (Owen, Kim, Rob and Anna). For the majority of the book she places the two couples in the close confines of a dilapidated boat which is sailing around Caribbean Islands. Living in each other’s pockets for several days at sea places a strain on these four relative strangers and it is interesting to see how the author changed the group dynamics as the story progresses.

But as I read I kept waiting for something to happen. More tension was built up but still no trigger events. The boat docks on an island and the couples part for a while only to reunite when the tension level between them has simmered back down.   Repeat the slow build towards an inevitable explosion.

As the reader reaches the end of the novel we get the payoff. All the doubts and suspicions come to the fore, unexpected external factors suddenly play a significant role and everything kicks off. There are revelations which will shock and there are others which were clearly signposted from early in the book. It will either grab you and keep you flicking the pages to find what happens to our couples – or you will plod to the end just to see where the payoff was coming from.

I am afraid that I was not wowed by After The Storm and I only kept going as I was interested to see what would finally trigger the finale. In contrast (and I HAVE to mention this) I spoke with a friend who has also read the book and she thought it was magnificent – loved the characters, was distressed by some developments and was devastated when the book ended. As I said – a crowd splitter.

Not for me but I loved the Caribbean setting and I thought the author captured the setting and majesty of the islands brilliantly.


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Posted March 20, 2015 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf", "From The Bookshelf