Wednesday, 1 July 2015

After Before by Jemma Wayne

During a cold, British winter, three women reach crises point. Emily, an immigrant survivor of the Rwandan genocide is existing but not living. Vera, a newly Christian Londoner is striving to live a moral life, her happiness constantly undermined by secrets from her past. Lynn, battling with untimely disease, is consumed by bitterness and resentment of what she hasn't achieved and what has been snatched from her. Each suffering their own demons, their lives have been torn open by betrayal, by other people, by themselves, by life itself.  But as their paths interweave, they begin to unravel their beleagured pasts, and inadvertently change each others futures.

I actually finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago and I have been haunted by it ever since. Usually I write a review almost immediately after reading a book but this is one that I wanted to allow to sit in my mind while I worked out how I felt about it and I really have not been able to stop thinking about the three women in this book.

Emily, Vera and Lynn are all women that I could identify with to one degree or another and I was captivated by the realism of their lives and the interconnections between them. Ms. Wayne has made them each fully rounded characters whom I really came to care about throughout my reading of this gripping novel.

I liked the way the narrative is told from the point of view of the different characters and which carries the plot along harmoniously. 

Although dealing with some difficult themes the author deals with them sensitively but without sentimentality. Intelligently written and powerful meant this is one book that kept me up reading well past my bedtime.  Simultaneously painful and uplifting this debut novel ensures that Jemma Wayne is one to watch as if her future writing is of this quality then she is on the cusp of a long and successful novel writing career.

ISBN:  978 1909878846

Publisher:  Legend Press

Price: £6.39

About the Author:  Jemma Wayne is a writer and journalist with a special interest in multi-cultural issues. Having graduated from Cambridge University in 2002 with an academic scholarship for her achievements in Social and Political Sciences, she went on to gain a Distinction in a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster, before working as a reporter for The Jewish Chronicle.

In 2004 she left the JC to pursue her own projects and six months later saw the publication of her first full-length work, Bare Necessities, published by Piatkus Books.

Jemma has since turned her attention to fiction. Her short stories have appeared in a variety of publications including Ether Books, 33 West by Limehouse Books, and Kerouac’s Dog Magazine. 
As a freelance journalist Jemma continues to contribute to various publications. In particular she has written for The Evening Standard and The Independent on Sunday, She writes a political column for the The Jewish News and is a featured blogger for The Huffington Post.

Jemma has also written for the screen, and more recently the stage. Her first play Negative Space ran at The New End Theatre, Hampstead, in September 2009 to critical acclaim. Jemma and her co-writer Rachel Sternberg are currently at work on a second stage drama.

Jemma lives in North London.

After Before, is her first novel.

You can learn more about Jemma on her website:

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