cover image Afterwife


Polly Williams. Berkley, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-25943-6

British chick lit meets tragedy in this emotionally wrenching tale by Williams (Yummy Mummy), published last year in Britain as The Angel at No. 33. Vivacious Sophie Brady is having a girls’ night out with her best friend, Jenny Vale, when she steps into the street to hail a cab and is unceremoniously run over by a London bus while “wearing my worst knickers”—leaving behind her loving husband, Ollie, and their six-year-old son, Freddie. While the school mums rush to provide hot food and sympathy (and in the case of one divorcee, more than that), shell shocked Ollie, Freddie, and Jenny try to come to terms with the loss of Sophie. Jenny thinks she knows everything there is to know about Sophie—but it turns out that her best friend was keeping a potentially life-changing secret from her. Jenny, engaged to a divorce lawyer (“that’s just so romantic,” says a friend), also fights feelings for Ollie that go beyond friendly. Told from the first-person point of view of Sophie, with Jenny’s reactions and feelings relayed in the third-person, the story evokes intense emotions and a deep sense of caring what happens to all involved. An immensely enjoyable read. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (Jan.)