2018 Reviews · contemporary fiction · Guest Review · Mrs R Review

Guest Book Review: The After Wife by Cass Hunter

Title: The After Wife the after wife small

Author: Cass Hunter

Published: March 27th 2018

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 304

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

The next word-of-mouth bestseller about a family given a second chance to reconnect with the woman they loved and lost.

‘It was original, beautiful, moving and insanely addictive – I wept and I laughed and I will be recommending it to everyone I know.’ Katie Marsh
“I saw you, and I knew instantly that I could grow old with you. We’d be future-proof.”
When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.
She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband.
Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.
But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death.

A gift called iRachel.

The After Wife is an emotional story about love, loss, longing and belonging. For readers who loved The Time Traveller’s WifeMe Before You and The Lovely Bones.

Mrs R’s Review:

The After Wife is the latest contemporary, thought provoking novel from British author,
Cass Hunter. Told from multiple points of view in the third person, it deals with the relevant and significant issues facing modern society today of AI technology, family and death. Hunter demonstrates through her characters the benefits and disadvantages of where humans are heading using AI and the impact it can have. She doesn’t provide an answer or make a judgement on the use of technology. Rather, Hunter leaves the reader with many questions as we face a future that is rapidly changing.

At the heart of the The After Wife is a husband and wife team who have been married for
18 years, who both get to tell their story in the third person. During this time, Rachel and
Aidan have become a family with the birth of their now teenage daughter, Chloe. Rachel is a whirlwind of a woman; passionate about her job as a scientist and her family, she is always on the move as her mind works at a million miles an hour. As a scientist, Rachel is secretly developing a robot that can learn and empathise with her colleague Luke. Named iRachel, the robot has been built to look like Rachel herself. iRachel remains unknown to everyone but Rachel and Luke until an untimely accident.

The saying that opposites attract is adept for Rachel and Aidan. Aiden works for an
organisation that helps unemployed people upskill to get a job. He has stepped aside to let Rachel pursue her dreams and has happily become the main caregiver for Chloe. Aidan is more thoughtful than Rachel and takes his time when decisions need to be made. In allowing Rachel to shine though, Aidan has put aside his own desires. Unknown to Aidan, iRachel will change his life at a crucial time.

Rachel and Aidan’s 15 year old daughter, Chloe, is a combination of her two parents.
Intellectual like her mother but reluctant to show her full potential, Chloe is experiencing a crush for the first time where her feelings may be reciprocated. Reading her chapters are a throwback to the readers teenage years but iRachel brings new challenges to face that readers could have never imagined.

Two other narrators have sporadic chapters in The After Wife that provide the reader with a unique insight. The first is Rachel’s colleague, Luke, who was difficult to warm to. With his limited social skills, it was evident from the start that he had an unrequited crush on Rachel, which made things intentionally awkward between Rachel and Aidan. The other character is Aidan’s mother, Sinead, who was in a league all of her own. A woman deserted by her husband, Sinead was forced to raise Aidan alone, making her a practical mother. Perhaps fearing being hurt by those she loves, Sinead is a distant and unaffectionate person, even towards her own grandchildren. Dementia changes everything and through Sinead, Hunter explores how AI can be of benefit to those suffering with this debilitating disease.

The last, completely unexpected, character is iRachel. iRachel begins her chapters as a
report, making for very factual reading. When she moves into the family house, iRachel
becomes more human as do her chapters, until it is difficult to distinguish between AI and human. iRachel changes the dynamics in the household. Chloe is able to accept iRachel more readily than her father as iRachel is a different personality to her mother. Aidan finds it harder as he struggles to separate iRachel from Rachel. With Sinead battling with demeintia, she knows that something is not right with iRachel but is unable to pinpoint why.

With a variety of well developed characters and challenging storyline, The After Wife is a
step into the future for those who dare!

The After Wife by Cass Hunter was published on 27th March 2018 by Hachette  Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The After Wife, Cass Hunter, visit here.


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