Book Review | Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

12 July 2017

| goodreads |
Imagine a book that is one part Downton Abbey and one part Groundhog Day (or Before I Fall. or any story where you are reliving the same things over and over again) and that is what sort of book Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is.
This story is as charming as it is haunting as it follows Ursula Todd and the many lives she lives. Every time Ursula dies, since she was first born in 1910 as a stillborn, her life begins again, like death is nothing more than a reset button for her.

It's a really interesting and thought provoking read. It's astonishing to see how extremely different Ursula's lives are one after the other. This book makes you think deeply about how each tiny choice you make or experience you have can affect who you are and who you will eventually become.

The writing was absolutely breathtaking! Kate Atkinson's style was unlike anything I've ever read. It envelopes you and pulls you in. I also really really loved the atmosphere she created with the time period, jumping between the two World Wars in an English setting. Throughout all of Ursula's lives, the reader is able to see the war through the eyes of so many people, which is what I liked the most about this book.

There are so so many characters that come in and out of all of Ursula's stories, and they are all important in some shape or form. I especially found Sylvie and Teddy to be interesting, and I wanted to delve deeper into who they were and what was happening to them. I felt like in the end a lot of questions about several characters were left a little open ended.

While I did enjoy this book for the most part, it did fall flat in some ways for me. The main thing was that it is an extremely slow read. I don't usually mind slow reads, but this book dragged on and on and on in some areas. It was very weak plot-wise. There was no grand adventure or mission or discovery that was guiding the story. You're literally just reading about Ursula's different lives over and over and over again. The writing kept me going, but I couldn't help but want a little more, especially since I love books that have a rich and detailed plot.

I found Ursula's character to be frustrating at times. She was extremely naïve about a lot of things which led to very bad situations (major trigger warnings for abuse with this one). Overall I didn't feel as interested in Ursula as I was with other characters in the book as I was reading.

The biggest problem I had, however, was the ending. It just sort of ended. I wanted more closure. I wanted to know if Ursula would ever die peacefully and normally, or if she would finally come to realize the fact that her life is an endless cycle.

I wanted this book to become a new favorite. I loved the premise, the writing was absolutely phenomenal, and it is definitely a perfect cozy rainy-day read. I just had a couple of problems with it personally that I would've changed.
“What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right? Wouldn't that be wonderful?” 
― Kate AtkinsonLife After Life


  1. That sounds like an interesting book (besides the slow parts and such that you mentioned). Lovely review, Hannah! : )

    1. Thank you Danielle. It is definitely an interesting book!

  2. I'll definitely have to check this book out further! Thanks for introducing it to me, and for an awesome review!

    I'm new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I'd love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Hey Breeny! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I'll be more than happy to check out your blog and your reviews. Maybe in the future I'll have to do a post all about how I do my book reviews. :)

  3. THIS IS SUCH AN INTERESTING IDEA FOR A BOOK WOW. But I can definitely relate to that feeling of the premise not living up to its full potential. :') ah well. THE COVER ART IS BEAUTIFUL SOOOOO....

    *is unashamedly shallow*

    rock on,

    1. It's disappointing sometimes, but I was still able to enjoy it.
      And YES intense cover love! All readers are shallow when it comes to covers, whether they admit it or not. No shame!