After You Left
A writer of compelling insight, with a gritty yet humorous edge. — The Daily Mirror
Mason’s writing is absorbing. While reading a spicy bit about Leigh’s affair while taking the bus to work, I rode past my stop.— Vancouver Sun
What really goes on behind closed doors? Carol Mason unlocks life behind a marriage in this strong debut. — Heat Magazine
This poignant novel deals with honesty, forgiveness, love and the realities of modern-day marriage.— Notebook Magazine, Australia
A grand little book for the festive fireside.— Irish Evening Herald
Full of realistic emotional twists. There is a refreshing honesty about the numbness that comes from discovering an infidelity and the shame that comes with perpetrating one.— The Telegraph, UK
A bittersweet narrative and ambiguous outcomes make this much grittier and more substantial than standard chick-lit fare.— The Financial Times
I enjoyed this novel hugely. Wise, thought-provoking, and elegantly written, the parallel stories of Alice and Evelyn explore how we grieve the living every bit as much as the dead. Highly recommended. — Louise Candlish, bestselling author
Part domestic thriller, part gripping romance, for anyone who loved The Notebook, The Bridges of Madison County and for fans of Dorothy Koomson, Nicholas Sparks, Lucie Whitehouse, Rosie Thomas and Liane Moriarty.
In the present day, Alice, a young art gallery curator who lives in Newcastle, discovers her husband Justin has disappeared on their honeymoon leaving only a mysterious and ambiguous note – saying he has made a terrible mistake.
In 1983, Evelyn Westland, the northern wife of a wealthy upper-class businessman, sends a letter to her lover back in her hometown that has consequences she could never have anticipated.
The two messages bear an uncanny resemblance.
Now, a bewildered Alice, who recently lost her mother to cancer and was abandoned by her father as a child, is forced to return home alone and to pick up life as best she can while she worries about Justin’s wellbeing, and waits for him to get in contact and appear.
Michael, a young nurse, and 70 year-old Evelyn, appear in the gallery where Alice works. They are chaperoning a small group of Alzheimer’s patients from the local care home to see an exhibition that is touring the country, because some doctors believe that visual art can help dementia sufferers remember their pasts.
Feeling lost and adrift with no one to turn to, Alice is drawn to the enigmatic Evelyn and her lover of art, and her touching attachment to Eddy, the least communicative and most handsome of the older men. Why does it mean so much to her that Eddy remembers his life? And how does Evelyn’s obvious adoration for him impact Alice, now that new details might shed some light on why Justin has had second thoughts?
Gradually, as the two women bond, Alice learns Eddy and Evelyn’s heartbreaking history through some letters she gives her – a story that has so many things in common with Alice’s own. With its stunning outcome, Evelyn’s mission finally makes sense.
Then Justin reveals why he left her. Can Alice forgive him and still want him back? Or has she found something more vital than Justin’s love – something she didn’t even realise she was looking for?
Beautifully written, this suspenseful, mysterious novel is a collision of parallel life stories, heart-wrenching choices, and the healing power of art and love.
- • Over 310,700 copies sold since publication
- #1 Amazon UK
- #1 Australia
- #3 US
- #7 Official Amazon Charts (3 weeks in top 20)