Book Reviews

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s After The Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe: A decent thriller mystery

American children’s author Mary Pope Osborne once said, “Reading is a passport to countless adventures.” Whether you like the outdoors or not, you can easily have an exhilarating adventure right in the comfort of your home with the company of a good and exciting book. That’s what I experienced last week. Every night of the previous week, I had spent one hour reading a gripping novel. In one week, it was done, and I can’t wait to pour down the experience in words. It was beguiling.

Before I begin Sidney Sheldon’s after the darkness review, let me tell you how I came across the book.  

How I came across Sidney Sheldon’s After the Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe

Let me put it clearly: This was a blissful accident. Had it not been for my friend who shares my passion for reading, I’d never have set my hand on this book. Personally, I haven’t read a lot of sophisticated adult fiction in my life. I go by the blurb before choosing any book and it’s unlikely that I’d buy this book in my routine way. But it seems like I was meant to read it, whether bought or borrowed. 

A few months back, I borrowed it from my friend in exchange for some of my books. Acting upon instinct, I first turned to the blurb. As I said, my first thought was, ‘Hmm, not my kind’. So, I didn’t start reading it immediately. Moreover, I had several things on my plate at the time. Neither could this book invade my normal reading time, as it was already occupied. So, After the Darkness lay on one of the dark corners of my bookshelf for a few months. Until last week. 

To be honest, living alone is not as easy as you think it would be. It’s not all the overwhelming chores that stink. Rather, it is the absence of human contact. I go out once a day, and I meet my friends and neighbours often, but as it turns out, it’s not enough. For a true introvert like me, this was a surprise. Last week, it had been a fortnight since my independent stay, and suddenly I felt really lonely. I tried watching my favourite sitcom, reading a self-help book, going for a walk, and talking to my family on the phone. But nothing helped. I thought and thought if what would make me feel better. I needed a distraction, an engaging one. To forget my reality for some time. Escape what’s real. What’s not real? Yes! Fiction. So, I picked up the first fiction book on the shelf. It was After the Darkness. And in a trice, I was out of the darkness… 

After the Darkness book review

SPOILER ALERT: Some of the facts mentioned from here on might serve as spoilers of the original novel. 

After the Darkness book review: In the very beginning, the author recalls a quote about greed from the 1987 movie, Wall Street. The quote suggests that greed is good, something that Lenny Brookstein, the man of the story doesn’t approve of. As the story unfolds, we learn how that quote suits so well at the start. Because this is a story that talks about greed in and out. 

You can’t really count how many surprising twists come along in this novel. A serious crime has been committed. An innocent has been framed. Nobody can be trusted. It’s the familiar outline from every other crime thriller. And yet, it keeps you glued to the seat throughout the reading experience. You can hardly stop reading once you start reading, and you can’t wait to resume if you had to stop in between. All in all, it was impressive for a crime thriller novel. 

After the Darkness summary

Grace Brookstein is accustomed to living a life of comfort and riches. However, one sudden day, her world flips upside down. Her husband, the love of her life, disappears into thin air, and everyone who was once a friend now shows their true colours. Eventually, she realizes that this is a one-man battle for not a single person she knows can be trusted. She has only herself now, to help survive and to survive. Will she succeed? 

Things I really liked about After the Darkness book

  1. Character growth

One thing you cannot skip to mention is Grace’s character development throughout the story. In the beginning, she is this sweet, naive and somewhat foolish person who easily trusts anyone and everyone. From there, toward the end, she transforms into a strong, fearless woman who can bring down a storm. And of course, it’s her journey, a truly catastrophic one at that, that brings about this transformation. 

In the end, she realizes that the time from her past when she thought she was blessed with everything was an illusion, a lie; that’s the strongest point of the story. When she realizes that in the past, she was weak despite having everything. But now that she had grown strong, she was truly in the best time of her life even though she had lost everything. This was a powerful development. 

  1. You don’t pity the protagonist, it’s like she draws power from you; from your need for her to win

She goes through the worst. Betrayal after betrayal. There’s nobody she can trust, but herself. That’s an important lesson in life. It’s good to have bonds, but you should always remember to be self-sufficient and to have your own back at all times. Because there comes a time when you only have yourself to rely on. Generally, when your protagonist is suffering, you feel sad. But never once did I feel sorry for Grace throughout the story. The only thing I felt was, ‘I incredibly support this person. I want her to win. To find out the truth. I want her to bring the wrongdoers down.’

  1. Reminds of a precious fact about friendship

There are two kinds of friends of Grace that we see in this story. The first kind is Caroline and Maria. We could also include Connie and Honor in this list even though they were actually her family. These four women pretend to be supportive of Grace when she is at her prime. But as soon as she gets into trouble, they wash their hands off her. Then there’s Cora and Karen. These two are friends Grace makes during adversity. And these two stuck with her till the end.

It’s not surprising to have friends during good times. But the friends that you make during bad times are the ones that really matter. Because they extend their friendship to you despite your misery. They don’t want anything from that friendship, except your trust and company. 

  1. Resemblance to another famous story

At one instance, I could see this story slightly resembling Stephen King’s iconic, The Shawshank Redemption. If that one was primarily based in prison, a considerable amount of this story also happens in prison. In both cases, the protagonist was framed for a crime they didn’t commit. And yet, they don’t let themselves suffer by cursing fate. They fight back in their own way to freedom. That’s liberating to read. 

Things I didn’t like about After the Darkness book

  1. That moment when you wonder if Grace is superhuman!

Grace goes through a lot of turmoil throughout the book. Many times, she comes face to face with death too. But the fact that she manages to laugh at the face of death so many times, is a little too surreal. If I remember right, throughout the span of the story, she survived such fatal junctures over five times! I mean, I know she is the protagonist, and she has to survive; that’s what the readers are rooting for too. So, I would still have ignored that she survived if she weren’t doing extraordinary stunts soon after coming out of a critical medical situation. 

For instance, toward the end, for one moment, she is just out of a very serious health hazard and hardly able to walk a few steps from the hospital bed. The next moment, she is squeezing herself through a ventilation shaft to escape the cops! This can only mean one thing: either it’s some superhuman blood running through her veins or this is blatant humiliation of the reader’s intelligence! 

  1. The author’s name

The book is originally authored by Tilly Bagshawe. However, the name goes, “Sidney Sheldon’s After The Darkness”. We all know Sidney Sheldon was a renowned thriller mystery author. When I read more to find out why the author uses Sidney Sheldon’s name, I found out that she is a great enthusiast of Sheldon’s works and writes her own novels in his style. But I still don’t understand why to use your role model’s name for your work. I mean, I am a big fan of J.K. Rowling’s work in Harry Potter. But why would I write a fantasy novel and put Rowling’s name as the author? With work so brilliant as After The Darkness, the author’s genius is clear and comprehensible to the audience. However, this author’s nomenclature still remains a mystery like the genre in which she writes. 

  1. What was the mysterious source of that money that Grace depended on?

After Grace breaks out of prison, she has no financial resources to support her. So, she seeks help from the source that Karen had told her. Apparently, she had to just send a code via mail to a mysterious address, and within a few hours, whatever money she wanted was delivered! 

Maybe it’s because I am oblivious to illegal money transactions, but seriously, doesn’t this make everyone who works hard to earn their money look like fools? 

Genre, style and narrative of After the Darkness book

Sidney Sheldon’s After The Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe is a book of thriller fiction. It would interest audiences who are crime mystery enthusiasts. The story is delivered brilliantly using descriptive and narrative styles. The narrative focus shifts across various characters as each sub-section changes, while the main focus is on the protagonist, Grace Brookstein. The author is the all-knowing narrator of this novel. That is, the book is written in third-person omniscient narration. A great addition to the thriller fiction section of your bookshelf, After The Darkness, won’t disappoint you. 

Some great lines from After the Darkness 

“She had something rare and priceless, something that other girls at Bedford would have given their eyeteeth for a sense of purpose.”

“Brookstein was so secretive he made the CIA look indiscreet.”

“Mitch felt like a kid trying to catch hold of bubbles, not knowing which way to turn and destroying everything he touched.”

“If it took her the rest of her life, Grace Brookstein was going to find out how.”

“If Grace had to pick one word to describe how her first year in prison made her feel, it would have been liberating.

About the author

Tilly Bagshawe is an internationally acclaimed British author. She also writes as a freelance journalist. She is popular for her thriller novels written in the same style as Sidney Sheldon, another known crime thriller author. However, apart from the Sidney Sheldon series, Bagshawe has also written other novels to her credit. 

Some other Tilly Bagshawe books that you must check out include:

  1. Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress of the Game
  2. Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow
  3. Fame
  4. Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless
  5. Sidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory
  6. Murder at the Mill
  7. Sidney Sheldon’s The Phoenix
  8. Adored
  9. Sidney Sheldon’s The Silent Widow
  10. Scandalous

How much would I rate After the Darkness

After the Darkness is an engaging thriller mystery that I would love to read over and over again. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this Tilly Bagshawe book an 8/10

Where to get the book, After the Darkness?

If you are interested in getting hold of the book, After the Darkness, we would be glad to be of your assistance. Check out the link given below to buy the book online:

For whom is this book?

After the Darkness is a fiction book suitable for adults. If you love the subgenres of mystery, thriller and crime in works of fiction, I reckon that this book will be an interesting read for you. 

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