Welcome to my stop on the After Always by Barbara J. Hancock blog tour. This tour was organized by YA Bound Book Tours. On my stop, I have my review of the book as well as a tour wide giveaway. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour here for more reviews and promo posts.
Lydia’s life felt like it ended when Tristan died. Sure, they had their problems and he could be a little…intense at times. But he’d promised to love her forever…
When her parents propose a summer across the country with a music teacher who runs an inn, Lydia agrees. But it’s different from what she expected. There’s a presence there she can’t quite reconcile—and it feels like it’s hunting her. It seems Tristan’s promise followed her…and may have graver consequences than she could have known.
Then there’s Michael Malone, the one light spot in an otherwise dark existence. Lydia can’t help but be drawn to him, and as they try to uncover the evil plaguing the inn, they grow closer. But guilt over Tristan’s death still consumes her. Can she and Michael uncover what evil lurks in the inn before it takes another victim?
There was something about the synopsis about After Always by Barbara J. Hancock that caught my attention, so when the opportunity came about to review it, I jumped at the chance. I'm glad I did.
I felt like the pacing was a little all over the place in After Always. There were some places where the pacing dragged, and in other places, the pacing sped up too quickly where I was lost about what was going on. However, there were also some places where the pacing was perfect. Regardless, After Always held my attention throughout.
I enjoyed the plot. Lydia gets sent to an old inn for music lessons after her boyfriend dies in a tragic accident in the hopes she will start to heal. Lydia had been to the inn before with her mother when she was three. However, there is something sinister afoot at the inn. Lydia, alone with the intriguing Michael, must figure out what it is before it claims them both as well as the inn. Along the way, we learn more about Lydia's relationship with Tristan which isn't exactly what it appeared to be. I didn't feel that there were any major plot twists. Perhaps there are a few minor ones. This doesn't make the plot any less enjoyable though. I had many questions, but they were all answered towards the end of the book. I did feel like the ending was a bit too easy. I won't elaborate because I don't want to give any spoilers away.
The world building was written very well. The author, Barbara J. Hancock, is a master with words. I enjoyed reading about the world Miss Hancock had created for her characters. It was easy to imagine myself as a character in After Always. I could easily imagine the inn where all the action takes place.
I liked the characters in After Always. However, I would have enjoyed reading more about the background of Lydia. I would have liked to see how she was right before her relationship with Tristan. I would have also liked to read more about her relationship with Tristan. Lydia does speak about their relationship, but I found myself craving more information about it. I would have also liked to read more about Octavia's and Jericho's relationship a bit more. It would have been interesting to read more about the courting days between them as well as how their marriage was at the beginning. We do get a glimpse at Michael's family history which was nice. My favorite character in After Always was Hannah. I just felt like I could relate to her the most even if she isn't mentioned as much throughout the book.
Trigger warnings include dating abuse, death, violence, ghostly possession, and very mild swearing in a few places throughout the book.
Overall, After Always is a decent spooky read. It is written beautifully and has an interesting plot as well as likable characters. I would recommend After Always by Barbara J. Hancock to those aged 15+
(Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for providing me with a free eBook of After Always by Barbara J. Hancock in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)
About the Author:
Barbara J. Hancock lives in a cabin in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her many rescued pets and the guy who lured her into the wilderness with promises of lots of peace and quiet for writing. To this day, the Appalachian wildwood is the best gift she’s ever been given. Her favorite pastime (besides animal rescue) is bringing darkly romantic stories to life by firefly light.
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