Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 432 pages
First Published: 2021
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In a coastal Washington town, everyone was shocked when popular student goes missing and his childhood friend, Jonah, confesses to his murder before committing suicide. While struggling with his son’s murder, Isaac, a devote Quaker, takes in a pregnant teenager who shows up at his door. At first, her presence seems like a blessing, but as Isaac and Jonah’s mother get to know Evangeline, their overlapping pasts threaten to derail the shared future they are building. What Comes After is a slow brooding debut novel that completely draws you in with its character study of the effects of grief, anger, and the need for connection.
After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families—a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.
In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses—until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.
Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.
With a propulsive mystery at its core, What Comes After offers an unforgettable story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy, but inspiring a new kind of family.
About JoAnne Tompkins
JoAnne Tompkins is a former mediator and judicial officer and the author of What Comes After. She currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.