After my sophomore year of college, I interned at HarperCollins. That summer, I discovered and fell in love with a book called Vince & Joy. Through the remainder of college, a first job, a layoff, a move – it lived on my bookshelf at home, collecting dust but keeping its place in my book-nerd heart. In 2010, my first year at Atria, I was assigned a book called After the Party by Lisa Jewell. I read it and loved it; I knew this author had more emotional depth than most, and vowed to do my best to get some notice for it. On a trip back home, I was scanning my old pals on my bookshelves – there was F. Scott, Lewis Carroll, tried and true Jen Weiner, my sociology textbooks – and a galley of a book called Vince & Joy by – you guessed it – Lisa Jewell. It was an amazing moment in which I felt a real sense of gratitude at how my life had turned out. THIS was the same Lisa Jewell for whose work I was now a publicist! How lucky could I be?
From her very first novel, Ralph’s Party, which was published in the States way back in 1999, Lisa has consistently written stories that are unputdownable. After the Party, the first book I worked on at Atria, was an astonishingly perceptive and honest novel about the realities of married life, parenthood, and the power of starting over. I loved it so much, and I was nowhere near the stage of life in which I’d become a parent. But that’s just Lisa. Her characters are undeniably relatable, and every situation she writes about seems pulled from a gossipy lunch with friends (“Did you hear about that woman whose husband left her for LA a few months after their son was born!?”).
Here’s a little bit more about the book:
Warm and witty, After the Party is the intriguing tale of perfect couple Jem and Ralph. Eleven years after they fall deeply in love (thanks to some intelligent diary snooping and romantic gestures by Ralph), they have created two precious children, grown from an apartment to a house, and have found out that life is just not as simple as it once seemed. Despite it all, they still love each other, don’t they?
Through the chaos of family and the ebb and flow of everyday life, two people who were so seemingly perfect together are starting to drift apart. Jem feels like she’s losing herself, while Ralph, stuck on the sidelines, feels like he’s lost his muse altogether. His paintings aren’t what they used to be and his wife’s resentment is growing. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, Ralph and Jem both become momentarily distracted; Ralph jets off for a soul-searching trip to sunny Los Angeles only a few short months after the birth of their son (how dare he?!), and Jem finds that flirtation with a near-stranger (how dare she?!) reminds her of the person she once was You’ll sympathize with Jem and Ralph, you’ll hate Jem and Ralph, and you’ll wonder how Lisa Jewell could so accurately capture the raw emotions of a relationship turned on its side. Give Lisa Jewell 50 pages…I promise you’ll only want more.
Jem is back at work part-time as a talent agent. Her husband Ralph, a successful painter, is struggling to come up with new, hopefully groundbreaking, work for his upcoming show. But the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart And in the chaos of family life, Jem feels like she’s losing herself, while Ralph, stuck on the sidelines, feels like he’s lost his muse altogether. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted—but maybe it’s not too late to recapture happily ever after…