Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
I have been in a serious Kristen Ashley binge-read/listen as of late. As her books come on sale, I gobble them up, and I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m drawn to her because she has her own style in the world of romance. When I think about her stories, I think about her depth of storytelling. She gives her readers everything about her characters, and her epilogues, for example, go on forever, which is FANTASTIC because you HATE leaving her characters. She draws these characters that feel fictional and real in equal measure. She’s crafted heroes who are incredibly masculine yet have a sensitivity for their heroines. She’s created heroines who stand in their independence even when their lives are falling apart. Once the hero and heroine begin falling for each other, it’s over. That’s it. They will be together until the end. Ashley will keep you engaged in her story through the twists and turns of the story, but the foundational piece of her stories is her couples’ undying love for each other. And she has a capacity for creating ancillary characters who REQUIRE their own stories. She draws readers into later books by giving you a taste at the end of the story you’ve just finished. Now, I’ve seen some reviewers who say, “it’s all the same over and over again.” However, there is a comfort in the way that Kristen Ashley builds her stories and their series. I trust that I will get a depth of storytelling from Ashley that will keep me engaged in her book over and over again, and I love that.
I missed After the Climb over the pandemic. I found Kristen Ashley late, so to get a copy of this book, I didn’t know what to expect. What I found is more of Ashley’s world-building. I finished After the Climb ready for more stories because this book has set the tone for the rest of the series.
I love this book. I predict Genny/Gen/Imogen and Duncan/Dun/Bowie will be a beloved couple in Ashley’s world of romance, This is a second chance romance. They are not young, yet they are not old in number. The way that these two come together and reconcile is sweet.
It’s so hard to write this review because there was so much I loved about After the Climb. For one, there are several points of view in this story. I think the foundational voice of this series will be Corey’s the other best friend to Genny and Duncan. I want to see where Kristen Ashley takes this because I found it interesting that, through his perspective, his choices make sense. It takes much of the book to realize that. Ashley makes you wait for this.
Secondly, the combined families of Genny and Duncan are adorable. Like seriously. I need stories for Sully, Gage, Chloe (it’s coming in Chasing Serenity), Sasha, and Corey’s son, Hale. I think it might be nice to have a story for Tom, Genny’s ex, but I could live without it to be honest. But see what she does…see how she invests you in her characters because she makes them feel like friends or relatives. You become rabid for their journey and their happy ending. Her ability to craft characters that are likable and interesting is Ashley’s superpower.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t want to put this story down. I don’t care what anyone says because there is something interesting about this new series. Add in Hollywood and Phoneix and Duncan’s connection to the environment, and you find a story in After the Climb that has just touched a small portion of the mountain of series yet to come.
If you’re a Kristen Ashley fan, then you need to read this book. I’m pretty sure I’m the last one to the table, though. I can’t wait for the next story in this series.
In love and romance,