I enjoyed so many aspects of this story, including the way it began. Robyn shows who she is as a character in how she treats Chris when they meet. Though she's her own woman and does things her way, the selflessness she displays when the reader meets her continues to the end of Afterwards. She's a nurturer, even to the point where it's detrimental.
What I enjoyed most about her character is the lack of expectation. I've read a lot of stories where women want something from a relationship and turn petulant when their expectations aren't met. Robyn was the opposite. She is self-possessed, dignified in the way she deals with her relationship and yet extra-ordinary in the way she gives of herself.
Chris. What a character. Having read only two of Nia's books, I see a pattern of strong, driven men who are doing their thing and aren't keen on being interrupted while they're on their chosen path. In The Come Up, Chris comes across as a focused and distant man, who is feared by many.
In this book, he comes across that way, especially on the job—until Robyn gets past his grim exterior and starts chipping away at him. Her lack of demands, acceptance of their situation and freely-given love is not anything he's experienced and it all makes him unsettled. It was interesting to watch him move from taking certain things for granted – like being used because of what he can provide – to realizing that Robyn genuinely appreciates him. Her impact on him as a father is another talking point, but anyway …
Despite knowing and accepting that Robyn is a special kind of woman, Chris still has his own issues, but though everything that happens, he remains an upstanding guy who comes to terms with his failings. The good thing about reading this late in the series is that I picked
up Afterburn right away and I'm looking forward to reading it.
Good storytelling, unique characters, great writing.
Cover Note: Not sure I would have gone for this cover if I were the writer, but it's a good fit for the major themes in this story.
Source: I bought Afterwards on Amazon.