I’m writing this review on the immediate tail-end of completing The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah Lynn, and I have so many feelings bursting out of me like little pockets of sunshine expending out of my pores.
Hannah Lynn weaves a sensational narrative depicting the rawness of reality and the inexplicability of life after death. The Afterlife of Walter Augustus tells the tale of a man outside the realm of time, and a woman stuck in mediocrity’s grasp. Walter Augustus lived and died in the 1800s; a British man, Augustus gained some notoriety for his poetry. Namely, a little blue book that will haunt him all the way into his afterlife. On earth, Letty Ferguson is a middle-aged shoe saleswoman and is decidedly not dead. Not only is Letty hiding a significant horde of wealth from her husband, Donald; but indirectly, holds Walter’s afterlife in the palm of her hands.
I must admit that, upon reading the first sentence, I was confused. Walter was where? He was dead? What’s happening? But ultimately, that is the exact way in which Lynn pulls you into this sublime imagery of the afterlife but also depicting the very routine of the ordinary day through Letty. The story itself is something that I haven’t read before, and in that, it is a refreshing novel with a creative and hilarious twist. The reader’s attention is split between both Walter’s perspective and that of Letty’s, in the afterlife and on earth respectively. We are given details into Walter’s previous life on earth and his life within the afterlife sporadically throughout the entire novel, which honestly flowed much better within the overall story as this was shown in relation to Walter himself going through significant character development. Although Walter is technically dead, his character is not. He goes through change which fundamentally shifts his way of life and as a result, we see more of his personality shining through throughout the novel itself. Walter’s character is not stagnant, he even has his own romance, and the way in which Lynn portrays Walter’s growth is a thing of beauty. It happens subtly and quietly and towards the end, you are roaringly attached to Walter’s journey and you want him to achieve all the happiness in this world and beyond. However, for me, the character that honestly moved me to tears was Letty.
Letty reminded me of so many women whom I have met. Women who I know today. The beauty of her character is that everyone can relate to Letty in some way. She is a part of all of us, and I love her so much. I don’t know why exactly I adore her character, but it must be because of her inherent kindness and her gentleness. She is so aware of herself at all times, and I completely understand that feeling and I also know how incredibly exhausting that can be, which I believe Lynn illustrated wonderfully with the way Letty constantly criticises herself and the way she ‘nags’ her husband or interacts with her sister. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the ghost aspect of Letty’s story and the fact that Walter became a sort-of poltergeist and the hilarity which ensues with that, the real success of this story is Letty and her triumph over her life in general. I won’t go in complete denial, but let’s just say that I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Letty to finally give her sister, Victoria, a piece of her mind. When that finally happened, I actually shouted in triumph. To be quite honest, I am petty enough that I wished for a bigger bang between Letty and Victoria, only because Victoria annoyed me to no end. Victorian’s incessant manipulation of Letty, especially in constantly wanting money, was an aspect of the story that felt so real and honest to what can and does actually happen in real life between siblings. The guilt, the shame and the constant questioning of Letty’s morality as a result of saying no to her sister, was written with such rawness that it hit me in the heart.
Although Letty overshadowed Walter in terms of character development and plot line, the weaving of both stories that were happening simultaneously, is something that I have not seen done as well as Lynn has in The Afterlife of Walter Augustus. The one thing that I do wish was paid more attention to is a further exploration of the character John Edward Pemberton. He thoroughly interested me, I wanted to know more about his life, his family, his personality as he himself, goes through some sort of personal journey alongside Walter and I would have loved to have felt as though I was more a part of that. He was a fantastic side character who I wish I could’ve gotten to know more about.
What I hope this review tells you? Go out and buy this book. Do it. You’re on your computer/phone/tablet now anyway, just go check it out. It will not disappoint as it has literally everything you could ask for in a book: the supernatural, the suspense, the possible demonic activity, sibling drama, job drama and rude as hell customers. Literally everything.
In saying that, I then give The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah Lynn a 5 out of 5 stars because I love this book and I hope you will to. ANNNDD, if you want to go into the draw to win A SIGNED COPY then click here! Hannah Lynn is going to be giving away 5 signed copies of this awesome novel, and I wish all of you luck! Be sure to check everyone’s blog’s down below!
Until next time! Happy reading!
Hannah Lynn was born in 1984 and grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Her first novel, Amendments, was published in 2015, her latest novel, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, is out July 2018. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.
Links to Hannah Lynn’s Books: