Published in 2018, The After Wife by Cass Hunter follows a brilliant and high-flying scientist, Rachel, and her loving and supportive husband, Aidan. When Rachel suddenly dies, Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone. But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death. A gift called iRachel.
When I read The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney earlier this year, this is the story that I was hoping for. And that’s nothing against Delaney’s book as there was a lot that I enjoyed about The Perfect Wife. But it was the story of The After Wife that I was seeking.
The After Wife is a moving and thought-provoking sci-fi set alongside a very personal and emotive drama. The unique premise is very intriguing and deals with a number of issues including family, grief, and loss, as well as our scientific capabilities and responsibilities.
Reading about the author’s experience of sudden bereavement after losing her own husband really moved me, but it made me smile to know that “writing about iRachel was definitely wish fulfilment” for her. It’s a situation that we all hope to never experience, but probably something that we have thought about the possibility of. So it’s a lovely idea to imagine, that there could be an invention in the future that helps with the painful experience of grief.
At the same time, however, I liked that Hunter didn’t sugarcoat the concept and merely use it as a means to an end, sticking to the story’s sci-fi roots and keeping those insightful discussions going until the very end.
This was such a beautiful and surprising story, and I definitely recommend it if you want to read something that feels like a giant, warm hug.