Category Archives: Life After Henry

Review: Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall

Title: Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A quirky love story set in Dublin that’s perfect for fans of PS, I Love You and Jojo Moyes, Grace After Henry is a funny, heartfelt debut novel about one woman learning what it means to move on and to let go

When her fiancé, Henry Walsh, is killed in a freak biking accident, Grace feels like she’s lost her own shadow. For five years, they’d been inseparable: five years of the most rollicking, soul-finding love Grace thought any two people could share. In his absence, Grace picks up the pieces of her life: She moves into the dream house they bought together, she returns to work as a chef, she watches TV with her nosy elderly neighbor, but through it all she’s ever aware of the Henry-shaped hole in her life.

Until his long-lost twin brother knocks on her door.

Andy is Henry, and yet he’s not quite. Newly arrived in Dublin on his own search for answers, he makes Grace’s loss feel both greater and smaller. Soon Grace isn’t sure if she’s learning to let go or becoming desperate to hold on. Filled with a warm and zany cast of characters all searching for a sense of home, Grace After Henry is a funny, tender, and bittersweet story about love, loss, and second chances.


Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall is a poignant yet ultimately uplifting novel of healing from a heartrending loss.

Grace McDonnell and her fiancé Henry Walsh are moving on to the next stage of their lives when he dies in a tragic accident. After retreating from life for a few months at her parents’ house, Grace is finally ready to move forward. She moves into the house they purchased before his death and she returns to work. Yet every day remains a struggle for Grace as she thinks she sees Henry everywhere and mourns not just his loss, but the future they planned together. However, when her plumber turns out to be Henry’s long lost twin brother, Andy, is Grace finally ready to truly move on?

Grace and Henry are idyllically happy and eager to enter the next stage in their relationship. After Henry’s death, Grace is mired in grief and guilt yet with the support of her parents and best friend, she faces her future without him. However, after she moves into their dream home, Grace still finds it difficult to carry on with her day to day tasks. She forces herself to go to work only to return to an empty house that leaves her depressed and missing Henry more than ever.  Help arrives in a very unexpected man but is Grace fooling herself as she and Andy grow close?

Andy always knew he was adopted and after his mum passes away, he leaves Australia for Ireland in hopes of finding more information about his birth family. He is aware his birth mother and twin brother are deceased but he craves more details about his birthplace. Through sheer coincidence, he meets Grace and through her, he gets to experience the life he has always missed.  But is Andy a little too ready to accept the vestiges of Henry’s life?

Grace is comforted by Andy’s presence and initially, it is difficult to understand whether she sees him as Andy or her lost fiancé. Their interactions soon have a bit of a familiar feel to them as they slip into easy camaraderie and quiet evenings together. But Grace is not eager  to introduce Andy to her family or friends and in fact, she lives in fear that people who knew Henry will see her with Andy.  Is their friendship fair to Andy? Is Grace doing to the right thing as becomes deeper enmeshed in his life? Are she and Andy making the right choice after an unexpected complication arises?  And most importantly, is Andy settling for less than he deserves as he embraces a life he feels he was denied with his flighty mum?

Grace After Henry is a captivating novel  that is deeply affecting and quite impossible to put down. Grace is a very empathetic character as she tries to overcome her grief over Henry’s loss.  Andy is an amiable, laid back man whose somewhat dysfunctional background leaves him uncomfortably eager to fill in for Henry. Eithne Shortall brings this thoughtful portrait of grief and starting over to a realistic conclusion.  An engrossing novel that I absolutely loved and highly recommend to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Eithne Shortall, GP Putnams Sons, Life After Henry, Rated B, Review, Women's Fiction