BOOK CLUB: After the Party

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Author: Cassie Hamer
ISBN: 9781489257895
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 18 February 2019
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

“After the Party” is a light piece of contemporary fiction that’s good fun to read, although not overly emotionally involving. Still, it’s well written, and isn’t trying to pretend that it will spark any deep soul searching.


Lisa Wheeldon is normally a very organised person, but for some inexplicable reason, she’s completely failed with her daughter Ava’s fifth birthday party. She’s left everything to the last minute (why is never really explained) and now her morning is in total chaos. This explains why she doesn’t notice an extra, un-invited child among the 32 invited guests. But she most certainly does notice when the child’s mother doesn’t come to pick her up, and it becomes increasingly clear that she doesn’t intend to.

Lisa and her sister Jamie begin a search for the errant mother. They choose not to involve the police, but as the weeks pass, they begin to worry that perhaps they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Both sisters are being forced to face some uncomfortable truths about themselves and the lives they’ve chosen.

I felt the tone wobbled a little in the early chapters – as though it wasn’t quite sure yet whether it was a relatively light drama, or was going to turn into a domestic thriller. The plot could easily have gone either way. Fortunately the novel soon settles into the lighter path, and I felt the two elements melded very well after that. The mystery isn’t overly compelling – apart from the basic question of why you’d ever abandon your child – but the characters are strong enough that you want to keep reading.

It’s interesting that the characters are so engaging, because at bottom they’re really a series of stereotypes. The harried mother who’s lost something of herself. The young woman who on the surface has everything, but isn’t sure she’s happy. The good but not strongly drawn husband. The boyfriend who makes you roll your eyes because almost certainly, you dated someone that immature at some point. The flawless romantic prospect. And yet, their behaviour is interesting and credible enough that you genuinely want to find out what happens to them.

“After the Party” is well suited to its’ intended audience. There’s some (not particularly ground breaking) commentary about the challenges of motherhood, delivered often in a borderline comic tone. There’s a romance that doesn’t feel as high stakes as I think the author might hope for. The mystery elements around the abandoned child add a needed edge to the novel, but aren’t too overblown either. Readers looking for something well written but not too challenging are going to enjoy this.

I am a little tired of the trope of cliquey, fashionable, competitive mothers, partly because that’s not been my own experience at all. Hamer uses this trope in a more interesting, more realistic way than many writers, and this may strike a particular chord with mothers still in those early school years.

I did feel (and I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, so excuse the mild obscurity) that perhaps the novel skated a little too lightly over the emotional aftermath of events in the novel and what happened immediately afterwards. However, to be honest, such an examination wouldn’t have fitted at all with the overall tone of the novel. The last chapter, as written, is probably better for the reader than such an examination.

There are a number of things in the novel that you can criticise when you’re looking at it analytically. But as a reading experience, it’s a smooth and flowing read, light and good fun, and not overly demanding. We all have moments where we just want to be entertained, and “After the Party” does that well. It’s not very memorable, but a lot of people will just plain enjoy reading it.

This guest review was submitted by Lorraine Cormack, one of our long-time Beauty and Lace Club members.Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Lorraine.

Cassie Hamer can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

After The Party is published by HQ Fiction and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Fiction 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading After The Party so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

13 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: After the Party

  1. I’m tired of the same cliquey mothers, always competing, being something or someone they aren’t too.

  2. I enjoyed reading After The Party by Cassie Hamer.

    Lisa Wheeldon is overwhelmed by her daughter’s 5th birthday party, she has 32 children arriving at 10 am, Lisa has slept in its 8.36 am. and she hasn’t even decorated the cake yet.

    This is only the beginning of a day that turns into a complete disaster. Ellie one of the children at the party doesn’t get picked up and by the note in the little girls gift it looks like her mum has no intention of picking her up.

    then there’s Jamie, Lisa’s sister who is getting married to Jared who is moving to Dubai in 6 weeks and has her own issues, Ben Jamie’s assistant and the very flamboyant Heather Lisa’s new friend make this story funny sometimes silly with some mystery and suspense thrown in. I loved it and highly recommend it.

    Thanks to HarperCollins and Beauty and Lace. 4 stars

  3. After the Party is a story that entwines the love and devotion of a mother (mother’s) who will go above and beyond to protect an innocent soul of a child.

    It’s an easy relaxed read with a predicatable story line mostly but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of developing bonds with several of the characters- insert Jamie & her love crisis.

    As a mother it made me think what would I have done the same or differently, which is a nice thought process you continue while reading even to the very end.

    I look forward to see what Cassie Hamer brings our next as this is my first read of hers but it’s not my last by far

  4. After the Party by Cassie Hamer is a fascinating contemporary story that is very enjoyable and easy to read. Lisa Wheeldon is a mother to two beautiful girls and with her lovely husband, is very content with her life. But life as she knows it is thrown into turmoil when a little girl turns up at her daughter’s 5th birthday party with a note from her mother asking Lisa to look after her daughter and to love her as her own. All of a sudden, Lisa’s comfortable family of four has turned into a family of five.

    Cassie Hamer has written an exceptionally interesting story with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure. I absolutely loved it! The characters were very lovable, especially Lisa’s sister, Jamie and Lisa’s new friend and a yummy mummy, Heather. It was very hard not to read this novel in just one sitting!

    Thank you very much Beauty and Lace for the wonderful opportunity to read and review this book and for introducing me to Cassie Hamer. I will definitely be on the lookout for more new novels written by this talented author.

  5. After the party had me hooked! Thank you beauty and lace for giving me the ability to read and review! 9/10. Only way it could be better is for it to continue on!
    Ben & Jamie were my two favourites in the book closely followed by beautiful Ellie. What a beautiful little soul she has

    The book is an easy read and leaves you with a smile. Also reminds you of the great people there are in this world along with some characters who aren’t very nice.

    All in all is a fantastic book!

    1. I absolutely loved this book. It had a very engaging and entertaining story line with great characters.

      It was an easy read and Lisa and her husband Scott were lovely people for taking care of beautiful little Ellie.

      Fantastic book and one I would highly recommend to my friends. Might be my fav book of 2019 so far. A well written book well done Cassie Hamer.

      Thanks Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

  6. After the party was an enjoyable quick read. Great characters. The message we should get from this story is never plan a party to start before midday . Thanks for a great read .

  7. Lisa Wheldon is a content mother based in Sydney with 2 young daughters and a loving husband, Scott. Her sister Jamie lives nearby and they are incredibly close despite their differences. When Lisa’s eldest child, Ava turns 5, she decides to host her a birthday party at home, inviting all 32 children from Ava’s kindergarten class. The party doesn’t go to plan from start to finish. When it seems like it’s finally over, Lisa discovers a little girl, Ellie has not been picked up. She thinks maybe Ellie’s mum is just running late but quickly realises she has no idea who Ellie or her mother is, though the woman seems to know the Wheldon’s. Ellie has been dropped off to the party with a gift and a card for Ava with her mother saying she needs to take care of something important but will return for her. Inside the birthday card, is a letter written by Ellie’s mum to Lisa asking her to look after her daughter until she returns and to please not involve the police. This leads to Lisa and Jamie embarking on a journey to find Ellie’s mum, despite Scott’s reservations and preference to contact the police.
    This novel didn’t engross me as I felt the concept of ending up with a stranger’s child and not contacting the police, nor involving the authorities rather strange, despite Ellie’s mother’s request. However, there were elements of Hamer’s writing I did enjoy such as the way she developed the character’s as the story progressed. I also enjoyed the humorous bits she included such as moments with Lisa and the school mums.

  8. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for allowing me the opportunity to read and review ‘After the party’ by Cassie Hammer. I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed the characters, they were interesting, but loveable. And the story line has a little bit of everything, in an easy to read, light hearted style.

    The story begins at Lisa’s daughters 5th birthday party… a party where her daughters’ whole class was invited. The day is full of stressful party mishaps and a chaos… but this is nothing compared to after the party!!

    After the party… While cleaning up her back-yard Lisa finds a little girl Ellie hiding in the dog kennel and a letter from Ellie’s mother (Missy) explaining that she is leaving Ellie in Lisa’s care and not to call the police. Lisa and her family do not recall ever meeting Ellie or Missy, however how is it that Missy seems to know that Lisa would follow out her wishes?

    The story follows Lisa, her sister Jamie and Missy as the story reveals why Missy would leave her daughter with a stranger. The story shows what a mother is willing to do to love and protect their children, weather a maternal mother or not. Lisa has a massive beautiful heart.

    I also really enjoyed Lisa’s sister Jamie, her character’s side story and the people in her life add a great element to the book.

  9. Thank you for the opportunity Harlequin and Beauty Lace, to read this book. I will be honest and say, I had no idea at first if it was going to be a thriller, or comedy romance, as it seemed to just drift a bit.
    I skipped through quite a few pages, as a lot of the dialogue was just ‘fillers’ and took my attention away from the main storyline.
    The basis of the story, unconditional love between 2 mothers and their children, soon to be intertwined, was strong, but I just felt the story was a bit all over the place.

  10. After the Party by Cassie Hamer. An easy and light read that kept me interested.

    Lisa Wheeldon, a stay at home mum who ran her own business was the mum everyone wanted to be. On the outside she looked like she had it all together. Perfect children, loving husband and a nice house. Lisa’s life wasn’t all that it looked like.

    After Lisa’s five year old’s birthday party, a young girl is left behind. Lisa is left with the decision to look after the child or hand over to authorities.

    The story line of the young girls mum showcases a hard life of hiding from an abusive partner, trying to keep her daughter safe. She ran the risk of leaving her daughter with a family she didn’t know personally but has watched and listened and believed was a good solid family where her daughter would be safe. This story line helps you to understand how she could have left her child behind with a stranger.

    This book provides a very light read but engages the reader. Mums across the world will relate to the stress of motherhood, the intimidation of school mums and fitting in and the fierceness they have to protect their children. The additional characters, the sister, the fiance, the Secretariat and the ex-partner all entwine to ensure a slightly exciting read.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace, I enjoyed this novel and would read any new novels published by Cassie Hamer.

  11. I really enjoyed this novel by Cassie Hamer. After The Party touched on so many wonderful themes including the importance of family, the lengths parents go to protect their children, friendships and love lost and found. It was an easy and well flowing read and there were so many parts where I just couldn’t put the novel down!

    Lisa is the main character in the novel and stumbles across a situation where most people would probably freak out and run. However, she is strong woman and mother and does whatever she can to protect Ellie and treat her as her own.

    I love the relationships Lisa has with her sister Jamie and quirky friend Heather. I was laughing out loud in some chapters and in others I was shocked and was on the edge of my seat.

    It was joyful read and one I will proudly display on my bookshelf and pick up again to read in the near future.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace and HQ!

  12. After the Party by Cassie Hamer – reviewed for Beauty and Lace Bookclub
    Lisa is a busy Mum of two little girls trying to put on the best 5th Birthday Party for her daughter, Ava.
    She hopes to impress and get to know the Mums from school.
    But what could go wrong does go wrong. Not only does she not impress but at the end of the party she is left with an extra child!
    Surely Ellie’s Mum is just running late?
    When Ellie’s Mum doesn’t return Lisa discovers a note asking them to take care of Ellie until she can return.
    As Lisa and her family become attached to little Ellie they still have no idea where her Mother could be.
    What could possibly lead a Mother to leave her child with strangers?
    Lisa, her sister Jamie and an unlikely friend, Heather search to find the answers.
    I enjoyed the characters and the relationships that formed. This was an enjoyable book that took a few twists and turns and covered a lot of topics.

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