After Alice Fell is one of the better books I’ve read recently in the “suspense” category. I suppose the last one I attempted was Bloodline, and we all know how that turned out: it was so terrible I DNF’d it only 33% of the way through and couldn’t believe how such an awful mess got published. Thankfully, After Alice Fell was the perfect combination of suspense and reveal, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.
If you need a quick refresher, the book is about Marion, a Civil War nurse whose husband has passed away and who has moved in with her brother and his second wife, and has found that her sister, Alice, has jumped to her death after being committed to an asylum. From the descriptions of Alice, it sounds like she was somewhere on the autism spectrum, but all that means for 1865 is that she is “different” and “mad” and needs to be locked up somewhere so she doesn’t embarrass the rest of her family.
Marion is absolutely convinced that someone pushed Alice, and spends the whole book trying to unravel the last few months of Alice’s life, making both allies and enemies along the way. It’s a book that will keep you guessing the entire time – was Alice actually mad, or was she the smartest one of them all? Has Marion lost her mind in her pursuit of what she thinks is the truth, or is she closer to uncovering a conspiracy than anyone wants her to be?
After Alice Fell is a much faster read than I wanted, and while there were some passages I had to go back and re-read because I read them faster than I should have and confused myself, overall it’s a very satisfying story and the reveals at the end shocked me, even though I had sort of guessed it about halfway through. Even then, it was still shocking to find out that what I thought were far-flung theories were actually correct.
There are some points that I felt were a little odd/didn’t fit into the time period (which of course I can’t find them easily now), and for that reason I’d give this book a 4.5/5 star rating. It’s entertaining, it’s spooky-ooky, and I wish it had been a little longer so we could have gotten more information on Alice. Her being dead the entire book just made me want a book about Alice even more!
If you’re a fan of stories where everyone has skeletons in their closet, this is the book for you. And if you read it, let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.