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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
"I have lived through everything. I have lived despite everything. And I have changed. I was made in the likeness of light, but I have swum in cold pools of darkness. My story is not black and white; there are reasons and motives and explanations." Lynda Abernathy's captivating novel, After The Dash, is about past and present in the continuous cycle of time. Aiyanna Burns seeks therapy for deep depression triggered by a sudden loss. She discovers a hidden ability passed down through her family; the ability to fully regress into her past lives. They contain clues that could help her to better understand the relationship she has with her caring grandmother, her absent mother, her complex best friend, her lover and other people she has yet to meet.
After The Dash is a stirring transcendental novel about familial bonds, love, life, soulmates, loss, and spirituality conveyed through the subject of past lives. Readers may find the plot vague at first but different characters in different timelines will gradually converge and become connected to one another as the past reflects the present through joy, pain, love, hate, life, and death. I gravitated towards Eve, lovingly known as Jamma, the focal strength that Aiyanna is lucky to have in her life. Aiyanna's healing process is fascinating where each regression is a step forward towards self-exploration, revisiting both beautiful experiences and traumatic events. Redemption is also a powerful theme in the story as Aiyanna's mother, Amara, tries to make up for years of a promiscuous life and protect her daughter in her own way. Overall, this is a thought-provoking and inspirational read from Lynda Abernathy.