Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
And Then Ben by L. M. Coppa is a stirring post-apocalyptic novel. The story starts four months prior when temperatures plummeted and the accompanying snowstorms shut down all forms of communication and public utilities. After a home invasion by an unknown attacker, Alice, the 38-year-old mother of two, is separated from her children and ex-husband in the confusion of a mass evacuation. With no idea where her family has been taken, she fends for herself alone in her neighbor’s house with only her survival instincts to keep her going. She makes it a habit to go to the grocery store and the sporting goods store for supplies. She also goes to the library to read or simply sits at the bus stop. After months of overwhelming loneliness, Ben appears in her empty town. The two are drawn together by their desire for companionship but is Ben a person she can trust completely?
In L. M. Coppa’s And Then Ben, we find a freezing world and a woman who is forced to survive against all odds. Readers can easily empathize with Alice because the author describes her daily life in great detail as she makes decisions like what supplies to take from the grocery store or what food she prepares for dinner. Suffering from the separation from her family, Alice is also going through anxiety and mental turmoil that is all too palpable. The story takes an exciting twist with the appearance of another human being in her town. I find the ending highly intriguing and unique. And Then Ben gives a different perspective from the average post-apocalyptic novel, making it a refreshing and enjoyable read.