Pitying looks from her small town neighbours have been a way of life for Julia DeSmit, a life she hopes to leave behind to forge her own destiny. Deserted by her disengaged mother at aged 9 and losing her beloved dad during her teen years to illness leaves an indelible mark on her psyche that will haunt her in the years to come.
College represents a chance to escape the confines of her small town life and the heartache of a love lost when her childhood soul mate, Thomas falls for another girl. Having created a persona of aloofness during her high school years, Julia finds it difficult to relate to her college contemporaries but makes an uneasy friendship with her engineering teacher’s assistant, Parker.
At a vulnerable time she is reminded again of all the losses in her life and makes a decision that will forever shape her future by sending her back to her past.
Nicole Baart’s debut novel is a stirring portrayal of a young woman desperately seeking her place in a world which has dealt her one heartache after another. Julia’s journey will resonate with anyone who has experienced tragedy and open the eyes of those who haven’t. Pleasingly pat answers to Julia’s dilemmas are nowhere to be seen and yet the beauty of a faithful heart is clearly shown through Julia’s grandmother. Brimming with engaging and authentic characters After the Leaves Fall is beautifully written and a stunning tribute to Nicole’s talent as a writer. I eagerly anticipate the continuation of Julia’s story in the sequel, Summer Snow, releasing in mid 2008.