After Happily Ever After: A Novel

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She Writes Press, Apr 6, 2021 - Fiction - 272 pages
2 Reviews
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“Smart and funny, After Happily Ever After is an exciting debut.” —Laura Dave, international best-selling author of The Last Thing He Told Me

Maggie Dolan finds herself at forty-five at a crossroads in her life. Once an executive at a top publishing house, she’s chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for the last seventeen years. But now with her daughter, Gia, soon leaving for college, and her husband, Jim, distracted and disconnected and with secrets he hasn’t shared, Maggie decides it’s time to get back into the world to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. As she steps out into this exciting and sometimes scary journey of discovering who she is now, she has to deal with a narcissistic mother, a brother who doesn’t like her, and most damaging of all, the news that her father, the one man who’s been her rock all her life, is deteriorating both physically and mentally. When all these things get on top of her, Maggie is led in a direction that could destroy what she’s built and makes her question the choices she’s made. She’s torn between the life she’s always known and something more exciting that she never expected.

After Happily Ever After deals with love, marriage, family, the empty nest, aging parents, and what happens when they all come crashing down at the same time.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fredreeca - LibraryThing

Maggie’s life is changing. She is not sure where she goes from here. She gave up her job in publishing years ago to take care of her daughter, Gia. Well, Gia is flying the coop. This leaves Maggie ... Read full review

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“After Happily Ever After,” by Leslie A. Rasmussen, is an engaging, inspiring novel about finding yourself again in the face of an empty nest. This story centers on a woman in her mid-forties, Maggie Dolin, who doesn’t necessarily want to grow old gracefully. She’s always placed her daughter Gia first, actually traded in her career in publishing to bring her up, but what’s she going to do with the rest of her life when her daughter goes away to college? Maggie needs a new purpose. She needs to learn how to put herself first for a change. Her husband isn’t as involved as she needs, and he may be keeping secrets. She would turn to her mother, father, and brother, but they have issues of their own. So, this leaves Maggie floundering. Without support systems, she finds solace in a younger man, and this isn’t like her. As this new relationship develops, she finds herself at a crossroads, facing choices she thought she’d never have to make.
I really like the balance the author shows in this novel—the balance between entertainment and social issues. Because as much as I adore the plot, the underlying problems are so very real to most people in Maggie’s situation. Even though you will be entertained, with some laughter and tears, you will also gain insight into what it would and does feel like at the empty nest stage of life. I like the honest way the author has Maggie sorting this out–with stress, confusion, uncertainty, loneliness–all in an intimate first-person POV. She leaves no emotional stone unturned.
This is a book for all generations, in my opinion, not just middle age. We can all learn something from Maggie’s story, about how to cope with stress, emotional abandonment, heavy responsibility, and life-altering decisions. As a general reader looking for a well-executed story, and former social worker, I highly recommend “After Happily Ever After,” by Leslie A. Rasmussen.


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33
Section 34

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About the author (2021)

Leslie A. Rasmussen was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA. She went on to write television comedies for Gerald McRaney, Burt Reynolds, Roseanne Barr, Norm McDonald, and Drew Carey, as well as The Wild Thornberrys and Sweet Valley High. After leaving the business to raise her boys, she obtained a master’s degree in nutrition and ran her own business for ten years. Recently, she’s written over twenty essays for Huffington Post and spoken on panels discussing empowering women in midlife. Leslie is a member of The Writers Guild of America, as well as Women In Film and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. After Happily Ever After is her debut novel and has won over fifteen awards. Her next novel, The Stories We Cannot Tell, will be released next year. In her free time, Leslie loves to read, exercise, and hang out with friends. Married with two sons, she lives in Los Angeles.

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