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Publisher's Summary

They were the Three Amigos: Duncan Holloway, Imogen Swan, and Corey Szabo. Two young boys with difficult lives at home banding together with a cool girl who didn’t mind mucking through the mud on their hikes. 

They grew up to be Duncan Holloway, activist, CEO, and face of the popular River Rain outdoor stores, Imogen Swan, award-winning actress and America’s sweetheart, and Corey Szabo, ruthless tech billionaire. 

Rich and very famous, they would learn the devastating knowledge of how the selfish acts of one would affect all their lives. 

And the lives of those they loved. 

Start the River Rain series with After the Climb, the story of Duncan and Imogen navigating their way back to each other, decades after a fierce betrayal. 

And introduce yourself to their families, who will have their stories told when River Rain continues.

©2020 Kristen Ashley (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about After the Climb

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

PROFANITY IS NOT COOL

This book, the plot, character development and story development was GREAT. I will admit I finished the book because it was, based on the actual story, worth finishing. But I must admit it was hard to listen to because of the language! No one in my world uses SO MUCH PROFANITY!! In my opinion authors need to learn to express themselves without using so much offensive language. Audible needs a rating system much like the movie and TV world uses that warns readers in advance about profane language. I would have never used my credit for THIS BOOK! I am not stupid I know people use bad language I just don't want so much of it in my reading material. So when this book could have gotten 5 stars and a glowing review it received 1 star and a warning to others about the language.

SPOILERS:
It is unbelievable and unreasonable think that two people who had been in love from childhood, betrayed then reconnected would refer to their first intimate coupling as @#*#ing and not as making love!

26 people found this helpful

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Unexpected beginnings can be do found in the middl

So incredibly impressed of a smartly written storyline of the over 50 world. Realistic in many ways including to the loss of muscle yet the love was still there , but better, mature, not taking it for granted.

Bowie and Genny torn apart by a lie for 28 years buildjng lives separately and living those years all in, until life finds them both single, and the lie uncovered .

over 50 is not over life. it is when you see what really is important and realize that there is a choice of how to live.

18 people found this helpful

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Loved it!!!

I read a poor review of this book, but am glad I chose to ignore it. I love KA, and this book did NOT disappoint! Loved it!

14 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I almost passed on this book because of the bad reviews. I am glad I didn’t.

Loved the characters, loved the story with all the dark and light parts.

It was a fulfilling and well deserved Happily Ever After.

The narration was very enjoyable.

Another Kristen Ashley highly recommended audiobook.

10 people found this helpful

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Always love Kristen Ashley but this one is flat

Kristen Ashley is my favorite author so none of her books are passed over by me. However, this one had a few too many inner and outward monologues and too little action. Kristen is the queen of situational and character self reflection. Unfortunately, there was too much of both, even for me. It started to seem self indulgent for the characters to go on and on in a way that was less realistic and more psychologist’s couch worthy.

8 people found this helpful

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  • MV
  • 10-07-20

Another KA miss (unfortunately)

About 75% of Kristen Ashely’s books are fantastic, as she has a gift for creating characters you wish were your friends and communities you would love to live in. Rock Chicks, Dream Man, the Burg, Unfinished Heroes, and Moonlight and Motor Oil are all great examples of her talents (not all, but many books in those series). Unfortunately this one falls into the other category. I didn’t connect with the heroine AT ALL and I found the entire plot to contrived. I fell asleep multiple times listening and while I tried to go back to find where I left off I realized that I just didn’t care. This reminded me a lot of her Magdalene series, which was also a miss for me.

Stella Bloom and Teddy Hamilton are among my favorite narrators but they were barely in the book. John Hartley was ok but I found Lizbeth Gwynn to be annoying to listen to.

It’s a shame because the book had promise but it just didn’t deliver.

7 people found this helpful

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Don’t waste your money

Purchase this book because of the reviews I’m not sure if we read the same book or not but this book was awful and boring. Both main characters are so one-dimensional, and I love her other books . I’m not sure what happened with this one but I want my money back. My question is did she really write this book!

5 people found this helpful

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Wow! Duncan & Imogen’s Story Is Magnificent.

Raw, Real, & Emotional, The Characters Are So Vibrant They Nearly Walk Of The Page. This Story Is Big – It Is Broad & Spans Over Four Decades. A Tragic Event Pulls Together Old Friends & Lovers Whose Search For Answers & Closure, Along With The Help Of Some Well-Meaning Friends & Family Who Happily Play Matchmaker, Brings About A Second Chance For Love.


The River Rain Series:

The series includes (to date):
1. After the Climb – a River Rain prequel (Bowie Holloway & Genny Swan’s second chance romance )
2. Chasing Serenity – a River Rain novel (Judge Oakley & Chloe Pierce’s enemies to lovers romance)
3. Taking the Leap – a River Rain novel (John “Rix” Hendrix & Alexandra Sharp’s fake workplace romance)

After the Climb provides a sneak peak at the couple from Chasing Serenity. Judge and Chloe get into a big spat when she shows up at the Prescott River Rain store for some supplies. The outdoorsman has Ryan Reynolds good looks and has women throwing themselves at him. Duncan claims Chloe is not Judge’s usual type – not to say that Judge wont’ fall head over heals for her – but later his sons say Chloe is exactly his type, so it is a bit confusing. The pair is a case of opposites attracting.

John and Alex of Taking the Leap are not yet introduced to the series.

Fingers crossed that Hale Szabo gets the HEA his father never got – with Genny’s daughter Sasha Pierce! It would be a wonderful minor age gap story, and might partially explain why he hasn’t been around the family as much lately.

About River Rain:

River Rain is a successful chain of seventy-five outdoor stores in fifty cities – and growing. Founder and CEO Duncan Holloway is the face of the company. The stores have an amusement park vibe with an outdoor twist, making them hugely popular. Climbing walls, mini ski slopes, and dirt tracks allow customers get a feel for their products.

Harvey Evans is COO. He is a large but very friendly and down to earth man. He and his wife Beth have three daughters (one named Mandy). Duncan has been instrumental in Harv’s successful career; the pair have been great friends for twenty years.

Judge Oakley runs the Kids and Trails program, a nationwide outreach program sponsored by River Rain. They bring mostly inner city and low-income kids on field trips to national parks. He is great with kids and loves his job. He has twice hiked Machu Pichu.

In This Book:

This story is broad and complex, with a large cast of colorful characters, some of which are sure to factor into future River Rain novels. As a reference and to help with some of the mental math, some of the names, connections, and timelines are laid out below. This book opens in Autumn in Arizona. The story spans over four decades, but the present tense mostly occurs in either Prescott or Phoenix from the fall through the holidays. While not the story of River Rain per se, it includes the story of River Rain’s founder, Duncan Holloway.

The story centers around three childhood friends from small town Winston, Illinois. Duncan and Corey met when they were age six and they remained best friends throughout their youth. Dun was always handsome and things came easy for him. Corey, a nerd, was too thin and too pretty, so he often suffered from ridicule. Though Dun might have been athletic, he was a closet nerd, too. The pair had a lot in common, including their horrible fathers. But Dun at least had a mother that loved him, even if she didn’t know how to speak out against his father. Corey didn’t even have that. When the boys were ten, they met Genny. She might have been two years younger than them, but she fit right in. She was comfortable going along with them, whether playing games or going on one of Dun’s nature hikes. Things shifted when Dun was seventeen and finally acted on his feelings for Genny, but a year later he graduated and left her behind, broken-hearted. He moved on to Chicago where he worked as a mover. Corey went to college and was already on his way to building his empire before his college graduation. Genny went to college and double majored in education and drama. At twenty-four, Corey married Samantha, bringing Dun and Genny face to face again. Dun had hoped to avoid that day until he had made something of himself, but once he saw Gen there was no avoiding how they still felt about one another. But at twenty-six, Dun left Genny behind yet again, breaking her heart a second time. He disappeared to Utah. Afterward, Gen pursued her dreams, which took her to Hollywood. Twenty-eight years have passed.

When tech mogul Corey Szabo commits suicide, the world is taken by surprise. But it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision to end his life. He meticulously planned everything. He left a box behind with instructions for his old friends Duncan and Genny to open it together, alone. Since Duncan hadn’t attended the funeral, it was incumbent upon Gen to go to him in order to honor Corey’s last wishes. It has been twenty-eight years since they had seen one another, and it was a lifetime ago. Neither knows what to expect of the contents, and what follows rips their worlds apart.

Duncan and Genny’s emotional journey begins with Corey’s box, which opens up a world pain for them both. They struggle to understand, though the betrayal cuts too deep to excuse. Amidst the turmoil, though, some meddling matchmakers set about trying to create a happy ending. When the media catches wind about the famous actress and the iconic outdoorsman being spotted together, however, things begin to spin out of control. Duncan and Genny aren’t the same people they were twenty-eight years ago, and their families only add to the chaos that ensues. With concerns over managing the speculation, issues such as Team Tom and Team Duncan have to be dealt with, not to mention their kids. A few questions remain, though. What did Corey want from all this, and did he get his wish? But Corey’s efforts haven’t all come to light yet. Some of his story remains. The couple eventually earns a hard-fought and long awaited happy ending.

Wow! Duncan and Imogen’s story is magnificent. Raw and real, the characters are so vibrant they nearly walk off the page. This story is big – it is broad and spans over four decades. A tragic event pulls together old friends and lovers whose search for answers and closure, along with the help of some well-meaning friends and family who happily play matchmaker, brings about a second chance for love. This is a love story that overflows with a myriad of emotions, but underlying it is a man who none of them really understood. He took his pain and made something of himself, but that never satisfied his hunger for love and acceptance. He destroyed every chance he had for happiness during life, but left behind a twisted plan for redemption. This is also his story and his legacy.

Duncan and Genny’s second chance romance sucks you in from the start. It is a story of friendship. It deals with betrayal, mental illness, and suicide. It is very much a story about family, too. Outdoor enthusiasts and animal lovers will enjoy several of the characters, notably Duncan. The story is well-written, though some typos creep in later in the book and there are a few confusing spots. It is plot-driven. It is complex in breadth and depth. There are many storylines, and some promising stories yet to be told. It will have you racing through the book to see how it all finally unfolds, and have you waiting for your favorite characters’ stories to be released. The characters are carefully crafted and three dimensional. It really feels like a real modern family abounding with vivid personalities. The story is written several points of view, as there are so many angles to the story. It is written in first person in Imogen’s POV, and in third person in Duncan’s, Corey’s, and Chloe’s POVs. The epilogue also has segments written in third person in Sullivan’s and Tom’s POVs, and a Post Script that points to Chloe’s story is written in third person in Rhys’s POV. I rate this book 4.5 stars (only because of the typos and confusing spots).

I received an advance copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

About Gen Swan:

Imogen Sarah Swan, fifty-two, is America’s sweetheart. She landed a job on Rita’s Way shortly after arriving in Hollywood, and it was an iconic role that launched her career. She is easily recognizable, and the show even has younger fans thanks to streaming services. After the series came to an end, she shifted into starring in feature films. But alas roles for more mature women in Hollywood are few and far between, and eventually she retired at age forty-five, moving her family to Phoenix seven years ago. She can now sometimes go to the grocery store without being recognized.

Imogen was lucky as far as Hollywood marriages go. She met and married Tom Pierce, a celebrity in his own right, probably about three years after she left Chicago. They had a good marriage that lasted twenty-four years. They have been divorced just over a year, but they remain best friends, talking daily. They make an effort for the sake of the three loving children they raised together, Chloe, Matt, and Sasha.

Tom was a successful tennis player. Competition is in his bones and he lives a passionate life. He is an alpha male and loves to take the lead. After leaving competition, he began a career in broadcasting as a commentator. That wasn’t enough for him, though. Ever the overachiever, he also became a sports medicine doctor and runs a practice. The public sees him as saint.

Chloe “Coco” Pierce, twenty-four, is a diva with a huge heart. She went to France at nineteen and fell for an artist, amongst other dramas. It took three years to get her to return home. Once home, she used her trust fund to open a boutique in Phoenix. Open one year now, it is already turning a profit. She is now her mother’s stylist.

Matt Pierce, twenty-three, is in his second year of medical school at USC. He is protective in nature, and is having a hard time coming to terms with his parents’ divorce.

Sasha Pierce, twenty, considers herself a student of the planet. She didn’t go to college, and instead travels where the wind blows her. She lacks direction, but always has a huge smile.

About Corey Szabo:

Shortly after they married, Corey divorced Sam and followed Genny to L.A., where he remained her good friend and Uncle Corey to her children. Sam had been pregnant at the time they divorced and gave birth to their son, Hale.

Corey Szabo, a self-made billionaire and the brains behind Corza Computers, could have any woman he wanted. He had been briefly married just the once and dated throughout the years, but he never seemed to find that elusive happiness he so desperately sought. He had overcome so much with his success – he hadn’t let his horrible upbringing stop him from proving himself to the world. He wasted years searching for something he finally accepted he would never have, and had done a lot of damage along the way. He always second-guessed himself, and when reality finally hit, he decided to do something about it.

Hale Szabo, about twenty-seven now, spent time with both his parents growing up. When visiting his father in L.A., however, it was Tom and Genny who were his parent figures. They welcomed him into their family with open arms and supported his dreams; his father never really connected with him. Hale eventually followed his heart and became a camp counselor. His father never approved of what he chose to do with his life.

Hale reminded Corey too much of his old friend Duncan.

About Duncan Holloway:

Duncan “Bowie” William Holloway, fifty-four, is an environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast. He also has an explosive temper that surfaces from time to time, and he can be very stubborn. The CEO and founder of River Rain uses his position to draw attention to and raise money for many of the issues that are near and dear to his heart, to include saving wetlands and the rain forest. He is seen as a hero of sorts. As child he could always be found hiking and exploring the outdoors near his Winston, Illinois home. He had a natural enthusiasm which even his father couldn’t intimidate out of him. It did, however, impact his self-esteem. He hadn’t always refused his father’s commands, something that haunts him to this day. His father’s controlling voice often made him doubt himself. At age twenty-six, however, he moved to Utah. He converted that passion for the outdoors into a successful business. River Rain is his dream, but it took years of hard work to realize it.

At thirty-two, Duncan had begun to make something of himself. He met Dora, who shared his love of the outdoors, and finally got married. Twenty years ago they moved to Prescott, Arizona, where Duncan remains. The marriage lasted sixteen years altogether, and it did not end well. There might be some karma at play. Nevertheless, he has his boys, Sully and Gage, who are both serial daters. Six years have passed since the divorce, and Duncan finds himself surrounded by his beloved pets. He loves being a father and doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes his own father made. He hopes his sons might eventually choose to come to work for him at River Rain, but the choice is theirs to make.

Sullivan, twenty-one, is majoring in environmental engineering at Purdue. He is dedicated to his studies and has a girlfriend, Aubrey. He has some scars from the fallout of his parents’ marriage, but he is good at keeping things close to the vest.

Gage, nineteen, will be lucky if he graduates from the University of Arizona, down in Tucson. He is perhaps enjoying college life a little too much.

As for the Audio: it is very well-performed and consistent with the book.

4 people found this helpful

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Not Bad, Just....Blah

It was the definition of OK. It would have been a decent short story, but there wasn't enough meat for a full novel. I'm 50, and was looking forward to a KA story about a couple in their 50s. But it was shallow and vapid. Most of the sexy times were glossed over and if you blinked, you missed the other couple of them. Kind of defeated the "older couples are still vital" theme...

Narration was fine, although the main female narrator's very upper crust, snooty voice got on my nerves, and added to the vapid feel for me.

I was ready for it to be over LONG before the end.

4 people found this helpful

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Love it

It loved everything about it. The Writing style, the characters, the narrators. I look forward to the next book in this series.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JED66
  • 10-29-21

What a wonderful story

I want to be part of their big family. The narrators did a great job

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  • William
  • 10-03-21

One of her best yet!

Deep characters and intriguing plot. And of course a love story!
Have downloaded next in series and eagerly awaiting subsequent books.

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  • Skinfull
  • 08-17-21

I got bored and tapped out

The guy I think Bowie was his name was upfront, honest about what he wanted and made it clear. The gal (Imogen I think) was reluctant and nervous about dredging up the past but there was an obvious spark. They have dinner. They speak honestly and decide to try getting to know each other again. And I realised I'm only 1/3 of the way in so everything after now will likely be fabricated drama, frustrating to read so I quit.

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  • jd66
  • 07-22-21

Amazing book

What an amazing story I loved the characters but I hated Corey. At the same time I felt so sorry for his upbringing

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  • Debbie
  • 03-01-21

Amazing

Any Kristen Ashley fan is going to love this. Fantastic story, really beautiful writing. The narrators were all 5⭐️
Can’t wait for the next book

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  • Jen Pearson
  • 04-18-21

Disappointing

DNF. I didn’t like the voices nor the story. Normally a fan of KA’s work.