Book Review: After the Barricades by Jessica Stilling

“… they walked out, smiling, excited as they marched into the warm spring wind that brought with it so much change. The revolution had begun.”

Jessica Stilling, After the Barricades

Title: After the Barricades
Author: Jessica Stilling
Genres: Literary, Historical Fiction
Pages: 468 (ebook)
Publish Date: May 9th, 2023

My Rating: ★★★★
Read: 4/20/2023 – 4/21/2023


Though I can’t personally vouch for it, history tells us that 1968 was a year of mayhem around the world. This book takes us to Paris during the Spring-Summer of that year through protests, strikes, and all of the devastation in between.

In 2019, Anna dedicates herself to learning about her mother’s past in the wake of her death. She travels to Paris on this endeavor. From there, the book follows Bethany in 1968, an American girl studying abroad for a year. It’s a turbulent time for the city and Bethany finds herself in the midst of the riots and protests and the lasting effects they have on her and her friends’ lives.

A lot of interesting subjects are presented and discussed throughout the story, mainly Communism vs. Capitalism. The writing is strong and each of the characters brings a unique personality to the pages. A particularly interesting supporting character is Stefan, Bethany’s friend and lover. There are a lot of intricacies of the plot to keep up with which I struggled to keep straight at times, but the end comes together nicely as the reader is brought back into the present day.

A huge thanks to the author for sending me a free digital ARC of the book to read and review!

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • An fascinating time and setting.
  • The timeline didn’t constantly jump back and forth between past and present so it was easier to stay invested in the story actively being told.
  • Strong writing.

What I didn’t like:

  • The subject lines were more political than I care to read in fiction, however, it was expected.


The book made me curious to do further research on Paris during 1968. I’ve heard of these riots in passing, but typically my focus is on everything happening in America that year. I love books that pique my curiosity about historical events.

Where to buy the book:

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