Before Ever AfterAuthor: Samantha Sotto
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Published: August 2nd 2011 by Crown
"A smartly written romance, mystery and historical adventure all wrapped up in a page-turner that will have you guessing until the very end." – Adena Halpern, author of The Ten Best Days of My LifeThree years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
I absolutely loved this book! It was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. Before Ever After is a story of love and redemption that will leave you breathless.
This book is a real page-turner. I could hardly put it down. That's how hooked I was. I'm not a fan of chick lit and romance but I liked this story very much. The plot was really interesting and the lines are beautiful. Samantha Sotto has a way with words that made the story and the characters more alive. I really liked the flow of the story. There's just the right amount of mystery in it, mixed with history, humor and romance. Each of Max's story during the tour was interesting and unique. The tour itself was amusing as well. The campers' experiences were one of a kind and would make you want to go on an Europe trip yourself.
The characters were good, too. I could relate to Shelley's grief when her husband died and her pain when she discovered that he's still alive. The emotions were so real that it seeps from the pages and affects the reader. Max was a complicated one. He's full of secrets and up until the end, he did not divulge everything. But he's a colorful character, thanks to his numerous lifetimes. His pain and sadness were almost palpable and I don't blame him for not wanting to tell anyone what he really was. People make their own choices and it's up to them to live with those decisions. The other campers were interesting, too. They have their own stories that somehow correlates to the lives of the main characters.
The ending was kinda vague but I loved it. It was like, it's up to the readers to decide the ending of the story. Personally, I'd like to think that Shelley got what she asked for and she and Max lived happily ever after. It was beautiful. Definitely a good and one of a kind read.
Nothing was lonelier than the limping beat of half a heart.
“You can make a child believe a lot of things. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny … just about anything really, except love. You cannot make a child believe you love him if you don’t.”
“Children know when they’re loved. It’s when you grow up that you’re more easily fooled.”
“…you might be surprised at how much happiness you can find in the pages of the shortest of love stories. Unlike penises, their length truly does not count.”