Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
Three 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 that he could be his long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, and Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.
The information Paolo shares with Shelley sets them on a trail across the globe and through some of Europe's most dramatic history in search of answers. Along the way, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was. As she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
Wow. History and a love story - talk about the perfect combination. Oh, and throw an immortal into the mix and you have got me hooked! Seriously, I have to admit that I was not expecting what I read. I mean from the blurb it says that Max is alive and well, but I truly never thought he was immortal. I just thought he had faked his death or something. Totally not what I expected. And, I love Samantha Sotto for that! This book has got to be one of my favorite reads this year. It had everything and so much more. I fell in love with Before Ever After and I'm sure anyone who reads it will, too.
So, what exactly is the story about? Love. Its as simple as that. Max and Shelley meet and fall madly in love with one another. They experience marital bliss and then suddenly, Max is no more. Shelley is devastated by her loss and pretty much lives like a zombie - sleeping, barely eating and never leaving the house. One day she gets a visitor - Max's grandson. Say what?! Yep, looks like Max was not as truthful about his past, or his age, as Shelley had believed. Trusting Paolo (Max's grandson), Shelley joins him on a trip that will reveal truths about her husband that will not only shock and amaze her, but also leave her feeling betrayed. And on this trip we learn all the details surrounding how Shelley met Max. From road trip guide to husband - lets just say, Shelley and Max had quite a historical and well-traveled courtship. Its during this trip that we learn everything about Max and who he was - except we don't really know that we are learning about Max's history until we find out that he's immortal. And let me just say that once you realize Max has been sharing stories from his own past, well, it makes for quite an emotional and unreal read. Now, I'm not going to share anymore details about this book with you, because you seriously need to read it for yourself! I want you to read all about Shelley and Max falling in love and about the many, many lives of Max. Oh, and I want you to read about the eggs and chicken and how they are relevant to the story. Yes, eggs and chicken are enmeshed in this story and its actually pretty interesting.
All in all, Before Ever After is an amazing story! Its filled with great writing, complex and emotional characters, and one unforgettable story. Its the epitome of unputdownable. And, I'll definitely be recommending it to anyone and everyone looking for a truly good read.
Thanks so much to Broadway Books an imprint of Crown Publishing for providing me with a copy of this lovely book!