'Before Ever After'
Author: Samantha Sotto
Published: Crown; Aug. 2011
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis: Three years after the death of her quirky, wonderful husband, Max, Shelley is a young widow barely able to get through the day. Until a knock on the door brings a thirty-two-year-old man who claims to be her thirty-two-year-old husband’s grandson--yes, grandson--into her life. And he tells her that her beloved husband Max is still very much alive and living halfway across the world. It sounds impossible, but that is part of the joy of this novel: it is about a search for answers to the critical, and most basic, questions about life. It is about what should be impossible but because of the transformative power of love, isn’t.
Samantha Sotto takes readers on a journey--from London to the Philippines, and all over Europe--as Shelley and the grandson set off to track down Max.
My Take: This isn't a new type of story, the time traveller. It's been done a lot in recent years, yet for some reason in this new format I really enjoyed it. Remember The Time Traveller's Wife (link's to the movie review)? I read that in my pre-blogging days. I liked that but was a little skeeved out by the love of an older man for a little girl. Then, more recently, we had My Name is Memory (click for my review) where most people died and came back, they just couldn't remember it. This one didn't work for me either because it was a love story I couldn't get in to. Too overwrought. However, obviously I don't shy away from the space/time continuum issue because I jumped right into this one and I am happy I did. This was the time traveling book I was looking for!
Sotto has managed to create a believable and romantic love story that adults can believe in. Max is our resident 'time traveller', only this time it's that he is immortal. He keeps coming back to life after he dies. So he has seen it all really. In modern times, Shelley is wife and had no idea throughout their entire marriage that he was, well, immortal. They met on a European tour. Max was the guide and boy did he know some unique things about the tour that your average tour guide wouldn't be able to tell you about the cities they visited. The participants were captivated and Shelley felt her heart beating fast. When she learned the feelings were reciprocated though she didn't think it was a good idea because she knew that love isn't always forever. But they do get married and she is right, he dies two years later ... or so she thought.
Then one day a man named Paolo shows up on Shelley's doorstep who looks an awful lot like Max saying he is Max's grandson and she freaks out because who wouldn't. Max was too young to have an adult grandson. It is time to piece this together! We get taken on that journey.
What was particular enjoyable for me, besides the mystery of who the true Max was, was the trip back through history. It was really interesting to learn some really unique and random facts about countries that I've visited in Europe and had no idea these events occurred. If you can suspend belief for a little bit, this book is one that will be great to take on a tour with you!
Cover Lust: I'm going to be honest, I think this cover is only just ok. I wish the green old looking book was the whole cover and not laid on a wooden background. I think that would look more unique.
The author has kindly offered up one new copy to a lucky winner! The deadline for this giveaway is Aug. 23rd; entries open to those in the US and Canada.
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3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Aug. 23rd. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!
For other opinions about this book, here's the full TLC Tour Schedule.