Before Ever After
Author: Samantha Sotto
Publication Date: August 2nd 2011
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; 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 boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily every after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
I started Before Ever After not sure if I was going to like it, just reading the description I knew that this could go either way. Sadly, it didn't work out so great with me and Before Ever After.
If I had to scale it in a 1 through five, I would give it a 2. Those two points given for Max's stories during the tour, and the background characters. Most of Max's stories on the tours were heartwarming and interesting. I loved the offbeat places Max took them and then told a great story about. These parts are the reason I was able to finish it. Then Shelley and Max are surrounded by an awesome group of characters on the tour. I loved them. They were far more interesting then Max and Shelley. We get them through Shelley's eyes as she goes back to the tour and tells Paolo how her and Max met. They were just fun and for me, the characters I wanted to know about. And those are the reasons Before Ever After got 2 stars from me.
I'm just going to get straight to the point about why I didn't like Before Ever After. Shelley is a very annoying character. I hated being in her head about everything with the exception of when she was talking about her tour mates. I also wasn't pulled in by Max's and Shelley's romance. I felt like I was being told they are so in love. Paolo is a throw away character, why couldn't Shelley have saw Max on the internet. I saw no point in him.
Before Ever After just really didn't do it for me.