Customer Reviews for

Before Ever After

Average Rating 4
( 106 )
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(52)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

I loved it!

"Before Ever After" has it all. The background settings are breathtaking. The story is full of mystery, romance, adventure, humor, and philosophy.all of my favorite things. The characters are real and very human. The ever twisting plot makes it impossible to put down. S...
"Before Ever After" has it all. The background settings are breathtaking. The story is full of mystery, romance, adventure, humor, and philosophy.all of my favorite things. The characters are real and very human. The ever twisting plot makes it impossible to put down. Shelley lost her husband, Max, abruptly, blown up by a bomb while she was on the phone with him. Three years later, Paolo knocks on her door, claiming to be her thirty-two year old husband's thirty-two year old grandson. Could Max possibly still be alive? She hastily boards a plane to the Philippines with Paolo, for the most important journey of her life. During their trip, Shelley tells Paolo the story of how she and Max met and her experience with him as a tour guide. Okay.maybe a little far out.but I loved it.

posted by Amai66 on August 28, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

before

hated this book. The plot started out one way and kept branching off into another faction , further back in history. Thus "before ever after"

posted by 7166896 on February 11, 2012

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved it!

    "Before Ever After" has it all. The background settings are breathtaking. The story is full of mystery, romance, adventure, humor, and philosophy.all of my favorite things. The characters are real and very human. The ever twisting plot makes it impossible to put down. Shelley lost her husband, Max, abruptly, blown up by a bomb while she was on the phone with him. Three years later, Paolo knocks on her door, claiming to be her thirty-two year old husband's thirty-two year old grandson. Could Max possibly still be alive? She hastily boards a plane to the Philippines with Paolo, for the most important journey of her life. During their trip, Shelley tells Paolo the story of how she and Max met and her experience with him as a tour guide. Okay.maybe a little far out.but I loved it.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    A Must-Read!

    Fantastic! This book had everything; romance, intrigue, history, mystery, suspense. At times it broke your heart, and at others it warmed your soul. It kept me guessing until the very end, and I never wanted to put it down; never wanted it to end! The story was fascinating, the characters were easy to sympathize with and relate to. It was the kind of book where you were really sad that they aren't people you know in real life. The kind of book that makes you mourn when it ends, and long for more. I absolutely loved it! I would read it again and again!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    Great read!

    This book grabbed me right away. What an interesting story. I didn't want it to end.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Fantastic

    I received a free ARC of this book.
    If you have not preordered this novel yet, then stop reading this review and go to Amazon and buy it. I promise you will not regret it. This is a magical tale of love and secrets, by turns funny, touching and heartbreaking. This is one of those books that will grab you from the first page and not let you go until you've absorbed every word. Even then, it will linger with you for days.
    The story is original and yet familiar enough to resonate in the reader's imagination. How many times have we felt that the person beside us is a stranger? How many times have we wondered if we know everything there is to know about our significant other? Well, this book takes that to an extreme level, pushing the boundaries of our belief, yet never breaking them. It is expertly crafted, exquisitely plotted, with a delicacy that makes every chapter a little jewel to cradle. The many stories interwoven into the plot add levels of symbolism that make this book a wonder to read.
    Max and Shelley, the protagonists, have abundant charisma, enough to spill over from the pages and eke into the reader's life. Their dialogue is hilarious, Max obsession with chickens a blast of freshness. Shelley is wholly human, three-dimensional and a riot to follow on her adventures. That is not to say that the rest of the characters are any less that marvelous. They will each steal a piece of your heart.
    I can easily recommend this to absolutely everyone. Add this one to your to-be-read lists.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Highly Recommend!

    I was completely captivated by Samantha Sotto's novel, Before Ever After. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but when I sat down to read it, it was difficult to tear myself away. I liked the character of Shelley a lot. I'm sure it's difficult to lose a spouse and I felt her journey back from the unexpectedness of Max's death was going realistically. Meeting a man named Paolo puts a wrench in her grieving process. The story moves back and forth in time, especially to the European tour Shelley took around the Continent "off the beaten track" where she first met her husband Max. The historical stories of a woman named Isabelle and her ancestors were very compelling and touched on many areas of history. I think the twists in the story would make it great for book club discussions.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Great,fun read

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Great Read!!!

    This is ambitious. Hedonism, existentialism, darkness, resilience, comedy, familial love, romantic love, true love - themes that are explored in this novel that at some point in our lives, we've experienced either in a small, medium or encompassing way. The clever use of vignettes to portray these themes as Max is constructed (or deconstructed depending on an individual's point of view) is where, in my opinion, the ambition of the book coincides with its brilliance. All in all, the combination of the vignettes and the various contexts it gives, the dry Brit humor, excellent historical backdrops, and the dash of the supernatural make this an excellent and entertaining read for the summer. Definitely a two thumbs up.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Amazing first novel!

    I absolutely loved this book! It was such a great adventure through Europe and the plot was riveting. I loved how Shelley and Max met and spent their time together and the history and factual information made me want to constantly look up photographs of where they were. The "fantasy" aspect fit along with the story nicely and the ending is very hopeful. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    Amazing book. Love it to bits!

    Max used to be a tour guide, but not an ordinary tour guide. He led his 'campers' to unusual spots around Europe not to appreciate the sights or the food, but the history and the lives of those who once inhabited the land, walked on those fields, swam in those waters. And that's when Shelley fell in love with him, while he led her through time and attempted to teach her, and the other campers, the value of a chicken and some eggs.

    Years later, Shelley is Max's widow, but one can't say she's actually alive. She survives in a daily struggle to breathe and keep a parody of the life she shared with him. Everything, however, is about to change.

    There's someone at the door. She opens it.

    And there is Max.

    For the split of a moment, she believes herself insane. She's a prisoner of her own hallucinating mind.

    But, no, that cannot be. That's not Max. That's Paolo Rossi. Max's grandson.

    How can that be possible? Max wasn't more than a couple years older than herself.

    Paolo brings photographs showing a greying Max, whose face never seemed to gain those unavoidable lines time gifts everyone with. That's just a detail, though. More importantly, Max may be alive. There is another photograph and there is Max, standing by his famous eggs and cheese, the blank piece of Scrabble she had given him hanging from a chain around his neck.

    But why would he lie to her? Why would he make her believe he's gone?

    It's time for Shelley to face reality, and a journey towards truth has never taken so long. Literally.

    It's a journey which is also hard to describe, it provokes feelings words cannot express. More than a timeless romantic tale, Samantha Sotto created many lives within two, many stories within one. The settings are very vividly depicted, both with awe and appeal, not leaving room for tediousness born out of long and meaningless sentences.

    The plot has a quality of rare originality - so I'll stop talking about it right now, or I'll spoil it. It suffices to say that it starts unpretentiously, but then it gets the reader back and forth in time. One minute you are travelling with Max, Shelley and the campers throughout Europe, but when you least expect it, you are immersed in the Fall of the Bastille or in a monastery somewhere. For every story Max shares, there is a different storyteller's voice in the reader's mind, and a distinguished set of characters who shine on their own and for different reasons.

    Pavel and his wish to never cause pain to his mother.

    Gestrin and his fear of loneliness.

    Uri and his grief.

    And so many others. There is a connection between these many historical figures and Shelley, a connection which, eventually, changes her life in such a way that there is no turning back.

    And how does Max fit into this?

    Forgive the cliché, but that is for me to know and for you to find out!

    Max is a wonderfully developed character, though. He's got a very philosophical attitude towards life and how to make the best of it, a sense of humour to give the Weasley twins a run for their galleons and something else, something uniquely his, that makes him special, lovable, sensitive.

    The story is beautifully brought to a close. It is simultaneously predictable and unimaginable, happy and sad, bitter and sweet.

    An authentic story and a talented debut writer can only make a highly recommended book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    before

    hated this book. The plot started out one way and kept branching off into another faction , further back in history. Thus "before ever after"

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 14, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Well done !

    I loved the fantasy of being immortal; I loved Max, his chickens, his eggs and his stories. All the characters were interesting and blended together for a great story. Well worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    My daughter told me I should read this book because it was about a young women losing the love of her life. It was a wonderful book that brought a smile to my face. I always like a happy ending!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Modern Fairy Tale Told though European Tour

    What if "happily ever after" doesn't apply to you? <i>Before Ever After</i> is an exploration into the "before" and its impact on a grieving woman's life. Shelley Gallus lost her happy life when her husband, Max, was blown up by a bomb while she spoke to him on the phone. Three years later, Paolo knocks on her door, claiming to be her thirty-two year old husband's thirty-two year old grandson. Could Max possibly still be alive? In blind haste, she boards a plane to the Philippines with Paolo, for the most important journey of her life. During their trip, Shelley tells Paolo the story of how she and Max met and her experience with him as a tour guide. If Shelley and Paolo can piece together their mutual understanding of Max, maybe they can find the truth. Samantha Sotto began researching this book years before the idea to write it hit her. She studied, lived and backpacked extensively through Europe and explored crooked cobblestone alleys and mysterious corners that hinted of stories not written in history books.<i> Before Ever After</i> is an entertaining tour through the ages in Europe and a most unusual love story. The enjoyment lies in the book's journey, not in Shelley's understanding of Max and his grandson. Ms. Sotto unleashes her fertile imagination in this unconventional adult fairy tale. She creatively weaves romance, historical fiction, mystery and the supernatural into a fun, witty book. The flashbacks and time and location changes are, however, a bit convoluted. Readers must stay on their toes to keep track of all the characters in the stories within the story. If you stick with it, you'll find the improbability of some of the book's scenes add to its charm. The author's youthful zeal for European travel pops off the pages. Recommended for devotees of European culture, historic places and mystical love stories. The Crown Publishing Group graciously supplied the advance review copy. The opinions expressed are unbiased and wholly that of the reviewer. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2014

    I bought this book based on the reviews. Boy, I'll think twice a

    I bought this book based on the reviews. Boy, I'll think twice about doing that again. This book was totally off the charts.. The story not only was a back-and-forth read but it was totally bizarre. Waste of my time and my money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    I just don't see the point

    :(

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Awesome!

    Very creative love story. Cannot put it down.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    Hard to put this one down. Immediately started to reread it for

    Hard to put this one down. Immediately started to reread it for more detail and enjoyed it just as much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    LOVED this book....

    ...so much so that I ordered it in "real" book format to keep in my permanent personal library. A delight to read, an unusual plot, this book will hold your attention from the first page to the last. Read it, adore it, keep it forever--because you'll want to re-visit it in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Wonderful love story

    Shelly and Max's love story comes to life in this incredibly written story of never ending love. I have never been so captured by a love story as i was during this one. Within the first 5 pages i was hooked and needed to know how their tragedy ended. I was pleasently surprised and wanted more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    .

    .

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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