Before Ever After

Before Ever After : A Novel

3.76 (5,634 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.76 (5,634 ratings by Goodreads)

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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 Life

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. 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 133 x 203 x 17mm | 261g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 030771988X
  • 9780307719881
  • 411,148

Review quote

"I was floored by the gutsy scope of this highly unusual love story. Before Ever After is one of those books that challenges the natural laws of fiction writing, and Samantha Sotto pulls it off in a frisky and highly entertaining way." - Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of Juliet

"I was absolutely enchanted by Before Ever After. It's a highly original and engaging mix of romance, mystery and magic that will challenge everything you think you know about happily ever after." - Jill Smolinski, author of The Next Thing on My List

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 Life

"Exquisitely written and inventively told, Before Ever After is a beautiful, moving--and quite fun--exploration of what you think you know about your own life." -Melissa Senate, author of The Love Goddess' Cooking School

In Samantha Sotto's high spirited debut, a young widow travels to a remote and distant island to answer the question, what price do we pay for eternal love. It is a mesmerizing journey transcending time and continents, all to remind that there are many ways to live on forever and to immortalize a marriage. Note to readers: Curl up with jasmine tea and savor the warm, rich writing, as delectable as the recipes for love found within every enchanting page. -Saralee Rosenberg, author of Claire Voyant
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About Samantha Sotto

SAMANTHA SOTTO fell in love with Europe's cobbled streets and damp castles when she moved to the Netherlands as a teenager. Since then, she has spent nights huddled next to her backpack on a Greek beach, honeymooned in Paris, and attended business meetings in Dusseldorf in the pleasant company of a corporate credit card. Before Ever After was inspired by her experiences living, studying, and traveling through Europe. She is the author of Love and Gravity and Before Ever After.
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Rating details

3.76 out of 5 stars
- 5,634 ratings
5 28% (1,580)
4 35% (1,999)
3 24% (1,361)
2 9% (498)
1 3% (196)

Our customer reviews

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 more
by Julie Rimpula
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