Samantha Sotto - Before Ever After
When Was It Released?: 2nd August 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: The library
Who Published It?: Crown Publishing
Every once in a blue moon a book comes along that grips hold and of you and never lets go. A book that transports you to another world that you never want to leave. Where fairytales might just come true and maybe just maybe you may get your happily ever after. Well that’s just what Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto did for me. I never expected to fall in love with a novel quite as much as I did with this one. Before Ever After is a modern day Romeo and Juliet, with more of a fairytale twist.
One day Shelley and her husband Max were madly in love and couldn’t be happier, the next Max dies and Shelley is left behind as his widow. It has now been three years since Max’s death and Shelley has still been unable to adjust to living without him. Until, suddenly, the doorbell ring and standing there is a man who looks just like Max in everyway. Shelley cannot believe her eyes and thinks she must be going crazy until the man introduces himself as Paolo and shows Shelley some photos from his childhood. He tells her that the man in the photos is Paolo’s grandfather, Max. Her Max. And it seems he is still alive! How could he be alive when Shelley knows he died? And the question Shelley wants the answer to the most - why has he not come to find her? Desperately wanting to find the answers to her questions Shelley and Paolo travel across the world, while Shelley recounts the European tour where they met and the stories Max told her along the way. Shelley comes to some astound revelations and comes to discover that her happily ever after may not be all it seems.
How do I convey to you a book that has completely changed my view on books forever? Before Ever After is a book that I will now compare all other books to, and I know that many will fail to come even close. There are so many elements to this incredible story - romance, history, a wide range of emotions from loss to hope and adventure throughout the pages, resulting in there never being a dull moment. The character of Shelley was so likeable that I found myself routing for her ’happy ever after’ and feeling her emotions the entire way through. I found all the characters to be important within the novel, playing a part in Shelley’s story. I particularly loved the historical stories that Max told throughout the novel, finding them to be not only interesting but intriguing too, filling the story with adventure. With all the emotion the story could have become sombre, however Samantha Sotto manages to throw some humour in with the use of chicken and eggs, making the novel much lighter and natural. I now want to find out how to make the perfect baked eggs. The magical realism within the novel was a welcome change, which I do not normally enjoy. I like my novels to have some elements of realism but they way in which Samantha brought this story together made it much easier to believe that Max could still be alive.
It is very hard to tell you anything I didn’t like about the novel! If pushed I would tell you that perhaps I would have liked to have found out more about Rose and Jonathon as well as Brad and Simon, feeling that their stories were never really looked at or completed.
As you can probably tell I loved this novel! I borrowed this book from the library and because I love it so much will now be purchasing a copy so I can come back and read this book again. I would recommend this novel to everyone, and have been doing ever since I finished the book. You can’t begin to understand how incredible this novel is until you read it for yourself, and then you will be taken away with the story and laugh cry and hope along the way. I am eagerly awaiting another novel from Samantha Sotto and will be first in the queue for the next book.