Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto - 297 pages
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 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."
My Review: 3.5 stars
This was a welcome ARC sent to me that I just couldn’t wait to dig into. It’s part history, part current day, a little mystical and a beautiful romance. This is a story of an immortal man and the consequences he pays with: love, honesty, life and death.
There is a continuing theme of eggs (rebirth) throughout the book which I very much enjoyed.
I loved the idea of the tour across Europe called The Slight Detour in which the couple met and secured their love. Each stop (detour) held a historical story that held Max’s personal histories. Shelley, Max’s bereaved widow made me laugh at her lists that she made. I so relate to that. I always say, “Making my To Do list is half the Battle.”
This book gave me an interesting perspective of what it would be like to be immortal and have no ancestry, no bucket list and perhaps no regrets.
Tags: Magical Realism, Historical Fiction, Romance
Labels: 2011, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance