Before Ever After: A Novel

Samantha Sotto

Published by Broadway Books, 2012
ISBN 10: 030771988X / ISBN 13: 9780307719881
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Synopsis: "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.

Review: Melissa Senate Reviews Before Ever After

A former book editor, Melissa Senate is the author of ten novels, including her latest, The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, which Publishers Weekly says “reinvents comfort food.” She lives on the coast of Maine.

Before Ever After is my favorite kind of book: magical. It is a book in which the every day of life, of marriage, of calling a husband to ask him to pick up something on his way home, are forever changed by the extraordinary, the unexpected, the impossible.

Three years after the death of her quirky, wonderful husband, Max, Shelley is a young widow barely able to get through the day. Until a knock on the door brings a thirty-two-year-old man who claims to be her thirty-two-year-old husband’s grandson--yes, grandson--into her life. And he tells her that her beloved husband Max is still very much alive and living halfway across the world. It sounds impossible, but that is part of the joy of this novel: it is about a search for answers to the critical, and most basic, questions about life. It is about what should be impossible but because of the transformative power of love, isn’t.

Samantha Sotto takes readers on a journey--from London to the Philippines, and all over Europe--as Shelley and the grandson set off to track down Max. Along the way, Shelley recounts the package tour where she and Max met, years ago. Anyone who has booked a EuroRail pass or tried to live out of a backpack for more than a few days can relate to Shelley’s trip, and for those who have never had the chance, this is your next best shot. Most of us, bouncing about from Père Lachaise to St. Mark’s Basilica, return home with little more than a few tchotchkes and some great stories, but for Shelley, her life was changed from the moment Max’s tour-guide flyer caught on the heel of her shoe on a windy, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life kind of day. Had this flyer caught on my shoe, I would have been on that tour bus with Max in a heartbeat too:

Fancy Getting Lost? The Slight Detour: Veer away from the unexpected and lose yourself to the back roads of history on a road trip across Europe. Not for the prissy or the daft. Nutters most welcome. Good fun and excellent egg breakfasts included.

I went on that irresistible journey with Shelley and then on several more over the course of this remarkable novel. A journey of adventure, romance, history, magic. Long after the last page of this book, that beautiful journey has stayed with me.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Before Ever After: A Novel
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780307719881

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780307719881

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