Sara's Reviews > Before Ever After

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
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Nov 07, 11

bookshelves: 2011, adult-fiction, did-not-finish
Read on November 06, 2011

This book had an interesting premise, but the story didn't come together in a captivating enough way, and I didn't finish reading it, though I did flip to the end to read that and see if it was worth the journey. As the book begins, Shelley is still trying to cope with her husband's death years earlier, until the doorbell rings and the man, Paolo, standing there looks so much like Max (her husband) and claims that Max is his grandfather, that Max never ages, and that Max is somehow still alive. Shelley accepts this and goes on a chase with Paolo across several countries in an attempt to figure out what happened.

I think the idea behind this book is a good one. However, I never cared enough about the characters to understand why I should care about the plot. Shelley and Max have little personality, although they do have quirks to set them apart (for example, Max loves baked eggs, a theme that was referenced numerous times). With such flat characters, I couldn't understand their attraction to one another, nor could I understand why Shelley was so eager to believe Paolo's tale of Max still being alive and not being able to live without him. I didn't feel any particular emotion toward the characters and the plot suffered because of it. It felt like things happened and people acted/reacted in certain ways because the plotline required it, and it didn't take long until I was skimming instead of reading. I flipped to the end and read that, since I was a little curious how the author would tie everything together, and it ended as I'd expected. I don't feel like I missed anything by skipping the entire middle of the book.

I don't think this was a bad book, but it also wasn't good enough to stand out amid all the other novels out there. It was just sort of... bland. It didn't feel magical (which is sad, since the premise was quite magical!), it wasn't particularly light-hearted nor was it deep and thought-provoking; it was just a lot of words that evoked no emotion. I think the author has promise, but this novel didn't showcase what she might be capable of.
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