This week I read Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto. My sweet bloggy friend, Diane @ Diane Writes recommended it a few weeks ago in this post. I am so happy I read this it because of the book's unique premise.
The video teaser for this book was so well done. It does an excellent job of summarizing the basic plot.
Warning: If you did not view the video, the remainder of this post will not make sense to you.
We do not have the opportunity to learn about Max and Shelley's love story in real time; we are told their story in flashback. I think Sotto was brilliant in retelling their story in this way because it allows Shelley to recall Max's melancholy and its possible source as Paolo and Shelley look for clues in stories Max shared with his tourists during The Slight Detour.
A flier for The Slight Detour reads:
Not for the prissy or the daft.
Nutters most welcome.
Good fun and excellent egg breakfasts included.
I loved everything about the quirky Slight Detour. One would never find the stories Max shares in any history book. I kept thinking while reading it how much I would love to travel through time and witness my ancestors, their joys, and their sorrows. I must mention that Samantha Sotto is a huge Dr. Who and David Tenant fan which is a good enough reason to read her books in my opinion!
I must say that I loved the history in this book. I enjoyed the chapter about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 best. I also liked the myth and incarnation of a very creepy, sociopathic immortal who seems to threaten Max. This book has plenty of suspense, chickens, and eggs! Max's unhealthy obsession with chickens and eggs is a major plot point, and as Shelley recalls scenes from their tour, the obsession begins to make sense. I just wish I had Max's world-famous recipe for baked eggs and cheese!
Before Ever After was such a pleasure to read. It is not a romance, but it is romantic. It also has history, suspense, drama, magical realism, and a nail-biting ending. Shelley's grief over Max is so palpable; I was truly rooting for her to find the answers. I suggest you find this book, make a hot cup of jasmine tea, and relax and read.
You can see Shelley's scrapbook from the tour on Samantha Sotto's website here.
Until next time...