By Samantha Sotto
Crown, $23.00, 298 pages

Samantha Sotto takes readers on a fantastic journey throughout time and around the globe with her debut novel Before Ever After. In the same vein as beloved stories as Tuck Everlasting and The Time Traveler’s Wife, the book asks readers to evaluate a relationship from its beginning to the end.

Shelley is still mourning the loss of her late husband, Max, when a stranger appears at her door with information proving he is still alive, and even more surprising, that he may be immortal. During the rest of the book, Shelley reminisces about how she and her husband met, became engaged and the amazing stories her history buff romantic used to tell as they toured Europe. However, questions remain about why Max has not come back to her and what remains for their relationship.

Larger than life questions are pondered by the characters in the novel, asking what ‘timeless’ truly is, and more importantly, is love worth seeking when there is ultimately a time-limit on any relationship. Sotto is a fantastic writer who writes her characters with deep understanding of their personality, throws detailed settings of time and place to create a more magical scene, and is so eloquent with her execution of plot and writing that readers will finish the last page and start the book again.

Sophie Sestero

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