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.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to. (goodreads)
Rainy season means retreating to my bedroom all day and drowning myself with a perfect book to read. Whilst listening to Coffeehouse Playlist on Spotify, I picked this book from my shelf, after being stacked up along with my other TBR books,the time has come for me to finally read it. I didn’t know that by doing so, I’ll be joining a tour across Europe’s deep-seated, historically-riched sites that only few people get to discover. Comes with every stop of the tour are stories of love and life that transcend through time.
Nostalgic and melancholic. Reading this book is like flipping through an old photo album, with every flip is like unlocking a long-kept memory of a loved one. I’ve read a lot of books that is set in Europe before, love stories that are associated with its old churches and museums. But Max and Shelley’s story is different.This book is perfectly written for old souls who wants to ride a time machine and go back in time where modern tech doesn’t exist.
“Dying is not the real tragedy. Forgetting is.”
As I read through, the fact that it was a debut novel is seems unlikely considering how perfectly every story in the book is written. The stories told by Max for every stop of the tour are like long kept memories from your ancestors and passed along through every generation. Stories that soon becomes legends or myths. Each story delivers a lesson about life and love of people who graced our world ages ago and mostly are forgotten with the passing of the centuries.
On the whole, I can say that Before Ever After is a rare gem of a novel. A dreamy and wistful journey of time traveling through a couples’ story of happily ever after.