Ivy P. (Doylestown, PA)
Detailed and Interesting
I found “Before Ever After” to be consistently enjoyable. The language and tone was fun yet thoughtful and tended to remind me to laugh more than I expected. I liked the intriguing mix of mystery, eclectic locales, and especially the main character’s curiously amusing observational style. I’m not sure I would recommend it for a typical book club, but I do admit that I thought there was actually quite a lot that I would discuss with a close friend. I enjoyed reading this book in many sittings, but I delighted in it most when I really got a chance to sit down and spend real time soaking up the constantly changing settings and moods.
Jeanne C. (Ventura, CA)
Not for Me
I loved the quirkiness of Amanda Sotto’s writing, the delightful coupling of unexpected items. I had a hard time following the storyline at times; it felt disjointed. The book is well-written. However, the many vignettes of suffering, pain, and destruction depressed me and nearly caused me to stop reading the book. The depressing vignettes did have a purpose in the weaving of the story, but perhaps there were just too many of them. The ending was a surprise.
Kristin P. (Elburn, IL)
Before Ever After
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was one of the most creative books that I have read in years. It was well-executed and unlike other recent books that stretch the creativity bounds- Before Ever After's creativity was believable. This book is a great individual read, however, I would not recommend the book for a book club. This book exemplifies the art of storytelling, but it is not set-up for the typical book club analysis. If you like Audrey Niffenegger give this book a try.
Laurette A. (Rome, New York)
A totally surprising and very satisfying read
"Before Ever After" took me literally by surprise. Samanth Sotto's first novel hooked me from the beginning and slowly reeled me into the story to the point where I had to make myself stop reading in order to get anything else done. Without giving the plot away let me say that the author is a great storyteller and I highly recommend this book that others have described as a romance-mystery-historical adventure. This book is a winner and was tailor-made for book clubs and possibly a movie! My only regret is that Ms. Sotto did not include the recipe for Max's baked eggs! You won't be disappointed reading this.
Jan B. (Tetonia, ID)
Before Ever After
WOW! I sure like the concept of the story and how the author was developing it. I did find that the characters and the dialogue were not developed enough to make it truly captivating for me. It seemed like a very quick, fast forward sketched out trip. The historical stops were intriguing but becoming tiresome. I hope the author keeps writing more books as I Iove that she has such a wonderful way of viewing a story.
Jean T. (Paducah, KY)
Before Ever After Nevermore
I really wanted to like this book; even going so far as to start over again from the beginning after eighty pages in an attempt to find what I had “missed” the first time. I never found what I needed to bring it all together in a coherent whole which would have supported the author’s premise. The author shows promise with some beautiful prose and interesting insights, but much of the dialogue seemed awkward. I tried, but ultimately was never able to suspend my disbelief and just sink into the spell of the story which is what I always hope for with a good novel.
Marta M. (Santa Ana, CA)
Promising new author
I liked the story and the premise of the book but I wasn't drawn into the story as much as I wanted to be drawn in. I hated when the story left the present and went to the historical. I know that others liked the historical but all of the historical stories were sad and tragic. I wanted the fantasy, the romance, and the stories of the people on the tour. I loved the characters of Shelly and Max. I think I would have fallen in love with Max also. Shelly was strong but weak enough to fall in love with. It is a good summer read and I hope many people will read this because it is a fun little book.