Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

This book has been sitting on one of my TBR piles since the NBS book sale in January 2014. Anticipating having to wait in line for errands we had to take care of over the weekend (I first started writing this post back in November – don’t get me started on that), I grabbed it off the shelf and shoved it into my bag. As it turned out, I didn’t have a lot of waiting to do but I still found time to read. I was quite happy to have started and finished a novel over the weekend. 


The book was published in 2011. At the time of its release, the book and its author, Samantha Sotto, had been featured on blogs that I’d been following. More than the mystery that her character Shelley had to solve, I was more interested in reading a novel set in Europe, written by a first-time Filipina author.
There were no dull moments in Before Ever After. It wasn’t just the story of Isabelle and her ancestors that got me hooked. It was the virtual tour of Europe that was even more interesting. I had visited Pere Lachaise (a famous cemetery in Paris) before I turned 18, but I didn’t get to know much about the events that took place there. I also took that arduous walk up the steps of Sacre Coeur Cathedral and its tower – so while Shelley was describing it, I felt like I was rushing to keep up with her. I still dream of going on trips to Europe, and the story took me for a ride that further fueled my longing.

Apart from my bias for the setting, I was gripped by the sadness, the emptiness, that the main character felt after having lost her husband. It brought to mind writings of another blogger who counted the days since her world was turned upside down by the sudden death of her husband, and her transition from happy parents of two kids, to single mom of two. It was something i couldn't, and wouldn't, grip.

What’s gripping is the story. I can’t explain it. I can’t say that it was well-written. It actually felt rough around the edges, in a manner of speaking. But it was good. What’s conflicting to me was that it felt like reading serious historical fiction, but with a chick lit vibe. You know what I mean? I won’t even try to explain.

It is a recommended read though. I wonder when her next book comes out?

To know more about what the book is really about, here’s the book trailer.