June 01, 2012

May Book Club - Before Ever After

Rumor has it, that I wasn't the only one that read this month's book.  *Fingers crossed*, that's true.  I know that so many of you read - and I WANT to make this book club work.  Below is a list for the June book.  Please give me initial feedback and I'll put a poll up to make our way to a final choice.
If you did read this month's book and are linking up, I officially love you.  Seriously!

Before Ever After

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.

1. Did you like the book? Why/why not?
I got about 50 pages into the book and had a few moments of "Oh, crap.  How do I get out of reading the rest of this book?!" Something about it just didn't click for me at first. But, I pressed on.  The more I read, the more I liked it.  By the end of the book, I was quite emotionally engaged with the character of the main plot and sub-plots. I genuinely wanted to know what came AFTER the author's chosen end to the book.

I will say that this book led me to think a bit on immortality and reincarnation.  Is it something that I would willingly choose? Would I want my family, friends, etc to know that I'm still alive as they age/die/lose their health or mental faculties? How many lifetimes would it take before I got it "right"?

2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to them/ do they remind you of people you know?
Shelley and Paolo seemed quite real and believable.  Shelley's grief at certain points was palpable.  Max (in all his incarnations) was funny, sweet, entertaining and quite fascinating. These characters don't remind me of people I know in real life...however, I've met some real characters while traveling and I can just imagine running into this crew!

3. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
As a romantic, I did enjoy the ending. Shelley never wanted to be immortal - she just wanted her happily ever after with Max.  I can understand that.

4. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
I'm a history buff and could easily wander through Europe like they did, all willy nilly.  I'd like to know what stories though history sparked this novel.  Did the characters of Shelley and Max come first - or did the history come first and the characters just kind of showed up?

5. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? If so, how/why?
This is the hardest question to answer.  Max doesn't change per se...but we learn all the lives he led before this. The parts of history that made him "Max". Getting to wander through his different identities was enjoyable and when added together made for quite an interesting man.

June book suggestions:
Just Like Me, Only Better by Carol Snow
The First Day of the Rest of My Life by Cathy Lamb
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
How I Planned Your Wedding by Susan and Elizabeth Wiggs
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse Book 12) by Charlaine Harris
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee


  1. i would really love to join this! i am traveling until july 2 though so i can't do next month but i will join in july for sure!

  2. I wish I had known about this book club before! This sounds like a really interesting choice!

  3. I vote for Friendship Bread. If you do pick it please email me so I can join in. I don't want to miss out a blog post announcing it. Thanks, Susie cafescrapper@gmail.com

  4. I read it!!!!! Now I just have to blog about it. I vote for Just LIke Me Only Better!!!

  5. I read it too! I'm on vacation and didn't get a post written. I'll try to get one posted and then link up. I'll be back with my choice for June :)


  6. Just Like Me Only Better because I already have it on my TBR :)


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