Before Ever After

My long hiatus with books has ended. I think I mentioned several times in this blog that books are something that have totally shaped me, and which I hope I can pass on to my young daughter. Very unfortunately, motherhood came along, and my passion for reading was stifled a little. No, make that a lot. Inasmuch as I would like to pick up new arrivals and devour them at home, I cannot ignore the demands of Mischa, especially now that she’s at that cling-to-mommy stage. My book purchases of late have been of Dr. Seuss, Good Night Moons and other large, colorful board books.

Anyhow, I surprised myself by looking for that much-hyped Before Ever After of Samantha Sotto. I was fortunate enough to snag the last piece at National Bookstore in Mall of Asia, and I didn’t want to go hunting for a copy should it not have been available there. Peering into its storyline, I got hooked as soon as it mentioned travel to Europe. From its website:

A modern fairy tale about true love, happy endings, new beginnings, and everything in between.

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.

While my wandering feet have only touched the soils of the United Kingdom in that continent, my mind has wandered deep into the bellies of France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Belgium, the Netherlands and so on. My curiosity was instantly piqued. It helped that the book is continuously getting good reviews, most especially from people whose opinions I like and trust.

So now, I’m giving it a try. Try being the operative book as I have not had much time to squeeze it in over the weekend because of the kid hovering and demanding attention. It would have been one of those hard to put down books but as it is, I have to sneak it between household and child care, and my own shut eye. But the book bodes a lot of promise. I am such a sucker for love stories, history, family, and travel. I hope I can finish it this week. I felt lucky enough to steal a few chapters last Friday before sleep claimed my tired eyes and body.

If only I could leave work for a while and curl up in bed with a good book like I used to in my younger and more carefree days (waxing sentiment here).

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