Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ending Well, Before Ever After - A Book Review

Before Ever After
By Samantha Sotto

They had been married two years when Shelley became a widow. One minute they were talking on the telephone, Shelley was asking Max to bring home some tea because tea … make that Jasmine tea made her world better. Before the conversation (and the short first chapter ends) Max is gone, killed in an explosion. Their happily ever after gone in an instant.

Fast forward three years (and on to Chapter Two) Shelley is still trying to figure out life without her beloved husband. She isn’t so much living as she is drifting, pretending really, much as her own mother had done years before when Shelley's father left them and remembering. She is stuck and struggling … until the doorbell rings.

Wearing Max’s plaid blue bathrobe and her own furry purple slippers she opens the door … and once again her life changes in an instant. Max is standing on the other side of the open door. Or at least his younger version. His name is Paolo and he has pictures of his grandfather … pictures of Max, whom he claims is alive and well. How is this possible?

Desperate to learn the truth, Shelley and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down….

Right from the start this is a novel about endings. Before Ever After is a novel of discovery, what happened between the explosion that killed Max and Paolo’s claim that his grandfather was still alive. The one will have you guessing until the end.

Mini-Writers Workshop – Most first time novelist have an idea about how to open the story they want to tell and a vague notion about how to end it. The experienced novelist knows how to write openings that keep the reader reading, and how to construct an ending that leaves the reader satisfied. Ending well means that the writer includes a suggestion of the story-ending in the opening. In Before Ever After Shelley inherits “an obscene amount of money and a diverse investment portfolio…” and she struggles to understand why Max would keep such a secret .…” The reader realizes this isn’t Max’s only secret.

Perhaps the best advice is: Start well, write well, end well. Before you begin your first or next novel, ask yourself, how will this all end? Remember the ending begins in the beginning.

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