Before and Ever Since

Author: Sharla Lovelace

Publisher: Berkley

Release Date: November 6, 2012

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5 + RR


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Sometimes I wonder if I can do a book justice by trying to describe how good it really is, and this novel is one of those indescribable-without-experiencing-it types of love stories.  The book kicks off with a great first sentence, onto a fun paragraph, peaking with an engaging first page of the first chapter that drew me right in.  I was immediately hooked on the heroine's comedic look at her lousy life that just gets worse as the day continues.  If you've ever had one of those days, weeks or years, you'll completely relate to these characters and their methods of dealing with harbored lifetime heartache that will hopefully be forgiven.  After all, doesn't everything always happen for a reason?

Emily Lockwood is a divorced single mom of a nearly twenty-one-year-old daughter.  Her cheating husband became her ex-husband some time ago, but he still butts into her life for various reasons, usually concerning their daughter.  Not today.

Today he decides to tell Emily that he wants to buy her mother's house.  Except Emily knows her mom's house isn't for sale.  After all, as a realtor herself, wouldn't she know that?  Not today.

In Emily's life, surprises should be expected since her ex-husband surprised her enough with his multitude of indiscretions.  Emily has moved beyond all that history, or at least, she thought she had, until the love of her life, before the ex-husband, returns to their hometown and rekindles more than their lust for each other.

Can Emily deal with her mother selling their family home and the emotion it renews from her childhood, plus a secret she's so desperate to keep that it seems to seep from every wall of the house?  Ben Landry is back, taunting her memories just as much as the house she's trying to pack up, not to mention her sister who knows her secret, and her crazy aunt who is bound to discover it.  Let's not forget Emily's free-spirited daughter and her boyfriend, who come to help Emily's mom, as well as the meddlesome ex-husband and his annoying realtor girlfriend. All of them descending upon one house and the memories it holds.  What could possibly go wrong?  Emily is about to find out in ways she never dreamed possible.  Until today.

Light-hearted with situations so real that you can't help but laugh, while shaking your head in agreement ‒ BEFORE AND EVER SINCE resonates with entertaining characters that you can relate to because someone you know is just like them.  It's so easy to get into the rhythm of a light-hearted story like this, so when the black moment comes, you feel like you've been thwacked over the head with a vacuum, which proceeds to suck the life right out of you in one huge unexpected sob.  It didn't take long to realize that this book wasn't finished with putting this reader through the wringer yet, and I gladly rode the emotional roller coaster right to the end.  Fantastic!

BEFORE AND EVER SINCE is an outstanding contemporary story with a mystical element that fuels the conflict.  Never quite sure what their family home has in store for Emily, you can't help but hope that somehow she'll find the happiness she deserves.  I highly recommend BEFORE AND EVER SINCE as a creative exploration through human emotions and the power of forgiveness.  Author Sharla Lovelace has a style all her own ‒ a talent you don't want to miss!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dorine Linnen

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