Friday, January 24, 2014

Before and Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace

Title: Before and Ever Since
Author: Sharla Lovelace
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: -
Main Characters: Emily and Ben
Release Date: November 2012
Publisher: Berkley
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:

Emily Lockwood has been sitting on a secret for so long, and buried so deep that she really doesn’t even think of it anymore. Why should she? She has a successful career, an ex-husband who rarely tests her patience, a mother who usually does, and a stubbornly independent grown daughter. Everything is fine, just another crazy kind of normal.

Until Ben Landry comes back to town. From childhood friends to young lovers, Ben and Emily had an unbreakable bond. Or so she thought—until he disappeared for over twenty years without explanation. Seeing Ben again triggers more than mere memories and a tug at her heart. It rips the cover off an old secret that could hurt the people she loves most.

While Emily works to keep her secret safe and her heart safer, her sanity gets a reality check. She’s been seeing things—her past played out like home movies unreeling before her eyes, visions that are making Emily see herself, her family, everyone she knew, and every choice she made, in a revealing new light and a startling new angle. For Emily, seeing her life in rewind makes her realize she has hard choices to make for her future. Choices that may redefine everyone else’s future as well.

My Review:
Sharla Lovelace has only a very few books out. Last year I read THE REASON IS YOU and absolutely adored it (in fact, it made my top 10 list for the year). I've had this book in my TBR pile since I read that first one, but had such high hopes and expectations for it, honestly, I was a bit afraid to read it. Well I am so happy to report that this book was just as good as the other. So good!!! OMG! 

The book begins with the shocker for Emily that her mother has decided to sell her home and go on the road with her crazy Aunt and the big blue RV. This is the house her mother has lived in since she got married, so both girls were raised in it. It has so many memories for Emily and the house seems to be giving those memories back to her. As she helps clean it out, she begins to have a series of visions of events that happened in the house which she is able to watch play out like a movie. It's giving her a new fresh perspective on her parents, her childhood, and her relationships that played out in the house...and each vision always reveals something that she didn't know before.

Emily is 39-40. She has a grown 21 year old daughter and an ex-husband in the picture. Her ex husband was her boyfriend all through high school and they got married when she got pregnant. They have a decent relationship although he was a jerk and cheated on her constantly. The ties to their daughter have kept them at a friends level all these years. During high school, she also had her best friend, Ben, who came from a troubled home. But they knew everything about each other and would end each evening sitting out on the rooftop outside her bedroom. Twenty one years ago that ended when he slept with her a single time and then disappeared from her life never to be seen again....until her mom starts getting the house ready to sell. He's the handyman she hires to fix up the place and everything begins to unravel from there. 

This is a story interwoven with great characters....all tied to Emily. There is a lot going on in each of their lives as they deal with the upheaval of life. As the reader gets to know them, threads begin to unravel and secrets are revealed. Sharla Lovelace is a master story-teller. The way the book is written is magic. The flashbacks and the little pieces of new story you get along the way. I couldn't read it fast enough...and then was sad when it was over, so had to go back and re-read my favorite parts. It's an emotional read and definitely admit to crying while reading it, but I laughed just as much. It was just one of those books...all-around, it made me feel better for having read it. There is definitely angst in it, but the ending is gorgeous. I LOVED THIS BOOK! 


I'll tell you right now, Sharla Lovelace is officially on my auto-buy authors list.

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