Published by Berkley Trade on November 6th 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Emily Lockwood, your past is showing…In Before and Ever Since, Sharla Lovelace gives us such a compelling story. Not only was this a story about love—found, lost, and found again—but also about what makes a family a family. It’s also about secrets, the good and bad they can bring. I completely loved this story. Aside from being compelling, it was also magical. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrapped up in the lives of characters so quickly as I was with these, but that’s probably because Ms. Lovelace throws us for a whirlwind right from the start. I loved that! No build up, just…”get ready, folks! Shtuff’s about to hit the fan!” I didn’t expect to have such depth to the love story between Emily and Ben. I mean, they had a thing when they were teens, I didn’t realize how much bigger than a “thing” it actually was. It was one of those epic friendships from childhood that turns into love, only to have it break your heart in the end. But who did the breaking, reeeeally? I thought I knew… But now Emily and Ben have gotten a second chance at…something, and no matter how hard they try to fight it, their sparks are undeniable and, oh, so obvious to everyone. I loved their chemistry. And I loved how it was all laced with this tension that was so very palpable. I also really enjoyed the complicated family dynamics. I loved Emily’s mom for wanting to go out and have an adventure. I really enjoyed Emily’s relationship with her daughter, and even the relationship with her sister. I think the biggest surprise was finding out just how real and emotional this story turned out to be. Even with its fantasy/supernatural elements, where Emily somehow was seeing the past, even then it felt so real. The emotions from these characters were so vivid for me, I cried a few times toward the end. What can I say? When characters and their stories are written this well, I can’t help but feel so invested. And so for all these reasons, I’m really looking forward to reading more from this Texas author.
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.