Before and Ever Since

Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). Nov. 2012. 315p. ISBN 9780425253052. pap. $15; eISBN 9781101612286. F
Emily Lattimer and Ben Landry were best friends until her 21st birthday, when they crossed the line from friendship to something more. Now, realtor Emily, long divorced from her philandering husband, Kevin, learns that her mother is planning to sell her childhood home through a rival real estate agent. Mrs. Lattimer has also hired a carpenter to do necessary repairs. Any guesses on whom that might be? After a separation of more than two decades, how do Emily and Ben broach the past? It seems the past is taking steps of its own, though, by stealing through Emily's consciousness and revealing to her events about which she was unaware—like the reason Ben left town 21 years ago. Of course, Emily has her own secret, one that will affect her daughter, Cassidy, and perhaps her second chance with Ben.
VERDICT Lovelace (The Reason Is You) writes with a snappy twang about youthful mistakes that lead to grown-up regret. Unfortunately, smart-mouthed Emily's first-person narration seems a bit too cutesy when Cassidy has a serious accident, and the ending is, well, predictable, though the paranormal element adds a dash of unconventionality. For fans who enjoy reading about gals who survive on their own terms and finally come to accept the consequences.
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