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Between Before and After

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“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions. Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.


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“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions. Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.

30 review for Between Before and After

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Goicea

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! Review to come shortly! My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen • The Book Return

    Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog *I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Elaine is the child of poor Irish immigrants. She is growing up in turn of the century New York City. When Elaine's mother dies from the Spanish flu, Elaine struggles to keep her family together.   Elaine's daughter, Molly, is growing up in 1950's San José, California. She is crushed by Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog *I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Elaine is the child of poor Irish immigrants. She is growing up in turn of the century New York City. When Elaine's mother dies from the Spanish flu, Elaine struggles to keep her family together.   Elaine's daughter, Molly, is growing up in 1950's San José, California. She is crushed by the breakup of her parents marriage and desperately attempting to understand her distant mother and learn her secrets. I really love historical fiction. I find I enjoy YA most often when it has some history to it. It gives the story more depth and perspective. I was really pleasantly surprised to discover that 'Between Before & After' contained dual timelines from the 1950's and 1910's.   I also loved that the timelines were of a mother and daughter with the mother included in the daughters timeline. I really liked Elaine's 1910's story more than Molly's 1950's story. The struggles (including poverty, abuse, and alcoholism) of immigrants in New York in the early twenty century is harrowing.  I felt  like Molly's story was a little less put together than Elaine's. A few times the dialog in Molly's point of view seemed a little rambling. Also, I really thought the whole miracle thing with Uncle Stephan took away from Molly's story.   I thought the story wrapped up well. It gave a good conclusion without being tied up too neatly. I really enjoyed 'Between Before & After'. A family historical drama with two great YA protagonists. One of my favorite YA's.   Little things I loved about the story: 1950's pop culture (the characters first trip to McDonald's),the homing pigeons and that whole thing with the roses.  

  3. 4 out of 5

    The Book Valkyrie

    Maureen Doyle McQuerry has crafted a beautifully emotional story filled with love, loss, hope, and discovery. Ms. McQuerry's writing style is absolutely captivating, as I can guarantee you will be unable to stop flipping the pages of this book due to its ability to enchant readers. Everything from the plot, setting, and characters in this novel are original and unforgettable. I loved reading in the perspectives of both Molly and her mother, Elaine, for they both had such exquisitely different wa Maureen Doyle McQuerry has crafted a beautifully emotional story filled with love, loss, hope, and discovery. Ms. McQuerry's writing style is absolutely captivating, as I can guarantee you will be unable to stop flipping the pages of this book due to its ability to enchant readers. Everything from the plot, setting, and characters in this novel are original and unforgettable. I loved reading in the perspectives of both Molly and her mother, Elaine, for they both had such exquisitely different ways of viewing things. I loved this book's setting as well. It was very well-developed and vividly written. While reading Between Before and After, I felt as though I was actually being transported to another world. The only thing I would critique about this book is its ending. I found it to be slightly rushed, for it lacked much-needed build-up and development. But all in all, this is a dazzling story that you won't want to miss out on once it hits shelves!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    #ItsNotYouMsMcQuerryItsMe

  5. 4 out of 5

    Megan Chance

    Complex and beautifully layered. This story of family secrets, hope and change is wonderfully written. It's a gem of a novel with all the hallmarks of a classic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tressa (Wishful Endings)

    BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is a Time-Slip story set during a difficult time in history where a daughter faces some tough realities of life, and then at another time in history when life is a little simpler but where there are still prejudices and another daughter also faces her own difficulties. It reads more like a Women's Fiction story, and almost like reading a journal account of the prior time as the reader gets flashes and snippets of what happened in the past as the other storyline takes pla BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is a Time-Slip story set during a difficult time in history where a daughter faces some tough realities of life, and then at another time in history when life is a little simpler but where there are still prejudices and another daughter also faces her own difficulties. It reads more like a Women's Fiction story, and almost like reading a journal account of the prior time as the reader gets flashes and snippets of what happened in the past as the other storyline takes place. Those who love historical novels and memoirs, heavy on the hardships and historical aspects, may enjoy this one. The writing was very well done. I didn't have any issues following along or get confused about which time period I was in. The characters were also quite complex. There were some interesting lessons or questions that the story brought forward and I appreciated that the author didn't really tell the reader what to think, but presented them in a way that it just makes you think. I'll just honestly say that this was one of those stories that jarred me. I was expecting something completely different than what I got and it was hard to reconcile my expectations and the actual story. I also didn't particularly love any of the characters or even relate to them, although I did relate to some of the situations and one of the time periods. It's hard to read something like this that isn't necessarily pleasant to read in the first place, it be something you weren't expecting, and then not really like the characters. I also love Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and was expecting to really love this, but I just didn't see as many connections... or maybe it just lacked the sweet moments and characters I loved that Dickens brought to his story. In the end, was it what I wished for? If you love Women's Fiction, Memoirs or YA Historicals that are just telling the story of a woman and her daughter, then give this a try. It just wasn't for me. Content: Some references to abuse and pre-marital relations. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    I loved, loved, loved Ms. McQuerry's writing style. The split-time was handled in an incredible manner, with the end of each chapter being left in a cliffhanger. It made the novel difficult to put down. Many times throughout the story, an excerpt from Hansel and Gretel is used, adding character to the story as a whole. Despite everything that I loved, the content was mature enough that I cannot recommend this book to teens. There was a description of how abortion is performed and prematernal sex I loved, loved, loved Ms. McQuerry's writing style. The split-time was handled in an incredible manner, with the end of each chapter being left in a cliffhanger. It made the novel difficult to put down. Many times throughout the story, an excerpt from Hansel and Gretel is used, adding character to the story as a whole. Despite everything that I loved, the content was mature enough that I cannot recommend this book to teens. There was a description of how abortion is performed and prematernal sex resulting in a child. There were also numerous comments scattered throughout the novel that were not appropriate. Personal Rating: 2 Stars Content Rating: 1 Star *I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required.

  8. 5 out of 5

    TheReadingCornerforAll Lopez

    The space between before and after is a curious place to define for this is where forgotten truths and secrets often lie. This pocket of time can be founded by the past where all the things we wish to tuck away are gradually layered. However, the space between before and after is not just limited to the past for it extends itself throughout multiple generations that enclose their individual desires and confidences. Author Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s usage of dual narratives which span through time The space between before and after is a curious place to define for this is where forgotten truths and secrets often lie. This pocket of time can be founded by the past where all the things we wish to tuck away are gradually layered. However, the space between before and after is not just limited to the past for it extends itself throughout multiple generations that enclose their individual desires and confidences. Author Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s usage of dual narratives which span through time in her latest work, Between Before and After, demonstrates how the past and the future are inevitably connected within time’s grasp. In 1955, Molly is a young girl who wishes to piece together fragments of her mother’s past. Back in 1918, all Elaine wishes is survival for her brother and herself who must fend for themselves after their mother’s passing. In the process of reading the story, readers gain a firm understanding of the characters and how mother, Elaine, and daughter, Molly, are reflections of each other yet they cannot find a way to really connect. The chapters in Between Before and After alternate between Molly and Elaine’s narrative and time; it arises interesting perceptions about what the present actually constitutes. For Elaine, the idea of time is relative because she is constantly reliving her moments from before; this is a part of her truth and her identity. Molly, on the other hand, who is still constructing her sense of self, considers knowing everything about her mother’s past as something integral towards her own personal construction. I enjoyed how small passages of Elaine’s own version of Hansel and Gretel are scattered throughout the story like breadcrumbs in their own right. It serves as a parallel to the ongoing events of the time and is symbolic to how life turns into a story of its own. Altogether, this was a great historical coming of age novel that blends the generations and brings a great tide of emotions through closure and understanding.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faith Hurst-Bilinski

    “Bury your past before it buried you.” That’s what Molly’s dad said to her mom before he left. Molly didn’t know what that meant but she meant to find out. As she tells the story, we go back and forth between Molly’s present, 1955, to her mom’s past in 1920. Her mother, Elaine, had a tough childhood, losing her mother and baby sister to the flu epidemic and being forced to steal and work to feed herself and her brother while their father drinks himself out of jobs and comes home less and less. E “Bury your past before it buried you.” That’s what Molly’s dad said to her mom before he left. Molly didn’t know what that meant but she meant to find out. As she tells the story, we go back and forth between Molly’s present, 1955, to her mom’s past in 1920. Her mother, Elaine, had a tough childhood, losing her mother and baby sister to the flu epidemic and being forced to steal and work to feed herself and her brother while their father drinks himself out of jobs and comes home less and less. Elaine begins working for a rich family and her life changes forever. I preferred the 1919-1920 storyline more than the 1955 and found myself reading more quickly to get back to it when it strayed away. It was a quick read overall, during part of a day stuck in a jury waiting room. What I thought I would find was not what I would find, as Molly’s uncle/Elaine’s brother Stephen explains to Molly. You don’t know where a story is really going until you takes the journey with it. At least you hope that is what you find and it is what I found here. Thanks to Maureen Doyle McQuerry, her publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this quiet gem.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jypsy

    Between Before and After is a unique but confusing story. I usually like multiple perspectives, but something about this didn't mesh together. Molly is the after, and her mother is the before. The dual points of view were disjointed from one another. I found the story hard to get started because it's slow. The best part is the miracle performed and the consequences of that act. It's a believable and plausible situation. The writing is lovely and flows nicely. Overall, I enjoyed this book in piec Between Before and After is a unique but confusing story. I usually like multiple perspectives, but something about this didn't mesh together. Molly is the after, and her mother is the before. The dual points of view were disjointed from one another. I found the story hard to get started because it's slow. The best part is the miracle performed and the consequences of that act. It's a believable and plausible situation. The writing is lovely and flows nicely. Overall, I enjoyed this book in pieces but not as a whole. Thanks to NetGalley and Just Read Tours for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    * 4.5 stars * A book that managed to tie the past and present together with the undertones of a fairytale gives us a story that shows how far someone will go to protect the ones they love and just how similar mothers and daughters can be. “Between Before and After” finds Molly digging through her mother’s drawers when she finds a mysterious envelope that makes her question what secrets lie in her past and what it can tell her about their future as a family. I really loved the style of this book * 4.5 stars * A book that managed to tie the past and present together with the undertones of a fairytale gives us a story that shows how far someone will go to protect the ones they love and just how similar mothers and daughters can be. “Between Before and After” finds Molly digging through her mother’s drawers when she finds a mysterious envelope that makes her question what secrets lie in her past and what it can tell her about their future as a family. I really loved the style of this book setting us up with Molly’s discovery and her quest to find answers intermixed with the past told in her mother’s point of view as she and her brother struggle to survive when the odds are stacked against them. All the while we gets hints in Molly’s sections that something happens to make her mother lose all faith and over the course of the book we see what happened and why the past doesn’t always get to stay there. Both of their stories were so beautiful and tragic in that these two share a lot of similarities but seem to clash more often than not. It’s especially true when we see their counterparts in their respective younger brothers and that plays to the roles put on older siblings to be more responsible even if it means putting your own happiness aside. Also due to the times in which this story takes place there’s always this lingering sense of dread when it comes to Elaine’s story that very much plays into the feeling most women have in their life at some point or another and in her case her anger towards those who (and this is as best as I can say without spoiling) believe one life is more important than another. My only real critique is that the ending didn’t feel final to me it was almost as though someone had tried to make it something that would stick with you long after you turned the page but for me it felt a lot like I was missing one which was a bit underwhelming considering how much I enjoyed the rest. Both of these stories are told with the undercurrents of Hansel and Gretel sprinkled in between and as the reader you know that though this is a story grounded in reality, one of them must meet the witch and you hope that they survive and as it blends heavy topics like the roles of women, generational struggles and faith you follow them along on this path and make their way back home. **special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Poteet

    I loved this book! If you're a fan of historical fiction, put this on your must-have list!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book. This was an interesting book. It delved into some pretty deep topics, which were heavier than I expected. I was really captivated by the endurance of these characters, and found myself fully immersed in the world Doyle McQuerry has created. One of my favorite aspects of the book was its dual timeline narrative. I recently had a conversation with a fellow booknerd about how much I appreciate the buildup that comes with this type of st Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book. This was an interesting book. It delved into some pretty deep topics, which were heavier than I expected. I was really captivated by the endurance of these characters, and found myself fully immersed in the world Doyle McQuerry has created. 
One of my favorite aspects of the book was its dual timeline narrative. I recently had a conversation with a fellow booknerd about how much I appreciate the buildup that comes with this type of storytelling. It's like getting two stories in one. I love that it creates a bit of mystery and suspense - you know the two storylines are going to converge or cross paths, but you don't quite know how they're going to get there. 
However, my absolute favorite part of this book were the two main characters, Elaine and Molly. These two gals both found themselves in similar situations involving having to raise/look out for their younger brothers, while they were both still children themselves. But what I loved about that was their perseverance. They were such strong youngsters with a fierce sense of survival. And they were also just strong female characters in general. 
". . . But let me give you some advice. Let all of this go. Guys don't like girls who are different, girls who overthink things."
"Then I guess that saves me from worrying about what to wear to prom. . . I'm not going to stop thinking because it makes some guy uncomfortable. I'll ask whatever questions I want!" 
I'd definitely recommend Between Before & After to anyone looking for a historical YA read that'll pull you in and make you think. It's not all sunshine and roses, but it's strong characters, perseverance, and family bonds.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mathis

    “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions. Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future. Rating: 4.5/5 Penguins Quick Reasons: deliciously poignant; that purple prose slays; believable, flawed characters; the growth discovered in the mystery was on point; this journey will crawl into your heart and stay there HUGE thanks to Maureen Doyle McQuerry, Blink Publishing, and Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending a complimentary galley of this title my way! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book. "We don't always know what a story means up front. In fact, we can't know until we experience the beginning and the end." He picked up a smooth, flat stone and sent it sailing out across the water. It skipped five times, leaving a widening trail of circles, before it sank. "I was looking at that Hansel and Gretel book the other day, the one that was your mom's. Most people don't remember the ending. They think the story ends when the witch is pushed into the oven." "The children find their way home again." This book was a journey, Penguins--and a heart wrenching, poignant one at that. The dual POVs/time frames really helped to fully round the characters out, especially in the case of Elaine. Where from Molly's POV, Elaine seems trapped in her own world, full of secrets...we, as readers, get to see the world FROM Elaine's younger years while also helping Molly unravel the mysteries of her mom. Maureen Doyle McQuerry built a strong story foundation, sprinkling just enough clues throughout that while readers might have a sense of SOME of the darkest abysses to be unraveled, some of the biggest reveals were left to settle in their own time, and with a bang. I really enjoyed the way that the most applicable life lessons were left to fill themselves out and fall into place without being forced. The growth found in the journey, especially in the case of Molly trying to figure out just who she is, was so beautifully rendered. The purple prose is likewise delicious. Maureen Doyle McQuerry wielded a pen dipped in the finest of words, and knew how to weave a tapestry of gorgeous imagery. I had next to no trouble falling into this story from page one. The characters were believable and so easy to empathize with, as well. The gritty atmosphere and emotional leanings of the time period were equally well-handled, taking care not to sugar coat the hardest lessons but also approaching each with sensitivity and respect. On the way out, Elaine pointed to the statue of Saint Stephen. A long robe fell to his ankles and in one palm he held a pile of rocks. He looked too young to be a saint. "That's who Mama named you after." No sense in telling Stephen his namesake had been stoned to death. Stephen considered the statue. "Lainey, I'd rather he wasn't wearing a dress." I just CANNOT say enough about this book. It is beautiful, inside and out (no, really, every finite detail was approached with care, from the cover art to the title headings and page breaks). Maureen Doyle McQuerry crafted a winner in my book, Penguins. I encourage those who love historical fiction with believable characters and family secrets to pick this book up--I guarantee you'll lose yourselves in the journey just as easily as I did!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Lyann

    " The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn" As far as the story, and writing, go, I have very little to complain about. Several times I found myself losing track of time and space as I was absorbed into the story. More than once I was forced to stop and really think about the events that happened, each one taking a toll on me emotionally as if I was Molly or Elaine, living through it. This is th " The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn" As far as the story, and writing, go, I have very little to complain about. Several times I found myself losing track of time and space as I was absorbed into the story. More than once I was forced to stop and really think about the events that happened, each one taking a toll on me emotionally as if I was Molly or Elaine, living through it. This is the sign of a brilliant writer. On top of the beautiful prose, each chapter was a significant cliffhanger that kept me turning pages to find out what happened. "Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories ." The novel is told in a dual timeline and POV style. Molly's chapters are first person, while Elaine's are third. I really thought I would be distracted from the dual POV - especially with it changing between first person and third person, but I found that it worked well within the story. I have read novels previously that this style led to a jumbled mess of confusion. Between Before & After did not. It was fluid, beautiful, dark, and charming all at once. Elaine's chapters were, for me, more captivating than Molly's chapters. Maybe it's my preference in setting and style or that Elaine's story was where the mystery lies -either way, it caused me to consume Elaine's chapters more vapidly each time. Molly's chapters just seemed dry at times for me. The "miracle" also didn't really appeal to me - I've read that story line far too often - so that seemed to detract from Molly's search for answers about her mom for a bit of the story. Others who enjoy that type of story line would probably thoroughly enjoy that particular story line. Despite his story line though, I found that Uncle Stephen was one of my favorite characters in the book. On the way out, Elaine pointed to the statue of Saint Stephen. A long robe fell to his ankles and in one palm he held a pile of rocks. He looked too young to be a saint. My favorite part of the entire work was the characters. The characters were believable and, honestly, extremely accurate. Molly, Elaine and Stephen were so real that I felt like I was sitting next to them at times. The flaws of normal human beings - instead of a heroine that is constantly perfect - really anchored the story and kept them well rounded. Elaine's descent into her depression was an accurate and painful thing to watch. Elaine's chapters really gave her a depth that we otherwise wouldn't have had. I really feel like this rounded her character and made her relatable. The secondary characters were just as palpable as the MCs were. I truly felt like I knew them, their ideals, and their thoughts - when explored through Elaine's chapters. The depth of these characters is again, a testament to the author's abilities. "That's who Mama named you after." No sense in telling Stephen his namesake had been stoned to death. Stephen considered the statue. "Lainey, I'd rather he wasn't wearing a dress." The novel covered some pretty intense topics, things that I didn't expect popped up several times - sending the story in different directions. I was enthralled by the perseverance of the characters, and the process that McQuerry used to allow the conflicts to come to a close organically. Many times resolutions feel forced and not completely rounded. This was not the case for the ending of this story. There were of course small plot holes and things that didn't line up quite right, but overall - I found the ending to be a fitting ending for the story and the characters. Over all, I gave this novel 4/5 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this book from JustReadsTour! Thanks! All opinions are my own. Rating: 4/5 Publication Date: February 5, 2019 Genre: YA Contemporary Recommended Age: 13+ (pain, past, secrets, loss and love) Publisher: Blink Pages: 304 Amazon Link Synopsis: “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Mo Disclaimer: I received this book from JustReadsTour! Thanks! All opinions are my own. Rating: 4/5 Publication Date: February 5, 2019 Genre: YA Contemporary Recommended Age: 13+ (pain, past, secrets, loss and love) Publisher: Blink Pages: 304 Amazon Link Synopsis: “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions. Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future. Review: I thought this book was so captivating and fantastical! I loved how wonderfully vivid and real the writing was! The characters were all well written and the plot and world building were done well as well. The book was structured amazingly well and it left me constantly wanting for more! However, the ending was not as fantastical. It felt really rushed and ex machina. I think it needs to be built up a bit more but overall it’s pretty well! Verdict: A amazing book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    KayCee K

    Told in different times the past and future. Elaine's is a young girl worried about school, family and overall life. Given a hard hand in life she does her best to carry her and her brother throughout life. While the other point of view comes from, Molly who spends her summer chasing her mothers past, while dealing with her Uncle who is tossed into the light of the town for doing a miracle. Once I started this story I was lost into the pages, so it was easy to spend hours reading this book. I fi Told in different times the past and future. Elaine's is a young girl worried about school, family and overall life. Given a hard hand in life she does her best to carry her and her brother throughout life. While the other point of view comes from, Molly who spends her summer chasing her mothers past, while dealing with her Uncle who is tossed into the light of the town for doing a miracle. Once I started this story I was lost into the pages, so it was easy to spend hours reading this book. I finished it in just a few days and I still find myself thinking about it. I enjoyed the characters, for me, they are what made this book amazing. Their wit and caring, made me hope for them. The messages of family, roles of women and faith; parts were beautifully done. Going from the past to the future was done so well, I never got confused about who I was reading. I loved how Hansel and Gretel were sprinkled in between the parts. This title and cover fit this book perfectly. But for me, I loved how much writing and the power of words affected these characters and their lives. I did highlight a few lines that I love and hope they made it into the finished book. Step into this beautifully written book, that feels like a classic with family, drama & hope! I was given an ARC of this book, however, this is my 100% honest thoughts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    A thoroughly engaging book about family told through to time periods—1918 for Elaine and 1955 for her daughter Molly—Between Before and After is unique and refreshing. Love of their brothers and interested in writing are commonalities between Molly and her mother, yet there’s also an air of depression around Elaine. One Molly is convinced comes from something from Elaine’s past. In an effort to figure out what is happening with her mother, Molly embarks on a fact-finding mission to try and figure A thoroughly engaging book about family told through to time periods—1918 for Elaine and 1955 for her daughter Molly—Between Before and After is unique and refreshing. Love of their brothers and interested in writing are commonalities between Molly and her mother, yet there’s also an air of depression around Elaine. One Molly is convinced comes from something from Elaine’s past. In an effort to figure out what is happening with her mother, Molly embarks on a fact-finding mission to try and figure out the disconnect between them. Maureen Doyle McQuerry gives readers an intricately layered story of two young women in very different times who are related but distant. Elaine’s storyline is more emotional as she lives through heavy moments of loss and grief. Yet, Molly’s journey of discovery enhances both. The end is more abrupt and could have been fleshed out a bit more, but the journey is definitely worth taking. For those looking for YA reads that don’t center on romance, Between Before and After is an excellent choice. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hallie Szott

    Take a trip into the past with Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s Between Before & After. Alternating between the experiences of mother and daughter, it explores the good and the bad—family, loss, depression, betrayal, hope, and love—and proves entirely engaging. In 1955, Molly Donnelly is in need of her mother. Yet, thanks to her mother’s depression and well-guarded secrets, Molly cannot seem to bridge the disconnect. So, she hunts for the truth of the long-buried past, and the story delves into the r Take a trip into the past with Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s Between Before & After. Alternating between the experiences of mother and daughter, it explores the good and the bad—family, loss, depression, betrayal, hope, and love—and proves entirely engaging. In 1955, Molly Donnelly is in need of her mother. Yet, thanks to her mother’s depression and well-guarded secrets, Molly cannot seem to bridge the disconnect. So, she hunts for the truth of the long-buried past, and the story delves into the reality of a 1918 epidemic. Emotions run high, but the journey of discovery makes it all worthwhile. An excellent YA read, Between Before & After is a story I enjoyed and now recommend. This review is also posted on Hallie Reads. Thanks to the Blink YA Books, I received a complimentary copy of Between Before & After and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Skyler

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” First impression: The cover is AMAZING. Seriously so beautiful. Anyways, onto the good stuff! With sheer style and grace, McQuerry manages to interlace two generations of secrets without I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.” First impression: The cover is AMAZING. Seriously so beautiful. Anyways, onto the good stuff! With sheer style and grace, McQuerry manages to interlace two generations of secrets without losing the reader in between. At first, it felt a bit suited for younger audiences but it was still easy and enjoyable to read. I started to get more and more drawn into the story as I read. I enjoyed the settings, particularly the San Jose setting because I live about an hour from there. I'm still wrapping up my thoughts on this and will update once I gather them!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    One of the best books that sums up the experience of Irish immigrants in the US, this book is definitely an interesting take on the coming-of-age story. On the one hand, we have Elaine, who is growing up in post-World War One Brooklyn, trying to fend for herself and her brother despite a litany of hardships. On the other we have Molly, Elaine’s daughter, who watches in bewilderment as her mother’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and distant- and her uncle claims himself to be a miracle wo One of the best books that sums up the experience of Irish immigrants in the US, this book is definitely an interesting take on the coming-of-age story. On the one hand, we have Elaine, who is growing up in post-World War One Brooklyn, trying to fend for herself and her brother despite a litany of hardships. On the other we have Molly, Elaine’s daughter, who watches in bewilderment as her mother’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and distant- and her uncle claims himself to be a miracle worker. McQuerry definitely doesn’t pull her punches here! The hardship faced by Elaine as she struggles to support her family is heartbreaking, as is the eventual tragedy that marks ‘before’ and ‘after’ and scars her for life. Though I’d rather have focussed solely on Elaine’s story rather than Molly’s, it’s a fascinating parallel look into growing up in two different time periods… I’m just thankful I was born in the 1990s!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Blue Cypress Books

    Moving and well written historical fiction, this book will certainly appeal to both older teens and adults. Deals with sensitive, real-life matters in a smart and engaging way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara (A Gingerly Review)

    Quick read. I enjoyed buy struggled with the pacing. Frtc

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    Now, I'm always interested in stories that connect different times in the past. Usually I like when they are related to more of major historical events, but this one had its own connections that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering where it would all go, and how it would all connect. As we followed through the mother, Elaine's time period, there were so many things going on in her life that it kept me guessing and catching clues for paths to try to figure out just what the major Now, I'm always interested in stories that connect different times in the past. Usually I like when they are related to more of major historical events, but this one had its own connections that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering where it would all go, and how it would all connect. As we followed through the mother, Elaine's time period, there were so many things going on in her life that it kept me guessing and catching clues for paths to try to figure out just what the major secret she was hiding from her daughter was. I started to figure it out a bit, once we learned of the crush Elaine had, but how that all turned out wasn't the exact path I'd predicted in my head, and I love how an author can keep you guessing, and even when you start to figure it out, still have surprises left for you in the end! I liked how even though we had Molly's Uncle Stephen who was very religious, and then her mother who was not happy with god, all of that was done without seeming to force the reader to feel one way or the other. Definitely a great mystery and also a good family story. It was fun to read about a trip to the very first McDonald's in their town back in that time period and compare it to what the fast food restaurant is today. Now, I can't give a specific quote, in case anything changes in the final edition of the book, but there was one line or bit that I really, really liked. A part where one of the characters said that a good story isn't written to teach a lesson. Anything that the reader learns is through what they identify with in the story. Also they said something about there being something in the human heart that needs a story. I believe all of those things are true. At least for me, and the books that I read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I am equally charmed by Maureen McQuerry’s Between Before & After as a book and as a story. As a book, you can tell right away that Between Before & After is going to be a lovely and intricate story. The cover sketch is a key - with letters, pigeons, a typewriter, all sorts of clues - in shiny gold leaf woven into it. Even the typography helps convey the complexity: Chapter One is introduced in different fonts for the chapter number, chapter header, chapter setting date and place, and th I am equally charmed by Maureen McQuerry’s Between Before & After as a book and as a story. As a book, you can tell right away that Between Before & After is going to be a lovely and intricate story. The cover sketch is a key - with letters, pigeons, a typewriter, all sorts of clues - in shiny gold leaf woven into it. Even the typography helps convey the complexity: Chapter One is introduced in different fonts for the chapter number, chapter header, chapter setting date and place, and the character point of view. Lovely little dinkuses throughout the book – a bird on a branch, a key, fleurons setting off passages - speak to the care with which the book has been crafted. As for the story, Between Before & After is the story of three pairs of siblings. One pair we know well – Hansel and Gretel. Their story is interwoven in the stories of the other two pairs of siblings: a woman and her brother, Elaine and Stephen, and her two children, Molly and Angus. We hear first from Molly, speaking in first person present, but the overarching story is that of her mother, Elaine. Hearing the story largely from Molly’s point of view immerses us in the mystery of Elaine’s struggles. We don’t know why Elaine behaves the way she does, or feels how she feels, or struggles as she does. Molly’s interactions with her brother Angus and her best friend, Aricelia, feel normal and familiar – but Molly’s relationship with her mother feels clouded by emotional distance. Between Before & After is the exploration of that distance, weaving in and out of the times and places and people of Elaine’s life. In chapters from Molly’s perspective, McQuerry gives the reader mere glimpses of Elaine’s relationship with Molly and Angus’ father and Elaine’s strong sentiments regarding the church and miracles. In chapters told from Elaine’s perspective, we learn more about her challenges growing up. Hers was a hard life, with poverty, disease, and death, starting with the devastation of the 1918 influenza epidemic. It’s in the telling of the story back and forth in time that we come to understand the linkages between past and present; keeping faith and living in the world; and the relationship between a mother and her child. Molly tells the story of her childhood in trying to understand her mother, but in Between Before and After, we come to understand how Elaine has survived her own childhood. Now that I know, I need to go back read it all again!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angela Walker

    BEFORE: Summer of 1919, 6 months after her mother and little sister's death, Elaine got a job to help support her family. Elaine and Stephen's drunk father was jobless as often as he was working. Every morning she went to read the newspaper to a blind older gentleman. The Gossley family was wealthy, giving the children opportunities for funds, food, and education they otherwise wouldn't have had. AFTER: Molly's parents are separated. Her dad left because her mom (Elaine) wouldn't let the 'past st BEFORE: Summer of 1919, 6 months after her mother and little sister's death, Elaine got a job to help support her family. Elaine and Stephen's drunk father was jobless as often as he was working. Every morning she went to read the newspaper to a blind older gentleman. The Gossley family was wealthy, giving the children opportunities for funds, food, and education they otherwise wouldn't have had. AFTER: Molly's parents are separated. Her dad left because her mom (Elaine) wouldn't let the 'past stay buried'. Uncle Stephen came to stay with them while being investigated by the Catholic church for being a miracle worker. The investigation brought media and miracle hopeful people to their doorstep and Elaine's bitterness against God out in the open. Molly decided to do a biography and find out what happened to her mom. There was a lot of drama; alcoholic father, death of a mother, parents separated, children neglected, depression, teenager wanting to fit in, hormones - but the stories were told in such a way that really captures the lives of the characters. So many cleverly written foreshadowing in the book. The story of Hansel and Gretel was told in segments between chapters to give insight in the lives of the characters. Its hard to tell in the moment what decisions will have a lasting impact on your life. Between Before and After reminds me a little of Then She Was Gone in that way, all the moments/choices. The pacing felt a little slow. I know the author said to leave room for miracles in stories but there was so much drama, it didn't feel like the story would get better. (it eventually kind of does?). I was given an Advance Reader Copy by the publisher in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Get Lost In A Book (Bobby)

    I received a complimentary copy of this book; I am not required to leave a positive review. When I read the blurb for this book I immediately knew that I was going to have to read this one! There are some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. I liked that questions start rising from the very first chapter. I think that Maureen has a gift for painting mental pictures through words, from characters, to places, to injuries; I could easily imagine the scene. I loved the time I received a complimentary copy of this book; I am not required to leave a positive review. When I read the blurb for this book I immediately knew that I was going to have to read this one! There are some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. I liked that questions start rising from the very first chapter. I think that Maureen has a gift for painting mental pictures through words, from characters, to places, to injuries; I could easily imagine the scene. I loved the time frame of the book. My absolute favorite thing about this book is, every chapter adds something to the story, and no chapter was wasted. I loved that every page left you wanting more. I loved the way the book ended. There are a few things I didn’t like. I picked this up thinking it would be a Christian book, but it wasn’t even close to Christian in my opinion. I saw it as a mainstream book with some Christian background to it. My reasons for this are because; there were a couple of curse words that the characters used three or four times throughout the book. It covered many dark topics such as teen pregnancy, affairs, abuse, and alcoholism. I could have overruled most of this if there was a stronger Christian message. Overall I really enjoyed this book. I thought that it was very well written, especially with it being her first full length novel. I would have given it five stars if it were not for the language and the lack of a Christian message. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a very well written page turner.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trisa

    I received a free advanced copy of Between Before and After as part of the FFBC Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. Enter the GIVEAWAY on my blog, Absolute Bookishness. (Ends 2/15/2019.) Told in alternating perspectives between Molly and her mother, Elaine, Between Before and After crosses distance and time–from 1955 San Jose, California to 1919 Brooklyn, New York and back–spinning a tale of grief, determination, and wonder. In Between Before and After, McQuerry reveals the strained, tenuou I received a free advanced copy of Between Before and After as part of the FFBC Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. Enter the GIVEAWAY on my blog, Absolute Bookishness. (Ends 2/15/2019.) Told in alternating perspectives between Molly and her mother, Elaine, Between Before and After crosses distance and time–from 1955 San Jose, California to 1919 Brooklyn, New York and back–spinning a tale of grief, determination, and wonder. In Between Before and After, McQuerry reveals the strained, tenuous relationship between mother and daughter. A writer, Elaine immerses herself in her biographies project, emotionally closed off from Molly. Elaine’s past a mystery to her. Until Molly discovers a hidden envelope among her mother’s belongings, containing breadcrumbs from her life’s journey. Until Elaine’s emotional outburst in her garden spurs Molly into action. Molly becomes determined to follow the trail collecting as many pieces of her mother as she can, hoping to truly find her way home to Elaine. Buried in the past, both her own and of those she writes about, Elaine is forced into the present when claims arise that her brother, Stephen, is dubbed a miracle worker after “curing” a teenage boy of fatal disease. As investigators and religious fanatics descend on her house, old instincts return as Elaine attempts to protect her family from those who threaten its peace and happiness. McQuerry summons Elaine’s tragic coming of age, in a period following World War I and in the midst of widespread outbreak of the deadly Spanish flu. Elaine’s childhood is rife with devastating loss. Her childhood innocence shed too soon. Disease and covert affairs hack away at her family until little remains (much like her later attack on her garden). And, with this, comes terrible burden–of sorrow and loneliness, obligation to care for her younger brother, and survival despite the odds. McQuerry’s writing is lovely and flows smoothly across the page. The worlds she builds are vivid, tangible, and rich in history as are her characters. Not unlike our modern era, McQuerry constructs a world where flu pandemic sweeps through countries leveling populations, evils pry children from parents, and youths are left to wander a perilous landscape to pursue uncertain futures. McQuerry’s characters breathe unique spirit into the narrative. Molly navigates the dynamics of friendship, crushes, and life as a child of divorced parents surprisingly well. Little does she know, Molly shares more in common with her mother than her knack for writing, like her mother’s youthful self consciousness. Like his uncle, Molly’s brother, Angus, is widely imaginative, intelligent, and determined, almost to a fault. Elaine and her strength and resilience flares through the narrative brightest. Though she seems to grow quite a bit in her youth, Elaine becomes stunted as an adult. Rather than taking responsibility for and accepting the consequences of her own actions and decisions (and acknowledging those of others), she continually blames God for not intervening on her behalf. Then when intervention comes (as many believe is the case with the “miracle”), she insists it isn’t enough. Which makes her frustrating. Although not a central character, Stephen seems to grow the most, from being completely dependent on his sister as a child to becoming someone she and her children could depend on in adulthood. This potent novel is a study in secrets and struggles interwoven with fantastical images of survival–the retelling of Hansel and Gretel, the miracle boy, a family member’s “return from the dead”. Between Before and After is both a cautionary tale and one full of hope. And a testament to the power of stories, the ones we tell others and, more importantly, those we tell ourselves. Rating: 3.5/5 The original review was posted on Absolute Bookishness.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teenreadsdotcom

    Molly, a 14-year-old girl from the 1950s, becomes very worrisome about her mother’s growing depression. Elaine, Molly’s mother, has started to isolate herself from the outside world, but most importantly, isolate herself from her family. She closes herself up in her room for days, barely eating or being active, solely focusing on the dark and depressing stories she writes. When a most shocking event comes up in her family, Elaine realizes that she can no longer hide behind her dark pieces of wri Molly, a 14-year-old girl from the 1950s, becomes very worrisome about her mother’s growing depression. Elaine, Molly’s mother, has started to isolate herself from the outside world, but most importantly, isolate herself from her family. She closes herself up in her room for days, barely eating or being active, solely focusing on the dark and depressing stories she writes. When a most shocking event comes up in her family, Elaine realizes that she can no longer hide behind her dark pieces of writing --- she has to come out of her shell and face the real world after quite some time. As Molly desperately searches for the answer to her mother’s depression and isolation, she comes upon some shocking evidence containing pieces of her mother’s past, which she has always refused to speak about, Molly’s discover of the secret is something that could single-handedly change her and her family’s life, forever. BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is a dark but beautifully written story. I can almost one hundred percent promise that you will be not able to quit flipping the pages of this book because of its strong ability to captivate its readers. Everything from its plot, setting and all of the characters in this novel are unique and extraordinary. I absolutely loved reading in both of the points of view of Molly and her mother, Elaine, for they both had such wonderful and different ways on how they both view things and react to certain situations. This book is unique in its own way, considering it switches between a mother and her child’s point of view nearly in every chapter. Molly gets a lot more than she bargains for in BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER. It’s full of drama and suspense, something that I love. Not the dramatic horror suspense that gives you a thrill, but a historical family drama that will continue being adored by readers all over the world. In my opinion, everything about this book is amazingly written, though having an exception for the ending. From my perspective, the ending felt very rushed and the conclusion of the book didn’t end up giving me the same amount of closure that most books I have read have satisfyingly given the readers. The ending didn’t completely disappoint me, but to say it was a little rushed is an understatement. That said, overall, BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER by Maureen Doyle McQuerry is most definitely worth the read. I would very highly recommend BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER to anyone who loves historical fiction and drama, all compacted into one book. Being a history-lover myself, I can vouch for saying that the events that happen in this book have actually happened in the early 1900s, exactly when this book takes place, at least mostly in the mother’s point of view. For anyone who loves drama, there is no doubt in my mind that you will love this book. It’s filled with all different kinds of drama, and even the littlest bit of odd romance. All in all, I wish everyone would read BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER by Maureen Doyle McQuerry. Get comfy and cozy because this is a wild ride, my friends.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judith Moore

    Originally posted at Chain Interaction As someone who doesn’t read a huge amount of historical fiction (though I have read quite a bit this year) so please take that into account when you read my review. I can’t speak to tropes or what may be cliché or new or exciting – I can only speak to my experience reading this book – just something to keep in mind. I loved the way that this book had a split narrative. I’ve read books that follow two different timelines before (a huge trend around the same ti Originally posted at Chain Interaction As someone who doesn’t read a huge amount of historical fiction (though I have read quite a bit this year) so please take that into account when you read my review. I can’t speak to tropes or what may be cliché or new or exciting – I can only speak to my experience reading this book – just something to keep in mind. I loved the way that this book had a split narrative. I’ve read books that follow two different timelines before (a huge trend around the same time as The Time Traveller’s Wife was popular) but what I really liked about this book was that both timelines were historical fiction – the 1950s and the 1910s-20s. I liked that this gave you two historical perspectives as opposed to one historical and one modern day – which I’ve seen before and wasn’t overly enamoured with. So not only do you get the grit, the grime and also the strange fantasy of post WW1 New York but you also get snippets of 50s America, with a trip to the newly built McDonalds and so forth. I thought this was written really well and it also made it feel so much more special with that element of dramatic irony knowing what was to come in the next few decades. Since the 1950s element is written as though it is being written (complicated but I promise it makes sense) you also get the feeling of perhaps a third generation reading the book in the modern day. Perhaps I’m reading too deep – but that’s how it felt to me. I thought that the ‘mystery’ element was less mystery and more intrigue? I appreciate that doesn’t make a huge amount of sense so let me explain. I managed to work out the gist of what had happened (what Molly was trying to work out) pretty early on. I don’t think of that as a negative, but those looking for surprising plot twists might not appreciate that element of this story. What that meant was that reading both Molly and Elaine’s narratives you get to witness a daughter learning why her mother is the way that she is. There’s a strange feeling knowing more than Molly does and then a very satisfying feeling when she puts together another piece of the puzzle that, as a reader, you’ve already solved. So I wouldn’t describe this as a mystery in the traditional sense, though there are mysterious elements. I thought that some parts of the story needed spotlighting a little bit more, just to get the balance right. Namely, the ‘miracle’ performed by Molly’s Uncle Stephen. It isn’t that I didn’t appreciate what that subplot brought to the story, but I’m not sure that the dramatic effect it had on Molly’s family’s life was brought into the forefront as much as it could have been. I think it would have helped to balance the conflict within the two perspectives. Just my take though, and perhaps that was just in the way in which I read the story. If you like historical fiction with mystery and intrigue that explores the complex relationship between mother and daughter as well as between the past and the present then I would absolutely recommend Between Before and After. It brings together a number of great ideas and it even made me shed a tear or two. My rating: 4/5 stars I received a free digital advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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