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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Before & After is a work of fiction in the fantasy romance, time travel, and historical sub-genres, and was penned by author Stella May. Written as the opening book to the Upon A Time series, this read is accessible and suitable for readers of all sensitivity levels. We find ourselves in the present day with protagonist Nika Morris, who intends to renovate a historic house on Amelia Island, Florida, which was once the property of one Elijah Coleman. So when Nika finds herself transported back to 1909 and in the company of the former owner himself, she learns a lot more about herself and the original Coleman House than she could ever have bargained for.
Author Stella May has crafted a beautiful and surprisingly realistic romantic story that seamlessly weaves its time travel elements into the historical and contemporary plot threads. I really enjoyed Nika (or indeed Daisy, as she becomes known) for her inquisitive spirit, but also for the vulnerability which she learns and is able to show when she finds herself lost in the past. She and Eli are solidly developed characters to lead the story, but I was also impressed by the realism and level of detail in the surrounding cast, from Eli’s past family to Nika’s present loved ones. The dialogue too was appropriately moderated to give a sense of the past clashing with the present. Overall, Before & After offers a very promising start to a sweeping, lovely story that fans of time travel, romance, and interpersonal family dramas will adore.