Before It Stains – R. E. Bradshaw

before it stainsStephanie has it all, great relationship, successful company, wonderful home and a son to be proud of. So when the first inklings of betrayal appear she is completely blindsided and incredulous. But when proof is put in front of her all hell breaks loose, chairs through windows, blood on the walls and her life in tatters.

An emotional journey. In a small mom and pop community where everyone watches every move and gossip rules the airwaves, can Stephanie find the strength, and the will, to work her way through the pain.

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This is an interesting book. It departs from the standard girl meets girl, overcome the impediment and live happily ever after. For once we see the exploration of a long-term relationship, how we forget what is important, take each other for granted, let kids and jobs and ambitions overpower the central relationship in our lives.

On the one hand the story is hugely recognizable – we have all had our hearts broken one way or another, but on the other it is a challenge. Looking back did you fight for your previous relationships? Could you have forgiven infidelity?

I loved the interaction of Stephanie with the local Moms and Pops at the ball games, her relationship with Randy, finding out that she was Molly Kincaid’s’ first real love. Her relationship with her mother is excellent, clever and deep while written with the lightest of touches. Watching her internal struggles was intriguing, and it really made me wonder how well I would do in similar circumstances.

RE Bradshaw bioAs always Decky’s characters are well rounded, real people we can relate to and empathise with. We sympathise with Stephanie and feel anger towards Mo, but as the story progresses I doubt even the staunchest ‘anti-cheating’ heart among us hasn’t softened to her anguish and regret. This is an emotional plot, not an action filled one, but even so she manages to add suspense and anticipation of the small actions and bigger emotions. But most of all is the loving humour that surrounds the characters, well drawn and amusingly filled out.

The denouement is classic. You just want to shout “GO GIRL” as the “new improved” Stephanie takes on the world.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • First published 2011
  • Publisher: R. E. Bradshaw Books, LLC (8 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006K538JY
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