walking on custard

Also by
Neil Hughes

The Shop Before Life

Before being born, everyone chooses who they'll be...

a magical jar sort of good-natured
The Shop Before Life - Book Cover
beautiful cover by Tom Humberstone

After two happy centuries in the prelife, Faythe is battling the most dangerous human emotion.

She's bored.

But after she accepts a once-in-a-prelifetime opportunity to become Apprentice at the Shop Before Life, her days become dreadfully interesting.

Now she helps yet-to-be-born customers plan their lives by choosing a unique combination of traits from the countless options available at the Shop. Will they be born on Earth as MATHEMATICALLY GIFTED ? Or perhaps EASILY IRRITATED or DELIGHTED BY CATS ?

Incredibly creative in its scope, premise, and storytelling. A delightful blend of humor, wit, and imagination, The Shop Before Life seeks to answer the universe's greatest existential mysteries with humanity and heart.
Judge, 28th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards

But Faythe has questions of her own. Like—what exactly is in these jars of magical personality traits? And who is the mysterious Supplier who creates them?

Unfortunately, these questions could awaken an ancient conflict and perhaps even destroy the Shop itself. They should maybe mention that sort of thing during orientation.

Management are going to be furious, but Faythe's divine punishment must wait. She's got to race to discover the secrets of the Shop—and hope the answers will be enough to save it 😓

And if she fails, nobody can become themselves ever again ...

5 Stars. Original, delightful, and humorous, The Shop Before Life is a breath of fresh air... a unique story that is captivating, enjoyable, quirky, and fun.
Reader's Favorite
B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Delightful and magical, this book was so fresh and unique. I appreciated the wit and thoughtfulness of this story, and I'm already missing the characters. I look forward to more books by this author!

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I think we finally have that next magical book we've been waiting for. The Shop Before Life has that sparkle, an utterly unique storyline, and clever thoughts to fill our heads. It was the best book I've read in a long time!
Renee, goodreads.com
One of those books that will stay with me for a while, if not for the rest of my life. There's just something so unique and real about it and I just felt very connected to the themes it presented.
Alice, My Mind Speaks Aloud
Equally mischievous and sincere, 'The Shop Before Life' is a witty, whimsical ride that squares off against some of the biggest existential questions around.
Sienna Tristen, author of 'The Heretic's Guide to Homecoming'
A surprisingly fresh and unique take on what happens before you're born. Funny, unique, and appealing; this was a more than enjoyable read!
Erin Cataldi
I encourage everyone to read this story. It's highly entertaining, thought-provoking, and the perfect book for many age groups.
Kameron Brook
WOW! I can say with all candidness that The Shop Before Life is a book that will stay with me. I can unequivocally recommend The Shop Before Life; it is a book that I look forward to rereading many times.
Cynthia, goodreads.com
Truly exceptional book. Reminded me of Philip Pullman's Golden Compass series. I'm sure Faythe and Lyra would be kindred spirits. The writing is almost magical as it pulled me into this alternate universe. It has been awhile since I became so immersed in a book.
Carlin, goodreads.com
The writing style was engaging and the dialogue was funny. I found myself equal parts delighted and excited to read what comes next. It’s definitely a fun fantasy book for all ages that I highly recommend.
AltLovesBooks, goodreads.com
One of a kind, but if I were to compare it to any story it would be The Wizard of Oz. What sets this book apart is the wry humor. I loved everything about it.
Allison, goodreads.com
© Neil Hughes 2019 — 2024
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