4 star reviews, Book reviews, Women's Fiction

Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

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Release date:: June 26, 2018

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I was so excited that Barbara Delinsky had a new novel!!  I am a big fan of her work and it has been a couple of years since she came out with a new book.  I was so pleased to be given an advance copy from Netgalley and Saint Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review.

Barbara Delinsky has changed her writing style over the years.  Originally she was a romance writer.  Then she wrote detailed, beautiful, compelling books such as one of my all-time favorite books Coast Road.   Then she changed her writing style to be a lot more spare and less-detailed and she wrote some very wonderful, compelling, timely books such as While My Sister Sleeps.  With this novel, she has returned to a more detailed style of writing, giving a lot of background and backstory.

Mackenzie Cooper – who now goes by Maggie – was in a car accident that killed her daughter and she has not forgiven herself for it.  The media hounded her, her marriage dissolved and she fled to Vermont.  She’s made a nice life for herself in Vermont until her friend’s son is charged with a crime and her ex-husband buys a business in town.

Maggie’s friend’s son is accused of hacking into social media accounts of prominent people.  Maggie struggles because she wants to be there for her friend, but she wants to stay out of the spotlight.  I enjoyed the dynamic between the two women just as much as I enjoyed the uncovering of her friend’s son’s involvement in the social media scandal.

In many ways Before and Again is a study in human relationships.  Husband and wife.  Mother and daughter.  Brother and sister.  People move away from each other for valid reasons but find their way back to each other.  I loved that part of the story and the reminder of how important it is to have people in your corner when the going gets tough.

At first I found Maggie’s ex-husband buying the Inn where she works to be a little too convenient, but the love story was beautiful.  The ending gave me hope that healing is always possible.

I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for my digital arc in exchange for my honest review.

From the Publisher:

Mackenzie Cooper does not want to be who she was – the one who was driving and had her eyes on her phone just long enough to cause an accident that resulted in the loss of her adored daughter, her family and friends, and ultimately her marriage. Thanks to the nonstop media coverage, she lost her privacy as well. Fleeing that past, she now lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made—though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she while she was once a successful sculptor, she is now a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself, or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. As the past inexorably seeps back into her life, her future is suddenly at stake – not only her career, her physical freedom, and her new home, but her relationships with the brother who was too frightened to stand by her before, with the mother who chose to turn away to survive, and with the only man she has ever truly loved.

Before and Again is a story of the relationships we find ourselves in—mothers and daughters, spouses and siblings, true companions and fair-weather friends—and the courage it takes to sustain them.

3 thoughts on “Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky”

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