A writer of romance and dramatic novels and literary fiction, Barbara Delinsky is the author of twenty-two New York Times Bestsellers, as well as the book UPLIFT: SECRETS FROM THE SISTERHOOD OF BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS, a self-help book. Delinsky now brings us BEFORE AND AGAIN, scheduled for release June 26, 2018, by St. Martin’s Press.
As a writer supporting other writers, I joined the Barbara Delinsky Street Team Facebook group where she is promoting BEFORE AND AGAIN, as well as hosting giveaway contests and providing updates on the release of her novel, which by the way is now available for #PreOrder.
In full disclosure, I have never read any of Barbara’s novels, and I was surprised at how many others in the group had read everything Barabara had ever written. When NetGalley provided me with the opportunity to read and write a book review of BEFORE AND AGAIN, I jumped at the chance, and after reading the novel, I regret not ever reading a Delinsky novel before now.
BEFORE AND AGAIN begins with Mackenzie Cooper trying to find the house where her five-year-old daughter, Lilly has a scheduled playdate. Mackenzie is in an unfamiliar area and takes her eyes off the road for a quick glance at her GPS. In this mere moment, Mackenzie failed to see the stop sign. Not stopping at the stop sign, Mackenzie’s SUV gets hit by a vehicle traveling at an excessive rate of speed. The death of Mackenzie’s daughter Lilly became the undoing of a loving family that had the picture-perfect life. The judge presiding over Mackenzie’s trial was determined to make an example out of her and sentenced her to five years of probation.
Mackenzie’s marriage fell apart, and her friends and family blamed her for Lilly’s death. Cloaked in guilt and grief, after her divorce, Mackenzie disappears to recreate a new life for herself where no one knows her. She became Maggie Reid, went to cosmetology school and instead of showing her artistry through the work she had done with clay in her previous life, she became a makeup artist and settled in Devon, Vermont. No one knew her; no one asked questions about her past or where she had lived before. Devon accepted Maggie. She found a job at a high-end spa, bought a small house and got herself a dog and two cats.
What no one knew was that Maggie suffered a mother’s grief of losing a child and she continued to live with the guilt of “killing her daughter.” Her guilt and pain led to frequent panic attacks and her inability to move air through her lungs. Maggie keeps her secret from everyone, including her best friend, Grace. Maggie has only a few months left on probation when Grace’s teenage son gets arrested for hacking into computer systems, and Maggie must decide whether she will stick by Grace and support her or walk away to protect herself from further trouble.
What Maggie never imagined was the reemergence of her ex-husband, and in Devon, Vermont of all places. Maggie’s brother showing up next in Devon at Maggie’s small home turned her life upside down. This was her place, her world and she did not want her ex-husband or her brother in Devon.
I could go on about all the twists and turns that continue in Barbara Delinsky’s MUST READ book BEFORE AND AGAIN. I will admit I have read a lot of books, but I cannot remember the last time I have read such a poignant novel filled with believable characters as is found in this novel, each character working to escape their pasts for different reasons. Delinsky’s book is a book that could be anyone’s life. And her characters are characters that some of us have been, have known, and some of us will recognize or will be at some point in our lifetime. When one speaks of human emotions, whether it be love, fear, loss, anger, regret, sadness, trust, misunderstandings, hope, second chances, etc., every one of these emotions and more are experienced while reading BEFORE AND AGAIN.
I have STRONGLY recommended readers of all genres preorder BEFORE AND AGAIN on my social media sites. I will not support a book if it does not have all the parts required that make-up a captivating story. In case you missed it at the beginning of my review, Barbara Delinsky has twenty-two New York Bestselling novels. That speaks volumes about her writing and where BEFORE AND AGAIN is headed. As I also said, I regret having never read any of Barbara’s books before now. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. My blog does not have rating stars, but if it did, I would give BEFORE AND AGAIN five stars.
You can follow Barbara Delinsky on the following social media sites, as well as her website: