Book Review: Before and Again

Title: Before and Again
Author: Barbara Delinksy
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): Womens Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: June 26th, 2018
Pages: 558
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

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Book Blurb:

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she 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 takes satisfaction in working as 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. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

My Thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I expected it to be fluffy and light-hearted, but instead it was gripping and emotionally raw, even heartbreaking at times.

The story starts off with the main character, Mackenzie, attempting to navigate with her young daughter to a playdate in an unfamiliar neighborhood. She takes her eyes off the road for a split second to look down at her GPS and ends up causing a tragic accident which takes the life of her daughter. As if losing her daughter wasn’t bad enough, the prosecutors decide to make an example out of her and her face is splashed over newspapers and social media across the nation. Her marriage falls apart, like most do after the loss of a child, and her friends shun her. Even her own mother turns her back on her, blaming her for not only the death of her only grandchild, but also the death of her husband, Mackenzie’s father.

Four years later, Mackenzie is on probation and living a quiet life in a small town in Vermont. She goes by a different name now (Maggie Reid) and keeps her past a well-guarded secret. She has a new career, new friends and acquaintances, and she is slowly starting to repair her broken heart. When her closest friend and coworker’s son is accused of computer hacking, Mackenzie makes the decision to stand by her side, knowing all too well the consequences of negative media attention. But as more and more secrets are revealed, Mackenzie’s past starts to threaten the private, quiet life she has worked so hard to create.

Before and Again deals with a lot of heavy emotions, including the loss of a child, unresolved grief, family drama, friendship, forgiveness, and a second chance at love. However, for a character-driven novel, there are also plenty of plot twists and turns, making it hard to put down. The 500+ pages went by super quick.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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