Book Review: Before and Again By Barbara Delinsky

BEFORE AND AGAIN

By: Barbara Delinsky

Published: June 26, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Fiction

Barbara Delinsky is the queen of family dramas. This is the fifth of her numerous novels that I have read, all usually dealing with some sort of family drama or secret. This one takes a current topic and plays it out for a young couple. Mackenzie Cooper is the wife of Edward Cooper, a venture capitalist and the mother to five-year-old Lily. They live an idyllic life in New England. While driving Lily to a playdate through an unknown neighborhood, she becomes lost. A quick glance at her GPS results in their lives being changed forever. One glance, one life gone.

Fast-forward to four years later. We meet Maggie Reid, cosmetologist at a well-known inn and spa in Vermont. Due to media outrage, criminal charges, a trial, and even a new law in her name, Mackenzie has left her old life behind including her marriage, her family and started over as Maggie Reid. She has told no one her secret past and has been keeping her probation officer happy by staying under the radar. Then, her best friend’s son is charged with a federal crime. Due to her connection and loyalty to them, her secret will likely come out and her life will again be splashed all over the papers.

Delinsky’s setting in Vermont is the perfect place for someone to hide out. The quaint tourist town thrives off of traffic but also craves its privacy and doesn’t ask for the local residents to explain what drew them to their community. Maggie feels like her life is as good as it will ever get. But, when things start to crash around her and people from her past start appearing, she doesn’t manage these new changes well. I can’t begin to imagine the deep loss that occurs after losing a child and then a marriage, but Maggie’s constant hatred of herself was frustrating and repetitive. As people are showing her love and forgiveness, she just can’t seem to accept it and as a reader, I felt it was a bit over-dramatic.

Maggie had cut off everyone from her past life but didn’t let anyone from her new life get to really know her. Yes, she had friends, but now that her past was coming out, she was afraid of how everyone would see her and the judgments they would have against her. Her ex-husband reappears and her connection to him reignites a passion they had both missed. Delinsky portrays a couple full of hurt, anguish, betrayal, love, and forgiveness and doesn’t hold back.

Recently on social media, we are seeing parents vilified for how they discipline their children. In another case, a woman is receiving death threats for calling the police after the video of the call is shared thousands of times on social media. Delinsky’s story is current and displays the changes in how news is shared and interpreted by millions of viewers whether on social media or through news outlets. Everyone seems to want their fifteen seconds of fame, but in these types of situations, fifteen seconds can turn into a lifetime of horrors. After reading this book, I’ve looked at these types of situations differently, knowing we are only getting half of the story and wondering what is the motivation behind the people sharing the story.

Maggie’s message of living through something so tragic and finding a way to continue on is an important one. No matter what life throws at you, people will remember how we handled the challenging days. Maggie’s biggest obstacle was forgiving herself and until she did that, no one else was going to be allowed to love her or be loved by her. This book offers many life lessons for readers along with a dramatic story weaved through the past and present choices we all make every day. Living with those choices and making sense of the past is just one of the many hurdles towards moving on. Even though this is a fictional story, it offers a chance for the reader to reflect and maybe make an effort to love those who are hurting, not be so quick to judge, and take part in less social media drama.

Barbara Delinsky – source

Barbara Delinsky, author of BEFORE AND AGAIN, BLUEPRINTS (2015), SWEET SALT AIR (2013), ESCAPE (2011), and NOT MY DAUGHTER (2010), has written more than twenty-two bestselling novels with over thirty-five million copies in print. She has been published in thirty languages worldwide.

Barbara’s fiction centers upon everyday families facing not-so-everyday challenges. She is particularly drawn to exploring themes of motherhood, marriage, sibling rivalry, and friendship in her novels.

A lifelong New Englander, Barbara earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. As a breast cancer survivor who lost her mother to the disease when she was only eight, Barbara compiled the non-fiction book Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes. She donates her proceeds from the sale of this book to her charitable foundation, which funds an ongoing research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. For more information, check out her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of BEFORE AND AGAIN, click the photo below:

My review for SWEET SALT AIR by Barbara Delinsky.

Thanks to the publisher for sending an e-copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

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1 Comment

  1. Linda Stoll on June 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Stacie, hi! And thanks for this very thorough review …

    Summer was made for books, new authors, old favorites!

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