Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer. I’m a big fan of Kelly’s earlier novels, her last book A Mother’s Confession even reducing me to tears on a plane. In view of everyone. I’m certain the flight attendant thought I was on something. When given the opportunity to read this one early, I jumped at it and I wasn’t disappointed.
About The Book
A mother. A baby. And an impossible choice…
A moving page-turner with a heart-pounding dilemma: Your sister or her baby. Who do you choose? Fans of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes will love Kelly Rimmer.
As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leatherbound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…
As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?
Oh my. What a beautiful, heart wrenching and moving story this is. It is really hard to put into words why but I’m going to try. This isn’t as emotionally charged as perhaps Me Without You or A Mother’s Confession, both of which I will openly confess made me cry. However, that said, it captures you in a different kind of way, manipulating a different set of emotions, and you cannot, as a reader, fail to be moved by Annie and Lexie’s story.
The story begins when Lexie receives a call in the middle of the night from her sister, Annie, begging for help. Annie is pregnant and nearing childbirth when she develops a complication, one which puts her and her unborn baby at risk. Lexie hasn’t seen her sister in two years and has no idea about the baby. Annie has caused her untold problems in the past and yet Lexie does not hesitate over helping her, no matter the problems that Annie brings with her. Because Annie is a junkie, a heroine addict whose need for drugs nearly cost her sister everything.
What follows is Annie and Lexie’s story, both past and present, exploring how the two sisters came to be so very, very different, from their humble and yet contended beginnings as the daughter’s of a fireman, through to their polar opposite circumstances now. Add in another layer of jeopardy – in the state of Alabama, Annie’s addiction can see her face charges for child endangerment which could see her face jail time – and you are set for a tense, sometimes shocking and altogether emotionally charged tale.
Now I don’t want to go into the story much further than that. You really need to read for yourself. And if you read the author notes at the end of the novel, you will understand the very personal inspiration which drew Kelly Rimmer to the story in the first place. Now I would not claim to have any first hand knowledge on the subject of addiction – the closest I have come is an infatuation with food containing chillies – but every part of this book rang true to me. The presentation of Annie’s condition, her lack of willingness to take charge of her addiction or to go to group therapy. Her mistrust of others. As you learn more of her story you will understand why and understand how a young girl, who once showed so much promise, went right off the rails.
In contrast you have Lexie, a woman who has pushed to get herself out of the situation that she and Annie were thrust into. There are key reasons for the difference in their fortune, and they are shocking, gut wrenching ones which seem almost inevitable. The way in which Kelly Rimmer expands upon Lexie’s character, her conflict over protecting her sister and the growing love she feels for the baby, even how defensive she is over her relationship with her family and the anger she feels towards their mother, it all rings true. It is perfectly pitched and very well written.
There are so many moments in this book that I wanted to cry for the two sisters. For everything they lost and everything they could have been. The ending, although I could see it coming, was no less heartbreaking to read. To think that things could have been so different, that one decision, one change of routine for very beautiful and positive reasons could lead to so much heart ache. That the keeping of secrets too dark to share could cost a family so much. This was such a moving and well written story that it will likely stay with me for some time.
Kelly Rimmer’s books have a habit of doing that. Don’t believe me, read one for yourself.
My thanks to publishers Headline for providing and advance copy of the book for review. It is available from 27th February from the following retailers.