Skip to main content

Before and Again


Before and Again

Barbara Delinsky has a huge fan base that seems to grow with every new novel she writes. There is good reason for this: Delinsky manages the fast-moving pace of contemporary culture and incorporates it into her complex and intriguing stories of empowerment. A lot of women’s fiction takes a look backwards to less complicated times when a strong female protagonist didn’t have to fight with so many other strong women characters on the bookshelves.

Delinsky likes a challenge and accepts it willingly, taking the contemporary story of a woman facing grave and difficult circumstances to recreate a life worth living and make it stand head and shoulders above the crowd of other books with modern-day heroines. BEFORE AND AGAIN is such a novel, sure to please her fans and bring in legions more with strong characters, exacting prose, and a message that will feel like it’s something your BFF would tell you in a moment of darkness.

"BEFORE AND AGAIN is...sure to please [Delinsky's] fans and bring in legions more with strong characters, exacting prose, and a message that will feel like it’s something your BFF would tell you in a moment of darkness."

One small car accident takes Mackenzie Cooper’s life and turns it into a soap opera slammed across a number of media outlets. It robs her of her beloved daughter, her marriage, her family, her friends --- all those things that made her life seem like a fairy tale. Thus she begins a new life in Vermont with her pets under the name Maggie Reid, taking a position at a luxurious local spa as a makeup artist, and enjoying new friendships with those who know nothing of her past.

Maggie is on probation and hopes that her fresh start will help her work through this period of her life without adding more trauma. However, a local kid, the son of a new friend, gets thrust into the national spotlight by being accused of hacking a corporate icon’s Twitter account. In helping her friend, Maggie tries to balance hiding her past from being an active participant in this scandal. Eventually her carefully constructed other life begins to tear at the seams, revealing the secrets she had so desperately hoped to keep from her new community. But people need people, and in order to find comfort from her new friends, she also must be willing to risk something for them --- and that something is her secret past.

Sacrifice is a tough topic, and the sacrifice one must make to another for lasting friendship is an even harder thing to discern. The relationships Maggie develops in this new world help her explore the depths to which real friendship and trust can go. BEFORE AND AGAIN is about how hiding from the feelings we all have and need fulfilled in this world require some real extension of who we are in our souls. A lesson for this day when we seem to be learning what “community” really means and how important it is for our world’s survival, this book offers a compelling story that gives credence to all our questions about how we fit into each other’s lives.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on June 29, 2018

Before and Again
by Barbara Delinsky

  • Publication Date: June 4, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250125162
  • ISBN-13: 9781250125163