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BOOK REVIEW: Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

 

The Blurb (From Goodreads):

The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.


My Thoughts:

A contemporary family drama set in Alabama, Before I Let You Go is a powerful and heart-wrenching examination of the lives of two sisters and their shared love for a tiny baby. The story begins when Lexie Vidler – a doctor with a carefully built perfect life – hears her younger sister’s voice for the first time in years. Annie is a heroin addict who has caused a great deal of harm to Lexie’s life before. Lexie had sworn to have no more to do with her, but this time Annie is really in trouble. She’s pregnant, and going into premature labour. But that’s not the worst of it. Under Alabama’s draconian ‘chemical endangerment’ laws, Annie could have her baby taken away from her and be sent to prison.

In her struggle to help Annie and her tiny, fragile baby, Lexie finds her own world spinning out-of-control. She may lose her job, her fiancé, her future. Annie has been ordered into rehab, and Lexis must look after her newborn child, who is undergoing her own terrible withdrawal from her mother’s heroin use. Meanwhile, Annie struggles with her demons, born out of long-hidden secrets from their childhood living within a fundamentalist religious sect.

This is a fast-paced page-turner of a novel, written in spare straightforward prose that moves between Lexie’s point-of-view and the journal that Annie writes while in therapy. The choices the sisters must make are agonising and heartbreaking, and so very relevant in the world in which we live. A humdinger of a novel.

For another wonderful story about the relationship between sisters, check out my review of The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.



BOOK REVIEW: Hexenhaus by Nikki McWatters

Monday, January 02, 2017


THE BLURB (from GoodReads):

In 1628, Veronica and her brother flee for their lives into the German woods after their father is burned at the stake. 


At the dawn of the eighteenth century, Scottish maid Katherine is lured into political dissent after her parents are butchered for their beliefs. 

In present-day Australia, Paisley navigates her way through the burning torches of small-town gossip after her mother’s new-age shop comes under scrutiny.



MY THOUGHTS:


Nikki McWatters and I share two nephews, though we have never met. So when my sister-in-law told me that her other sister-in-law was writing a novel for young adults inspired by witch-hunts through history, I was intrigued. Tell her to send me a copy, I said. I’m very glad that I did. Hexenhaus is a gripping story of three different young women at different times of history who all find themselves persecuted in some way for witchcraft. 

Veronica lives in Bamburg in what is now Germany in 1628. Katherine lives in Scotland in 1696. Paisley lives in Bundadoon, Australia, in the present-day. They are linked by a kind of pagan sisterhood, with their names inscribed in an ancient book called the Systir Saga. All three suffer witch-hunt hysteria, with the first two inspired by real-life events in Germany and Scotland. 

Told in short yet evocative alternating chapters, the story follows each character’s struggle to escape the narrow-mindedness and cruelty of the societies in which they live. Aimed squarely for a teenage audience, the novel moves swiftly and yet does not shy away from depicting some of the horror of the historical witch-hunt. The modern-day narrative helps ground the story in the here-and-now, showing that prejudice and intolerance to other people’s belief systems still causes harm today. 

I gave Nikki an endorsement for the front cover: ‘A riveting novel inspired by the true history of witchcraft and witch-hunts. Unputdownable.’ 



LOVE FANTASTICAL YA FICTION? So do I!


I have heaps of other YA fiction reviews on my blog, including writers like Maggie Stievater, Belinda Murrell, Juliet Marillier, Helen Lowe and Kate Constable.  Click here to read them!


PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT - I LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!




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