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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Before I Let You Go Heartbreaking And Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Lexie Vidler will never forgive herself for leaving her younger sister behind the night she escaped from the Exclusive Brethren's enclave.  The cult had ensnared their mother, its leader becoming the girls' stepfather.  Tired of the strict, oppressive lifestyle that threatened to take away the educational opportunities she craved, Lexie fled at 16.  Unable to take 12-year-old Annie with her, Lexie abandoned her sister.  It was a monstrous crime, one Lexie has tried everything to make up for over the last two decades.  

At 34, Lexie works as a general practice physician.  Engaged to Sam—a kind, handsome surgeon— she's poised to finally achieve the safe, stable life she's been seeking since childhood.  Annie's life has gone in the opposite direction.  Despite constantly bailing her out, sheltering her, and paying for rehab, Lexie can't force Annie to ditch the drugs to which she's addicted and get her life together.  In order to save her own sanity, she's had to step back, keeping her distance from the train wreck that is her baby sister.

In spite of everything, when Lexie receives a frantic middle-of-the-night phone call from Annie, she and Sam rush to her side. Although she's skeletal and still jittery from her last hit, Annie's also pregnant and in danger of going into pre-term labor.  Knowing she could be arrested for chemical endangerment and that her baby will no doubt be taken from her, she begs Lexie and Sam not to hospitalize her.  With little choice in the matter, the two doctors set in motion a chain of events that will change all of their lives forever. 

Available April 3, 2018, Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer is an intimate, heartbreaking novel about a family in crisis.  The characters at its center are complex, flawed, and very human.  I felt for all the Vidler women, each of whom is sympathetic in her own way.  Learning more about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) made me feel most keenly for the fictional baby in this story who represents all the real children born to drug-addicted mothers.  While Rimmer's portrayal of this crisis is realistic, it's also compassionate and hopeful.  Even still, Before I Let You Go is not a happy novel.  It's a tough, depressing read, one that will touch your heart as surely as it breaks it.  Overall, I found it to be absorbing and affecting, an important book that calls attention to a devastating problem that affects an alarming number of innocent children and their families. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, depictions of drug abuse, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Before I Let You Go from the generous folks at Graydon House via those at Little Bird Publicity.  Thank you!


  1. First that cover is so pretty. Second it sounds like a really good story. Great review!

    1. It is a pretty cover. Simple but evocative.

  2. I want to read this one, but the subject matter and situation will make me choose the right time for me. My sister struggled with some of these issues and I probably will feel emotional - especially for the baby and the doctor sister. I know how hard it is to try to distance yourself a bit, for your own sanity. I do appreciate your thoughtful review. And am I nuts or does that cover seem way too cheerful for this book? LOL

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Kay. I do think the novel is written with sensitivity, but it's also realistically heartbreaking, so yeah, you'll want to read it with caution.

      The cover DOES seem a bit too cheerful. I'm guessing it's supposed to symbolize hope??

  3. I think this one would be too hard for me.

  4. Wow, this does sound like a tough story to read. Heartbreaking books like this one can be really powerful...and sometimes hard to get over.

    1. Very true. I like that the book shows the issue from multiple perspectives and that it helped me empathize with all of them.

  5. I have a couple good friends who adopted multiple babies after the kids were born to drug-addicted mothers. Such tough times in the beginning as the babies went through detox and now deal with lingering affects. This book sounds interesting.

    1. I've seen YouTube videos of babies going through withdrawal and it's awful. So tough on the kids and those who have to watch them suffer :(

  6. I was wondering about this novel. I think the topic may be too tough for me. I'm so sensitive these days. Great review!


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