Monday 28 August 2023

Before and Again

Finished August 21
Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

This novel begins with a scene in the past that is life-changing. Taking her eyes from the road briefly to check her GPS as she drives her daughter to a playdate, Mackenzie Cooper misses a sign and ends up in a tragic car accident. 
The main storyline is nearly five years later, when Cooper, now living as Maggie Reid, is divorced and living in a resort town in Vermont. In her previous life, she was a successful sculptor. Now she is a makeup artist, working at a luxury spa. She has created a life where only a couple of people know about her past. She has a small rural home, and pets that she loves. We gradually see over the course of the book how she has created a new life for herself here, and has friends that truly support her as she does them. 
But things are suddenly getting shaken up, and Maggie must make choices. First her friend Grace's son Chris is arrested for hacking computers, and one of the victims is turning it into a media circus. Her friend Grace has reasons to be scared that go beyond her son's alleged crime.
Then she finds someone from her own past is involved in the new ownership of the spa, and her secrets may be in danger of being revealed. 
As we gradually get to see the people from her past and how they've struggled as well, this story becomes richer and more nuanced. 
This is a story of a woman struggling with grief and guilt, and trying to figure out how to move forward with her life, which she can't fully do without dealing with the past.
As usual with Delinsky, this novel explores relationships both with others and with oneself. 

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