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    Just what is forgiveness?

    Before and Again is one of those rare books that once you start, you just cannot put down, and as soon as you turn the last page you want to start all over again. Yes, it’s that good. Once again author Barbara Delinsky has written a book that will catch your heart and soul and stay with you for a long time. On the surface, Before and Again is about the terrible, terrible mistake Mackenzie Cooper made. Five seconds of carelessness that cost her not only her daughter but her marriage, family, friends, job, privacy, even her name ―and the ability to look at herself in the mirror without seeing a monster. A monster that deserves to remain unforgiven for the rest of her life. No one could be harder on Mackenzie, now Maggie, than she is on herself. She is only at peace with her cats and dog. But as we get to know Maggie, we see that she is much stronger than she believes, and she has a good heart. She has made new friends, although she has not revealed much of herself to them, and her work as a makeup artist has meaning and helps others. Before and Again has so many twists and turns and is so full of suspense that it is almost a mystery. Maggie may be the main character, but all the characters are so well developed and have such compelling stories of their own that you become immersed in all their lives. Circumstances and events challenge Maggie: she is not the only one to experience family tragedy or need forgiveness or a fresh start. She is forced to make choices, and some of those choices may compromise the layers she has built to hide her past. This is not a short book or a fast read, but the writing is so fluid it’s an amazingly smooth read. I read it nearly straight through because the world outside of Maggie’s life just disappeared. I hate spoilers and don’t want to reveal too much about the choices Maggie and others must make because I was on edge until the very end wondering how – or if – things would be resolved. Before and Again will introduce you to characters that are flawed but so engaging you must know the end of their stories, and take you through their heartache, loss, grief, guilt, hope, friendships, family drama, romance, and most of all - love. Barbara Delinsky is always one of my go-to authors, but she has outdone herself this time. Before and Again is a riveting, completely satisfying story that I recommend without hesitation. Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and honestly review this amazing book.
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    Emotional read

    This is a highly emotional and powerful story. It's a story of horrendous loss, self loathing, forgiveness, and starting over. The characters are well developed. They are flawed, engaging, and lovable. The story is memorable and I enjoyed the small town flair. My only complaint, and I never thought I'd say this but, the writing is almost too descriptive making the flow slow and the story feel drawn out. I found myself skimming several pages - how much do I need to know about applying makeup to get the gist of the story? Even with this I walked away from the book with a warm heart and a smile. I would definitely recommend it.
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    Heartwarming, poignant, and sweet!

    Before and Again is a heartfelt, entertaining story about accepting the things you can’t change, letting go of the past, forgiving one’s self, surviving, taking chances, and moving on. The writing is fluid and well turned. The characters are flawed, supportive, lovable, and real. And the plot is an emotional, engaging tale with a side of mystery that’s full of heartache, loss, grief, guilt, hope, friendship, relationship dynamics, family drama, romance, and second-chance love. Before and Again, overall, is another beautiful, uplifting tale by Delinsky that ultimately reminds us that life is truly previous and even with the ups and downs, highs and lows, it’s definitely meant to be lived.
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    a heart wrenching, soul crushing life changer

    Before and Again by Barbara Delinksy was a heart wrenching, soul crushing life changer that left my chest aching in all the right ways. Imagine you take your eyes off the road for just a moment and your entire life is turned upside down. That’s what happens to Mackenzie. The life she had cannot be put back together so she runs away from what she knows to try and rebuild a new existence where no one recognizes her. Her marriage is over and her family doesn’t speak to her, so she finds a small town and makes new friends under the name Maggie, with other like-minded people who prefer to live under the radar for one reason or another. Maggie spends her time working as a makeup artist by day and dabbling in pottery occasionally on the side, which was how she used to make a living before her past life came tragically crashing down. Her newly created life was going really well until a friend’s son is accused of hacking into a high profile Twitter account and everyone’s small town lives become public. As Maggie is thrown back into the public spotlight, she fears her past may come back to haunt her after all these years in hiding. Can Maggie continue to support her friend while keeping her true identity hidden? This book dug deep, provoking a gamut of feelings including sadness, loss, love, forgiveness and survival. There was a beautiful thread of hope woven throughout the story that kept Maggie holding on throughout the struggles, pain and guilt that she carried. She proves that if you persevere there is hope for those who are willing to give life a second chance. In addition to all the feels be ready for few unexpected twists that will make you gasp. The only downfall of this story was that parts of it seemed to drag just a little. It is well written and a great storyline, but I had to push through a few parts that were a little slow going. That said, this is a box of tissue kind of book so get ready to experience a heartbreaking emotional read with this one.

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