Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Book Review: Before I Let You Go (Contemporary Fiction)

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication date: 27th February 2018
Pages: 352
Format read: Paperback
Source: Own


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 fiancĂ© 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 

Two sisters, two very different life outcomes. Lexie is a doctor engaged to Sam who is also a doctor. Annie is a drug addict. Lexie is not surprised when she gets a call for help, from Annie, in the middle of the night. It’s not the first time it has happened. But now Annie is pregnant and that changes everything.
”There is no off switch to the love between sisters” - Lexie Vidler

Who isn’t intrigued by dysfunctional family stories! I could clearly see from the Facebook discussion for this book that so many readers could relate to the sisters on different levels – unparented children (when the parent is not mentally present), drug abuse, sibling connections.

The story is set in Alabama where there are strict laws on drug use in pregnancy and any woman who is reported with drugs in their system whilst pregnant faces criminal charges for child endangerment with a penalty of a jail term. This causes a moral dilemma for Lexie. Should she protect her sister from authorities or protect the unborn child.

”What Annie is facing is a nightmare – but she is my sister. I’d never want her to face this alone.” - Lexie Vidler

Lexie has brought Annie up since the sudden death of their father when their mother became mentally detached from the world. Lexie saw every one of Annie’s problems as a failure and she needed to fix it. Lexie was not used to accepting help and kept shutting Sam out however Sam was sensitive and supportive, never judgemental, he knew how to rein Lexie in when she was going too far. I was so glad that Rimmer didn’t disappoint me and Sam stayed a constant until the end. *sigh*

Lexie and Annie’s story is intense and relatable, it will make you angry and break your heart; it opens up a lot of moral issues for discussion.
The dual narration, present day told by Lexie and the past through Annie’s journal entries, had this reader switching allegiances as the full story was revealed.

I will finish with this quote from Annie. It just killed me.
” How many thousands of dollars do you sink into a person before it stops being selfless and starts being ridiculous? How many times do you bother to revive someone who is nothing but a drain on you and society?” – Annie Vidler.

What if this was your sister or brother, your own child? Would you ever stop helping someone you love?

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Content: frequent coarse language, drug use, sexual assault.

About the author

Kelly Rimmer Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. Her most recent release is Before I Let You Go. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, 2 children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. 

You can connect with the author at the following sites:

Website               Twitter            Facebook
This book is part of the Booklover Book Reviews Aussie author challenge
and book #9 in the Australian Women Writers challenge


  1. You know it's funny just reading your review (and the synopsis) I could relate to the premise too, in a way, due to various family issues over the years. And I'm sure that's not uncommon. It would be really interesting to read this and see what exactly happens with these two sisters!

    And I like the part about switching allegiances as you find out more. Looks like a great book.

    1. I was surprised how many readers on the Facebook forum related to a family member with drug problems. I think the ending was appropriate. It was a good read about a subject I had no clue, so I learnt a little also.

  2. Great review, I don't this is a book I would read but it does sound like a really interesting story.

    1. Some of the themes are pretty confronting so I agree it’s not for everyone.

  3. Great review! I have added to my TBR!

  4. You have snared my attention

  5. Sounds like a powerful story!

  6. Ohh great review, I also love books with dysfunctional family issues and this one looks and sounds very intriguing and very emotional as well. I might need to check this one out, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post and for putting this book on my radar.

  7. This sounds like a very emotional read. Thanks for sharing! Great review! :)

  8. Great review. This book sounds like it would be an intense read. I find it hard to read about drug abuse and babies.

    1. It was sad and made me angry. The emotions change as the story is slowly revealed.

  9. Gosh sounds like a heart wrenching book. Great review

  10. Great review, seems like a book that will you left in thought and have a profound impact on the literacy world.

  11. Great review. Sounds like an emotional read.