Publication Date: 27 February 2018
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Your sister needs you. But her child needs you more…
As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father and their mother’s swift remarriage, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leather-bound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…
As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a doctor, successful in her practice and happily engaged. Annie is addicted to heroin – a thief, a liar, and unable to remain clean despite the fact that she is pregnant. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to help and take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?
Before Let You Go is essentially about the strong bond between two sisters who have struggled deeply as children. The readers get snippets of what they endured through Annie’s letters every second chapter. But the heart of the story is what is happening in the present, which is from the perspective of Lexie. Annie is addicted to drugs, and is pregnant, which can be damaging to the child’s health in their early years. Lexie must decide how far she wants to go to help Annie through this turbulent journey.
Both of the characters were developed really well and the backstory with their childhood was really interesting to read about. At first I thought that Annie’s parts would be boring, but they were a good addition to the story. I connected with both of the sisters in different ways. I related with Lexie because I am the eldest sibling and often find myself having to take care of my brother, so I really felt her frustration at times. I also resonated with Annie because she was interested in creative writing and publishing and that is something I am pursuing. They both seemed like well thought-out characters that really stuck out on the page.
The book tackles a topic that I think many people would have differing opinions on. At first, I agreed with the law that Annie should go to prison for doing heroin while pregnant. As I read on, I started to agree with Lexie that there should be more support for those struggling, and Annie’s letters made me feel very sorry for her. I think that was the author’s intention and it definitely did work in getting the message across.
The novel was very enjoyable overall and I loved reading it. There were a few things about it that I thought could have been changed. Firstly, I found the main character to be a bit ditsy at times. She was always wanting to be in control but couldn’t let those around her in the hospital do their job. And she had a great supportive husband – I don’t know why she kept pushing him away. I also thought there was a lot of info dumps, such as when Lexie was talking to others about Annie’s health, and perhaps this could have been condensed.
Aside from these things, the novel was really well-written. There must have been a lot of research put into this novel and that is something I really appreciate because everything seemed to make sense. Although I couldn’t understand everything that was going on, I got the gist of it and felt for Lexie and what she had to deal with.
I did predict several of the things that happened in the novel, but I think it is the kind of book where it doesn’t matter if you know the ending. I think I even cried in the end, which is something I rarely do when I read a novel. I was clearly very touched and also satisfied with the ending.
For the novel’s great writing and interesting characters I give Before I Let You Go four stars. I would recommend it to those who like serious contemporary novels.
*Thank you to Hachette Australia for the advanced reader copy that I received unsolicited in exchange for an honest review.*
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