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From USA TODAY bestselling author Kelly Rimmer, BEFORE I LET YOU GO is an emotional and profoundly moving new novel that explores addiction, motherhood, the failures of the justice system, and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.
Lexie is a successful doctor, engaged to a handsome fellow physician, and leads a picture-perfect life— at least that’s what it looks like from the outside. What people don’t see is that Lexie has little family to speak of: even years after the fact, she still grieves the untimely death of her beloved father, and she has little contact with the mother who, shortly after being widowed, tried to raise her daughters in a religious cult. Perhaps most devastatingly, Lexie hasn’t seen her troubled sister, Annie, in over two years. But when Annie contacts her out of the blue asking for help, Lexie must confront all that has happened to her bright and bubbly little sister. Annie is now drug addicted, living in a squalid trailer park, and has a baby on the way. Lexie promised her father she’d always protect Annie, but now she’s not sure she’ll be able to and wonders, as her own heart breaks, if it’s too late for Annie to turn her life around.
Annie has hit rock bottom more times than she can count, but this time, she finally has a reason to try to pick herself up: the life and well-being of her unborn daughter. With Lexie’s help, she’s finally committed to overcoming the devastating opioid addiction that has taken over her life—she wants, more than anything, to be a better sister, a good mother and the best version of herself. But doctors tell Annie she must wait to give birth before she can enter a rehab program, and before she can do either, Annie is tracked down by social services and charged with chemical endangerment of her own child. Just as she’s prepared to turn over a new leaf, Annie faces the prospect of a harsh sentence and decades in prison. Now she must fight not only for sobriety but also for her very freedom and custody of her child.
Dark secrets and shattering revelations emerge with the arrival of Lexie and Annie’s estranged mother and their stepfather, the leader of the religious cult that both girls escaped and tried to leave behind years ago. Lexie discovers that what she knows about Annie’s history of substance abuse only scratches the surface, and Annie herself harbors a deep and buried secret that has haunted her for decades—and it’s one that just might kill her.
BEFORE I LET YOU GO is extraordinarily timely and explores the current opioid crisis through the eyes of a young and desperate mother. With great empathy and nuance, it explores the complexities of addiction and reveals how substance abuse often stems from deep and hidden traumas. It calls into question the ways in which society often fails addicts and how the justice system punishes them with harsh and disproportionate sentences. Above all, it is a call for compassion, a recognition of our common humanity and fallibility, and a demonstration of the hope and rebirth that are possible even in the darkest of times.
Early praise for BEFORE I LET YOU GO:
“A heartbreaking book about an impossible decision. Kelly Rimmer writes with wisdom and compassion about the relationships between sisters, mother and daughter, aunt and niece. She captures the anguish of addiction, the agonizing conflict between an addict’s best and worst selves. Above all, this novel is about the deepest love possible.”
—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author
“Get ready for fireworks in your book club…One of the best books for discussion that I’ve read in years.”
—Diane Chamberlain, bestselling author of The Stolen Marriage
“A heart wrenching story about the love between sisters, the complexities of women, and the lengths we’ll go for those close to us. Thought provoking and deeply affecting.”
—Karma Brown, New York Times bestselling author of In This Moment
ABOUT KELLY RIMMER:
Kelly Rimmer is the USA TODAY bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. 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.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
BEFORE I LET YOU GO On Sale: April 2018 $16.99 U.S. / $21.99 CAN. Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1525820847
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Description: One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter—a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was—Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again. (publisher)
My take: Now That You Mention It is Kristan Higgins’ new stand-alone novel. Nora Stuart is a ‘glass half-full’ kind of person and that is what ends up saving her. She’s had to endure a lot over her thirty-five years which made her appreciate finally coming into her own as a doctor and as a woman. But recently she finds out life hasn’t finished whacking her upside the head when she gets hit by a van as she crosses a street. That is what brings her back to her mother’s house in Maine where her fifteen year old niece ignores her and her mother doesn’t know what to make of her.
As Nora gets her bearings and recovers from her injuries we learn about her background – the years of growing up on an island in Maine. Her family life was good until it wasn’t. Life changed one day and left Nora with unanswered questions that would have a lasting effect on her and Lily, her sister.
Nora will find out if one can really go home again. Now That You Mention It is a story about friendships, family and new possibilities. She might even get some answers to those long ago questions. I think fans of Kristan Higgins will be happy with this novel. Higgins’ typical humor, heartfelt story, colorful characters, etc are all there. I enjoyed it.
About Kristan Higgins:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award, Kristan lives with her family in a small Connecticut town that boasts a wonderful library, a great agricultural fair, a really good ice-cream stand and not much else. She is the mother of two lovely kids and the wife of a brave firefighter who is also (perhaps more important) a fantastic cook.
Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. Writing, she found, was infinitely more satisfying than folding laundry, and so began her first novel. Kristan holds a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which means she can identify dangling participles, quote many great novels and play a mean game of Scrabble.
Kristan is an award-winning baker, devoted fan of the New York Yankees and an avid reader. She and her crew spend as much time as possible at the family home on Cape Cod, where they shiver in the Atlantic, ride bikes, swat horseflies and don’t catch any fish. Visit her at KristanHiggins.com.
Description: Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life. (publisher)
My take: Paul is a confident and successful man. He has life figured out and knows he deserves all he has, and more. He’s planned a weekend away with his wife, Mia. She needs a nice getaway – she’s been sick lately with a mystery illness that countless doctors haven’t been able to figure out. He’s certain this vacation is exactly what she needs. It will all start with the best day ever. But what happens when Paul’s plan doesn’t go the way he intends? Kaira Rouda’s novel takes the reader inside the mind of Paul. It’s creepy and disturbing and yet I couldn’t stop reading. I had an idea where everything was heading – and I was right. It was a departure from my usual reads and I enjoyed it. I loved discovering the significance of the eye-catching cover as well. Yes, a creepy good afternoon of reading about someone’s best day ever.
Check out my Spotlight post for more information about BEST DAY EVER
Today I want to shine the Bookfan Spotlight on BEST DAY EVER by Kaira Rouda. It’s one of the books I’m looking forward to reading this Fall.
Harper Collins/Graydon House; September 19, 2017; Hardcover; $26.99
About the book:
The perfect couple is the perfect illusion.
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? How much do they trust each other? Is Paul the person he seems to be? And what are his secret plans for their weekend at the cottage?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Evercrackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion.
In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.
Praise for BEST DAY EVER:
PopSugar named Best Day Ever one of “the 25 best new books of Fall!”
PopSugar named Best Day Ever one of their “favorite books of the year!”
“It’s clear from the beginning that something sinister is going on in this novel, which will cost you sleep as you race through its pages. Chilling, satisfying suspense.”
“Clever pacing and an unreliable and chillingly unrepentant narrator.”
—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and The Outliers
“This latest psychological thriller from bestselling Rouda is destined to fly off the shelves, enticing readers to ride along as this multifaceted day in the life of the Stroms unfolds.”
—Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW*
“A tensely written, shocking book that will hold readers on the edge of their seats to the very last page.”
“Darkly funny, scandalous, and utterly satisfying.”
“Rouda keeps the pace taut, the action spare, and the characters intense as she takes readers on an hour-by-hour recounting of the couple’s fateful getaway.”
“Kaira Rouda’s BEST DAY EVER is a breath of fresh air. Move over Kepnes’ Joe Goldberg, there’s a new sociopathic voice in town. Paul Strom is irreverent, arrogant, psychotic and yet, utterly addicting. Who will win the Lakeside showdown, Mia or Paul? You’ll whip through the pages to find out. Highly entertaining and truly surprising!“
—Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year
“We read BEST DAY EVER in one sitting—ripping through the pages with a breathless urgency. The book takes place over just twenty-four-hours, making you desperate to know: what exactly does the seemingly perfect Paul Strom have planned for his wife when he takes her away for the weekend? Here’s what we can tell you: whatever you think it is, you’re wrong. BEST DAY EVER isn’t even close to what you’re expecting. BEST DAY EVER is a creepy, spine-tingling and utterly addictive tale of domestic suspense.”
—Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, bestselling authors of The Good Widow
“Kaira Rouda spins a sinister tale of a disintegrating marriage that raises the bar on the unreliable narrator. Deliciously diabolical and highly readable, BEST DAY EVER kept me flipping the pages with anticipation and fascination. Unputdownable!”
—A. J. Banner, USA Today bestselling author of The Twilight Wife
“Riveting and provocative, BEST DAY EVER is a gripping suspense that plays with your mind and makes you wonder how well you truly know your spouse. Accomplished author Kaira Rouda deftly navigates a day in the life of Paul and Mia Strom where what appears to be a perfect marriage is not all what it seems. Fast-paced, dark, and slightly disturbing, you won’t be able to put this book down until its jaw-dropping ending. Rouda kept me glued to my seat. Absolutely brilliant!”
—Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep
“His voice will grip you. Through self-conscious charm and a chilling wit, Rouda’s narrator creates laugh-out-loud moments that will feel like guilty pleasures in light of the story’s high-impact conclusion. This may well be the most entertaining read of your year.”
—Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End of Happy
“Completely addicting. Those who loved THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR will want to take note of this one.”
—Book Reporter, Carol Fitzgerald, Newsletter
“a good story that keeps you guessing throughout”
—Sarah Blake, reviewer at Blake Psychotherapy and Associates
About the author:
Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction, including Here, Home, Hope, and The Goodbye Year. Kaira is also the author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs and the creator of Real Living, one of the nation’s most successful real estate brands and the first national women-focused brand in real estate. She now lives in Southern California with her family, where she’s lucky enough to write full time, and enjoys the beach whenever possible. Kaira’s latest novel, Best Day Ever, is one of the major launch titles for Harlequin’s new imprint Graydon House, and will be available on September 19, 2017.
Description: Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she’d once taken for granted—and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.
Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is everything Annie doesn’t want in a friend. But Polly is determined to finally wake Annie up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day—which is why she wants Annie to join her on a mission…
One hundred days. One hundred new ways to be happy. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey that will force her to open herself to new experiences—and perhaps even new love with the unlikeliest of men—Annie will slowly begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, there’s still joy to be found in the world. But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.
With wry wit and boundless heart, Eva Woods delivers an unforgettable tale of celebrating triumphs great and small, seizing the day, and always remembering to live in the moment. (publisher)
My take: Eva Woods’ novel about two people trying to live life to the fullest engaged me from the first page. Polly doesn’t have long to live and Annie’s life became very small a few years earlier. It’s a heartfelt and emotional story that I found difficult to put down. These two unlikely pals, who wouldn’t have met if life had been different, find a way to make peace with their lot in life by crossing items off their hundred days list. There were laugh-out-loud moments and times that had me reaching for a tissue. Polly and Annie’s experiences reminded me to appreciate the little things as well as the huge events in life. I’m very glad I had the chance to read Something Like Happy and recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction. It’s going on my 2017 Favorites list.
About the author:
Eva Woods was inspired to write SOMETHING LIKE HAPPY after surviving her own brush with cancer and the breakdown of her marriage. Raised in a small village in Northern Ireland, Woods now lives in London, where she teaches creative writing and regularly contributes to Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire UK, xoJane, and other publications. She writes crime fiction as Claire McGowan.
Photo credit: Jamie Drew
Praise for Something Like Happy:
“A great option for fans of Graeme Simsion, Gabrielle Zevin and Marian Keyes.” — Library Journal on Something Like Happy
“Filled with beautiful life lessons of love, loss, friendship, and forgiveness, Something Like Happy is a perfect feel good read. A warm, funny, thoughtful novel, packed with heart and charged with emotion.” – Lori Nelson Spielman, #1 Bestselling author of The Life List
“Page-turning.” – The Guardian
“A knockout new talent you should read immediately.” – Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Warm, witty and lots of fun—a fantastic new voice in women’s fiction.” – Melissa Hill, author of Something From Tiffany’s
“Frothy, smart, and unashamedly fun.” – Heat Magazine
SOMETHING LIKE HAPPY
On Sale: September 2017
$26.99 U.S. / $29.99 CAN. Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781525811357