Before and Again
Barnes & Noble
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Mackenzie Cooper does not want to be who she was – the one who was driving and had her eyes on her phone just long enough to cause an accident that resulted in the loss of her adored daughter, her family and friends, and ultimately her marriage. Thanks to the nonstop media coverage, she lost her privacy as well. Fleeing that past, she now lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made—though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she while she was once a successful sculptor, she is now a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.
Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself, or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. As the past inexorably seeps back into her life, her future is suddenly at stake – not only her career, her physical freedom, and her new home, but her relationships with the brother who was too frightened to stand by her before, with the mother who chose to turn away to survive, and with the only man she has ever truly loved.
Before and Again is a story of the relationships we find ourselves in—mothers and daughters, spouses and siblings, true companions and fair-weather friends—and the courage it takes to sustain them.
I’ve worn makeup since I was 19. Over the years, it has made my eyes look larger, my cheeks more bronzed, by nose slimmer. When I’m made up, I feel more like the person I want to be.
Same with the main character in Before And Again. But makeup isn’t where I started with Maggie. I started the deep, dark fear any mother has of losing a child. Maggie does. For the sake of the story, I let her lose her family and marriage as well. How to survive all that? Different people do different things, and I considered many of those. In the end, I had Maggie move to a new place, take a new name, and start a new life.
Originally a sculptor, she becomes a makeup artist. She gets up every morning and puts on her makeup, becoming the person she wants to see, rather than the one she is. Is this honest? No. And there is fallout when the past rears its head in certain unstoppable ways. But we’re human, y’know? We do what we can to survive. And we grow, always grow. Isn’t that what survival is about?
"In her deeply moving latest, Delinsky (The Woman Next Door) follows one woman’s journey of self-discovery as she learns to face the ghosts of her past. In a moment of distraction, Mackenzie Cooper accidentally ran a stop sign and caused the death of her five-year-old daughter, Lily, as well as the demise of her marriage. Shortly after, she moves from Massachusetts to the quaint town of Devon, Vt., where she goes by Maggie Reid, and, having abandoned her sculpting career, works at the Devon Inn and Spa as a makeup artist. She is constantly reminded of the accident by the scar on her forehead, which she carefully conceals, as well as the frequent meetings with her probation officer following her high-profile criminal conviction. Despite her probation officer’s warnings to distance herself from suspected criminals, Maggie provides emotional support for her friend Grace and Grace’s son, Chris, who is arrested for computer hacking. Maggie’s involvement thrusts her back into the media’s spotlight. Her reinvented life is further threatened when her ex-husband, Edward, moves to Devon and buys the Devon Inn. Delinsky’s novel expertly explores the depths of Maggie’s guilt and redemption, as she learns not only how to find closure from the tragedies of the past but to forge a future in which she can forgive herself. This is a rewarding, emotionally intense novel."
"I don't even know where to begin. This was absolutely one of the best books I've read in a long time. I always read Barbara Delinsky books but this one is over the top! Well written, engrossing, no loose ends....this book has it all. Honestly, I finished it in less than a week and now nothing seems to entice me. I just feel like all else will be a let down. This book will be a best seller for a long time!"
-Linda Eisenberg, A Novel Idea, Chapter Two