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 the 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 fiancé 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’ childhoods, 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.
|Publisher:||Graydon House Books|
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When my landline rings at 2:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning, I know who's at the other end of the line before I pick it up. Only one person in my life would call at that hour; the same person who wouldn't hesitate to ask for something after two years of silence, the same person who wouldn't give a single thought to the fact that I need to be at work by 8:00 a.m.
As I bring the handset to my ear, I brace myself for the one thing that contact with my little sister has brought me in recent years.
"Lexie," Annie's voice breaks on a sob, "you have to help me — I think I'm dying."
I sit up and push my hair out of my face. My fiancé, Sam, had been asleep on the bed beside me, but he sits up, too. I glance at him and see sleepy confusion cross his face. As a physician, I periodically have late-night calls regarding patient emergencies, but never via the landline. I've moved houses twice since I last spoke to Annie, but I've always made sure the same number followed me, just in case she wanted or needed to reconnect.
Now, here she is — and just like I always feared, she's calling me because she's got an emergency on her hands.
"What's going on?" I ask.
"My head hurts so much and nothing helps the pain. I'm seeing double and my feet are swollen and ..."
They are troubling symptoms, but as Annie speaks I recognize the slur that indicates she is high. Frustration floods me, and I sigh impatiently.
You're thirty now, Annie. Are you ever going to grow up?
"Go to the hospital," I say. I feel Sam stiffen on the bed beside me at the hard edge of my tone. He's never heard me speak like that, and I turn toward him again, an apology in my gaze. It hurts me to be cold with Annie, it even hurts to recognize how only seconds into this phone call I'm already boiling up inside with impatience and frustration toward her. This is my baby sister. This is the same kid I shared a room with for our entire childhood, the same sweet nine-year-old who used to beg me to play "mommies and daddies" with her after our dad died.
But I've been dealing with her addiction for years, and even after a two-year break from the drama, the weariness returns as soon as she does. If this was a one-off, I'd probably panic and rush to her aid — but it's not. I have lost count of Annie's desperate 2:00 a.m. phone calls. I couldn't even tally the times she has gotten herself into a hopeless situation and called me to find her a solution.
"Lexie, I can't," Annie chokes now. I wait, expecting some long-winded story about not having health insurance or having a warrant out for her arrest or something simpler like not even having a car, or having woken up from a binge to find herself lost. When the silence stretches, I know I need to end the call. I try to push the phone call to it's inevitable conclusion as I prompt her, "Well?"
"Lexie, I'm pregnant. I can't go to the hospital. I just can't."
I've been a GP for several years — I thought my poker face was pretty good, but I'm not prepared for this. I gasp and feel Sam's gentle arm snake around my waist. He rests his chin on my shoulder, then presses a soft kiss against my cheek.
My first instinct is to assume Annie is lying. It wouldn't be the first time, although she generally lies only for some financial or pharmaceutical payoff. The last vestiges of sleep clear from my brain and I quickly consider the situation. There is something different about this scenario. Annie isn't asking me for money. She is asking for help.
"If you're pregnant then those symptoms are even more troubling. You need to get to a hospital."
Annie speaks again, her voice stronger and clearer. She is determined to make me understand, and there's no way I can ignore her plea.
"If I go to the hospital, I'll fail the drug test. I just can't."
I slide my legs over the edge of the bed, straighten my posture and take a deep breath. I'm immediately resigned to what this call is going to mean. Annie is back — this peaceful period of my life is over.
"Tell me where you are."
Sam tries to convince me that there are smarter ways to approach this situation than jumping in the car myself.
"Just think about it for a second," he says quietly. "This is the same sister who nearly got you fired two years ago, right?" I bristle at his pointed tone, and I'm scowling as I reply, "She needs me, Sam."
"She needs medical help. And even if we go there right now, the best we can probably do for her is to call an ambulance anyway. So why don't we just do that in the first place?"
"Because her situation is complicated and they won't understand. If I go to her, I can talk sense into her. I know I can."
There's a hint of impatience in his eyes as he scans my face in the semidarkness, but then he sighs and throws back the covers on the bed.
"What are you doing?" I frown at him, and he walks briskly toward the wardrobe as he mutters, "I'm not letting you go to some trailer park by yourself at three o'clock in the morning."
"But you have surgery all day tomorrow, Sam. This isn't your problem."
"Lexie, your problems are my problem now. I'll be fine, and if I'm not, I'll postpone the surgeries. If you're going, I'm going, so either call an ambulance and get back into bed or let's go."
So I let him come with me, but even as he drives across the city, I feel anxiety grinding in my gut. Sam knows only the basics about Annie's issues. He's been supportive and understanding, but at the end of the day, he's from one of those "old money" northeastern families; the biggest scandal in his entire lineage is his parents' somewhat amicable divorce. And now, four months after our engagement, here he is looking for an obscure trailer park in the middle of the night, to give medical care to my pregnant, drug-addicted sister.
He hasn't ever met Mom, and I'm not sure he ever will. I haven't seen her myself for almost two decades — not since the day of my sixteenth birthday, when I walked out of the strict religious sect she moved Annie and me into after Dad's death. We speak on the phone from time to time, despite that being against the rules of her community — since Annie and I turned our back on the sect, we're dead to them. I hate calling her because I usually hang up feeling lonely. A call to Mom back in Illinois is like telephoning another planet. She's so disconnected from my world, and I have completely rejected hers.
I try to keep an open mind as we drive. I don't want to think the worst of Annie, but it seems like her situation has gone from bad to worse over the past two years. I think of her every day — but in my thoughts, she has lived a much healthier life than the one I fear I'm about to see. It was the only way I'd been able to deal with throwing her out of my house two years ago. I imagined that she was working somewhere — maybe writing again — maybe she has a nice little apartment, like the one she had in Chicago after she graduated. I pictured her dating and going out with friends and shopping for clothes at little boutiques. Annie always had such a beautiful sense of style, back when she cared about how she looked.
It's well after 3:00 a.m. when we find the place. It's an older-style trailer, and even in the semidarkness of the trailer park, there is no denying that Annie is somewhere near rock bottom. The trailer is falling to bits — one side is dented, as if it's been in some kind of car accident, and there's black tape holding a panel in place. There is an awning at the front, but the support beneath it is damaged, too, so one corner of the roof leans down toward the ground. Trash cans are stacked against it, each overflowing with waste so that a scattered carpet of filth rests over the ground beneath the awning. There's a narrow path through that trash right to the front door, and inside the trailer, the soft yellow glow of a light beckons. As soon as the car pulls to a stop beside the awning I reach for the door handle, but before I can open it, Sam takes my other hand in his.
"If things are too messed up in there, we're calling an ambulance and going home. Okay?"
"She's harmless, Sam," I promise him. "Annie is only a danger to herself."
"I trust you," he says. "That's why we're here. But there's only so much we are going to be able to do for her without a hospital. If she has preeclampsia, we'll need to force her to go. Right?"
"I know," I say on a sigh. "Let's just play it by ear, okay?"
As we walk toward the trailer, Sam walks so close to me that I can feel his breath on the back of my neck. The door swings slowly open and then Annie is there.
Once upon a time, I was so jealous of her beautiful blond hair and her bright blue eyes, and those delicate, elfin features. The woman who stands before me now is nothing more than a shadow of my beautiful sister. The blond hair is now wiry and thin and hangs around her face in matted tendrils. Her eyes are sunken, her skin sallow; and through her parted lips I see the telltale black marks of rot on the edges of her front teeth. My eyes drift downward, and I take in the jutting ball of her bump — a horrifying contrast to her otherwise skeletal frame.
I'm not seeing my sister — I'm seeing a wasteland after war. If I wasn't so desperate to help her I might turn away and sob.
"Thanks for coming," Annie says. Now that I can actually see her, I identify a quality in her voice that had eluded me over the phone. Yes, she is weary. Yes, she is scared. Yes, she is tired ... but more than all that, Annie is broken. She has called me because she had exhausted all other options.
I climb up the stairs and duck to step inside Annie's trailer. I see the unmade bed, the old-style TV, the vinyl-clad table. Every single surface is littered with trash, but there are piles of books haphazardly stacked among the mess. Annie was an English major. She worked for a children's book publisher and she had some short stories published in magazines. At one stage, she was even working on a book of her own. It's heartbreaking to see the books in this place — the one throwback to the life she has lost.
"Who is this?" Annie asks, and she nods toward Sam. He is a big man, a broad man, and he looks so cramped in this tiny trailer. He has to bow his head to stand. As I look between Sam and Annie, I can barely believe that both of these people are now technically my family. They couldn't be more different.
"This is Sam," I murmur. "He's my fiancé. He's a doctor, too."
"Of course he is." Annie sinks onto the bed and shoots me a withering look. "Only the best for our Lexie."
"Do you want help, or not?" Sam says, before I can respond. Rather than feeling pleased for his automatic defense of me, I feel instant and bewildering irritation. Annie is startled by his short tone. Her gaze snaps from my face to his, and then color floods her starkly white cheeks until she looks feverish.
She doesn't answer Sam — instead, she rubs her belly gently with her palms and she lifts her legs up onto the bed. My gaze zeros in on her monstrously bloated feet; swollen to nearly double their normal size, the skin pitted around her ankles. I was already nervous for Annie — but my heart sinks at the sight of those feet. I scan my eyes over her body and survey her belly.
"How many months?" I ask. It's difficult to assess how far into the pregnancy she is because her bump is tiny, but then again, so is she. I'm collating a mental catalog of what I know of heroin use in pregnancy, assuming that's the drug she still favors. If she's been using for the whole pregnancy, the baby's growth may have suffered.
"I think I'm due soon," Annie says. "I haven't seen a doctor."
"Not at all?" I wince as the judgmental words leave my mouth to hang in the room between us. Annie's eyes plead with me to understand — as if I could, as if there is any excuse for what she's just told me. After a fraught pause, she shakes her head, and a tear drains out of the corner of her eye to run over her weathered cheek. She wraps her arms around her bump protectively, but when she looks at me, her guilt is palpable.
I approach the bed and motion toward Sam, indicating that he should pass me the medical kit he's carrying. His hand descends upon my shoulder, and he gently steers me toward the cracked vinyl chair that runs alongside the small dining table.
"I'll assess her," he says. His tone is gentle, but the words are firm. I shake my head, and Sam's gaze sharpens. "She's your sister. You need to let me do this."
I open my mouth to protest, but Sam isn't going to back down, so I sigh and sit slowly. At the last minute, the urge to care for Annie myself surges again and I straighten and shake my head.
"She is my sister, Sam," I say. "That's why I should be the one to assess her."
Sam doesn't budge, and his gaze doesn't waver.
"You know as well as I do that you're too close. You can't possibly make an impartial assessment here — your judgment will be clouded." Sam's gaze becomes pleading. "Lexie, please. Let me do this."
I sit, but as I do, my fingers twitch against my thighs and my foot taps against the floor of the trailer. The urge to take charge is so great that even my body is revolting. I've never been good at sitting back when a problem needed solving — particularly not when it came to my family. The only thing that stops me from pushing him aside and reviewing her condition myself is that he's right — I'm far too close to this situation to remain objective.
Besides, this is Sam, the person I trust more than anyone else in the world.
He sits on the bed beside Annie and withdraws a digital blood pressure machine from his pack. After he fixes it to her arm, he offers her a reassuring smile.
"Can you tell us a bit about what's going on?"
"I started getting headaches last week, but they're getting worse. Tonight I couldn't see ... everything was doubled and blurry."
Sam leans over and palpates Annie's belly, then picks up his stethoscope and listens near her belly button. After a moment or two I see his shoulders relax just a little, and I know he's found a heartbeat. He continues listening, and I'm desperate to know how stable the rhythm is.
"How long have your feet been like that?" I ask Annie.
"Maybe a week? I'm not sure." The digital machine beeps several times to indicate a problem. I lean forward and am not surprised to see the numbers flash on the screen: 160/120. Annie and the baby are definitely in trouble. I fumble for my phone — do I call an ambulance? Sam doesn't seem to be panicking, and perhaps I wouldn't be either if Annie were a patient who had walked into my office, but right now I'm simply a terrified sister.
"Has the baby been moving, Annie?" Sam asks, as he rises away from her belly.
"I think so ...?"
Sam turns to stare at me. Our eyes lock.
"Annie," I say gently. "We have to get you to a hospital. Now."
"Lexie, I can't," Annie chokes. "My friend failed a drug test last year and they took her baby. Her son went into foster care, and she never got him back. I can't let that happen to my baby. I just can't."
I want to point out the dozens of reasons why she shouldn't be allowed to bring a baby home to this place at all, especially given her current state of mind. The mess of her life could not be more evident, but those shockingly high numbers on the BP machine are burnt into the forefront of my thoughts. Annie needs urgent medical attention. This is not the time to lecture her about her addiction or her suitability as a parent. This is the time to persuade her, and I have to tread lightly.
But despite this, I know that Annie is probably right about the drug test. If she fails a narcotics test, it's quite likely she'll be charged with chemically endangering a child — and that's a felony in Alabama. I've never had it happen to a patient personally, but I've heard of several cases in the media.
We'll cross that bridge when we come to it — the immediate need is to get her to a hospital to push anti-hypertension drugs into her system to bring her blood pressure down. Plus, that baby needs urgent monitoring — proper monitoring, not the very limited heart-rate check we can do here — and if we don't move fast, there might not even be a baby to save. I don't want to tell Annie this — in part because I don't want to stress her further and push her blood pressure even higher. But if explaining the immediate threat to her baby's health is off the table, I don't know what I'll say to convince her. I'm relieved when Sam rescues me.
Excerpted from "Before I Let You Go"
Copyright © 2018 Lantana Management Pty Ltd.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If this is the authors debut, I sure hope she writes more, and soon. Great story about sisters, one is an enabler the other is a selfiish schemer. I do look forward to more books from this author. Recommend!!!!
Could not put it down
Once I started this novel I couldn't put it down!! Will definitely be reading more from this author!! Sad but I still had a smile on my face at the end.
This book allows the reader to experience the personal struggles and insights of addiction and it's effects on all those that come in contact with this demanding disease. The character development brings to life a story that allows the reader to experience and ride along with all the emotional peaks and valleys. Excellent insight, research and writing. Highly recommended.
I don’t know how to say what I feel about this book. There were parts that hit home and parts that made me sad. But I also smiled too. Addiction IS hard not only on the addict, but the addicts family. Very well written and compelling story and characters.
Couldn’t put it down, one of the best books I’ve read.
A story of two sister's different lives and the struggle addiction and misplaced control has over them and their fight to clear the air. Well written with an easy read style. Intense but courageous this book brought me to tears at the end, but could have had tears all through it. A good book. One that I'll remember.
Could not stop turning the pages.
This book left me completely devastated. I was conflicted through the entire thing and when it ended i felt like someone punched a hole through me but also a sense of closure. Perfectly written. One of the best books ive ever read.
great book... heartbreaking but with a realistic look at addiction
WOW!! One of the best books I have ever read! Sensitive subject matter. Great characters. Very emotional. I could not put this book down. I highly recommend this book. You won't soon forget it!!
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Two sisters have been estranged for two years and a late night phone call will bring them back together and hopefully heal their relationship. Lexie Vidler has been the older sister her entire life and even at some moments she has had to be a second parent. Annie is the younger sister and has always had Lexie to help pick up the pieces when life got rough. Annie is in a bad place and she thinks only Lexie can help. What a fantastic sister book! Being a part of a sisterhood is rewarding and hard. Like Lexie and Annie, me and my sister are completely different, but unlike them I have never had to parent my sister, we have always been able to just be sisters. Kelly Rimmer gives a voice to both sisters as they take turns narrating the book chapter by chapter. I won't divulge too much, but the way Annie's chapters are presented is unique and different and made this book stand out for me. BUT be prepared to cry!
Thank you to #Negalley and the publisher. I received this for free in exchange for a free review. Kelly Rimmer did a great job on this book. We are introduced to 2 sister that have not spoken in 2 years until one morning at 2 am, Lexie Vidler, gets a phone call from her sister with unexpected news. Her sister is high again and this upsets Lexie. While on the phone, her sister, Annie, announces that she thinks she is dying. This story is a must read.
This book touched on so much that is happening in our world right now. It was very raw, true, touching, infuriating and necessary. It's about the heroin epidemic we are facing, but it's more than that. It's about sexual abuse, sisters, drug addicted babies, a cult and how anyone can fall prey to this evil world of drugs. I loved both sisters and could relate to each of them. I'm so glad I gave this author a chance. I will definitely keep my eyes on her. First sentence: When my landline rings at 2:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning, I know who's at the other end of the line before I pick it up. Last sentence: Be at peace, and be free, Lexie
Before I Let You Go is a realistic look at addiction and how it affects the family. This book is not an easy read. I cried for most of the book. I cried for Annie and the trauma she endured. I cried for Lexie. I cried for the baby. I will warn that there are triggers in the book. They are sexual/physical abuse, drug use, newborn withdrawing from opioid addiction. I would recommend to family and friends but with a warning about the triggers. Overall, a good but hard read.
Before I Go is a poignant novel about family and unexpected changes. The story begins with Annie reaching out to her sister Lexie right before the birth of her (drug addicted) baby. Lexie agrees to kinship care while Annie deals with the legal ramifications of doing drugs while pregnant (and also agreeing to rehab). The present situation is told from Lexie’s POV while Annie’s chapters delve into the past. Their dad died when they were young and their mom remarried a man name Robert who brings them to a religious community which strongly resembles a cult. Through Annie’s “journal” entries we learn of the suppression, control, and abuse they (Annie especially) suffered at the hand of Robert and others. As Lexie adjusts to taking care of an infant, Annie struggles in rehab. They have a very codependent relationship that was interesting (and often times frustrating) to read about. I have to say I grew irritated with the way Lexie treated Sam, her fiancé. He was so kind and supportive of her family situation and yet she just kept pushing him away and being defensive. At one point Sam tells her “sometimes, I think you don’t know me at all,” and honestly, many times it felt that way. The ending is bittersweet yet fitting. Rimmer created an emotional, moving novel that tugs at your heartstrings.
I really thought this was going to be a suspense/thriller according to the title. However, I could not be farther from the truth. While there was a mystery, it was far from what I thought it would be. The story of two sisters, their shared love for each other and their distrust and hatred of their stepfather. A man who loved using God's words to inflict pain and suffering to females around him. A man who I really wanted to hurt, badly. This was a really, really sad story with lots of secrets that did end up with a somewhat happy conclusion. The road getting to that conclusion was one that I was glad that I signed up for. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and would recommend it to others who like real life stories that include ugly mysteries. Thanks to Harlequin-Graydon House Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
This book isn't just about addiction and co-dependency, but it's also about an unbreakable loving bond between two sisters through life. Alexis and Annie after many traumatic events in their life lean solely on each other. The love between these two sisters was so beautiful and strong but yet emotionally hard to understand. It was a well written book and it grabbed me in with the first couple of pages.
To share my opinion and intake of this title is not going to be easy, but I will do my best to express the impact this novel had on me. I have sat with my thoughts now for several days, digesting everything, and will try to do justice for Before I Let You Go. The story is told in the first person POV by both of the sisters, even though Annie's part is from her journal. I am not a fan of the 1st person POV yet here it works. It gives the opportunity to go deep in the thoughts of the sisters, showing the deepest and darkest secrets and reflections as the tale unfolds. It goes smoothly from present to the past so the whole story can be revealed. The novel is beautifully crafted, each moment pulling the reader deeper into the world of the sisters. The writing in itself is smooth and easy to absorb, thankfully, since the what is written about is terrifying, drastically beautiful, raw and real, and breath-taking in more than one sense. In my eyes, the author had thoroughly researched the material, and the medical facts and the experiences Annie went through as she is falling deeper into the world of addiction sounded realistic and true every step of the way. The bond between the two sisters is amazing and it is demonstrated delicately and repeatedly until there is no doubt in the reader's mind how strong and binding it truly is. I was surprised that it was Annie I first started to bond with, instead of Lexie who seemingly had her life together. The abuse Annie had to go through, and the way she was purposely broken and shattered in her mind and soul, broke my heart. She was a tenderhearted, sweet, kind and thoughtful girl until her world was devastated and changed forever. Some of the scenes, both with the abuse as well as with Annie's drug use, go so deep into that dark and ugly world, that I had to take a deep breath before I could continue reading. Because putting down the novel before finding the destiny for the sisters was not an option for me. Lexie was the more complex sister in my mind. While Annie's past gave a good understanding of her present, Lexie had survived in her own way, mostly by ignoring and hiding the pain, thus it was difficult to see into her soul through all the walls she had built in order to survive. Her need to stay in control, to fix things, to take care of things on her own, and if possible hide it from the surrounding environment and people in it, came from the sisters past as much as Annie's drug abuse did. For her to let go of the power that came with the control was as hard as for Annie getting sober. With the heartwrenching story of the sisters and their forever bind, on the side is one of the most beautiful love stories I have read. Sam, Lexie's fiance, and his love, understanding, patience, support, and caring were a delightful thing to witness. The love was a power that brought light into the devastating story. In the blurb, it was written that Sam's patience was tested because of Annie's action but it was never Annie that tested Sam's peace of mind. It was Lexie's inability to let Sam support and help her, to let Sam carry part of the task, to share the responsibility, to be a team. As I was reading about Sam's and Lexie's relationship, the bond, the trust, the unquestionable love that was there spoke volumes to me. In my mind, the verse of what love really is started to play as the soundtrack for the novel: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It d
Before I Let You Go is a heartbreaking story of addiction and the bond between sisters from bestselling author Kelly Rimmer. In alternating perspectives, between Lexie and the journal entries of her younger sister Annie, readers see the effect of abuse and drug addiction and how it consumes multiple lives. Lexie and Annie were close growing up, but the death of their father left a void in their lives and caused a series of events destined to leave a mark. Their relationship took an imperceptible change when Lexie left Annie behind to secure their future. Reunited years later after a history of Lexie's failed attempts to guide her sister from a path of destruction, she has no choice but to save Annie yet again. This time Annie is in premature labor and her baby is in danger of neonatal abstinence syndrome. With the support of Lexie and her fiancé, Annie just might finally get herself the help she needs in order to raise her child. If you don't shed even one tear while reading this story you might be just a bit heartless. The very premise of the novel is tragic, but Kelly Rimmer weaves in threads of hope and love that follow you to a gut-wrenching conclusion. The turn of events in the plot are so believable as one broken expectant mother searches for the courage to finally battle her demons and heal for the sake of her precious baby. I honestly prepared to hate Annie's character for being in her situation, but her story was just so raw and her pain so vivid that I could only wish she pull through her ordeal. Even Lexie had to find the courage to let her sister face her issues on her own. After all, while Annie is in rehab she and Sam will be responsible for her niece. Any story about family and tragic circumstances can be tough to read, but throw in a helpless baby born with exposure to drugs and there's no way I'm walking away from this story! Before I Let You Go is an intense, thought-provoking story that will expand our knowledge of everyday issues surrounding pregnant women struggling with addiction. This is a story I think readers will appreciate adding to their 'keep' shelves! *ARC provided in consideration for review*
Before I let you go is an incredible story about love and sacrifice, and the inevitable, agonizing heartache that comes, when a person, you love, is addicted to drugs. Lexie has been taking care of her sister, Annie, ever since their mother mentally checked-out. When their mother started to participate in life again, she joined a religious cult and, unfortunately, her daughters went with her. Lexie escaped the community, at the age of sixteen, but couldn’t take her sister with her. In the cult’s religious community, girls were not allowed to stay in school after the age of fifteen. At sixteen-years-old, they began to learn the duties for being a proper housewife. They were also given a job in the community. Women soon discovered that their thoughts and opinions were best left unsaid. In the home, they had no voice at all, their husband ruled them, along with any children they had. Lexie and Annie learned after experiencing their stepfather’s painful punishments that their mother would not come to their aid. Annie, because of her rebellious nature, suffered the most. Unfortunately, by the time Annie escaped, she was emotionally broken. At the age of eighteen, Lexie took on the full responsibility for her sister, Annie. She became Annie’s sole provider and guardian. Lexie did her best, for her sister, but Annie was difficult. She rebelled against anyone who tried to tell her what to do. Unfortunately, Annie ended up succumbing to the ultimate oppressor and crutch, heroin. Before I Let You Go is a must read. This thought-provoking book illuminates for the reader an accurate description of the addict’s cycle of pain and remorse, and the enablers bottomless pit of agonizing grief and guilt. Drug addiction touches practically every family in some way, directly or indirectly. And, Kelly Rimmer’s written account of what a tortured addict experiences, as well as the guilt-ridden family members, is spot on. I loved every page of this superbly written, poignant novel. Every sentence moved the story forward in this book. There are no wasted words, no boring pages, and no fluff. Before I Let You Go is a quality read. This is the first book that I have read by this talented author, but it won’t be my last. Thank you, Harlequin- Graydon House Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I absolutely loved it!