cover image Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go

Kennedy Ryan. Forever, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-5387-0679-4

Ryan (Reel) brings both tears and laughter in a powerhouse second-chance romance that shines a sensitive light on mental health issues. Following a stillbirth, Yasmen Wade spirals into a depression that drives a wedge between her and her preteen daughter, Deja, and ends her marriage to her first love, Josiah. Two years later, Josiah is still heartbroken over the divorce he never wanted, though he wrote his own fate by refusing Yasmen’s suggestion of couple’s therapy. It’s hard to move on when they live two minutes from each other, co-parent their two children, and remain partners in their soul fusion restaurant. When their son Kassim’s fifth grade teacher suggests that Kassim should see a therapist, Josiah surprises Yasmen by agreeing—and he even starts seeing one himself to support his son. As healing continues, the couple’s fire is reignited. Giving into passion would risk their fragile equilibrium, so they agree to get their lust out of their systems with one steamy night—but one night becomes many as each discovers new love, respect, and appreciation for the other. The struggles here are real and wrenching, and Ryan’s talent is such that, by the end, the characters feel like old, dear friends. This tender contemporary is a knockout. Agent: Kim Lionetti, Bookends Literary. (Nov.)