Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Nov 15, 2022 by Forever
Review by Melinda
Kennedy Ryan has covered heavy topics in her books before, like domestic violence, racism, and rape. The reason I love her writing is because she writes everything, including those heavy topics, with such depth. Her characters are always nuanced and fully fleshed out, and whatever topic she’s writing on it’s clear she’s done her research. At this point, I trust her to take care with these issues, and that’s a relief to have an author I trust.
Before I Let Go opens with Josiah and Yasmen, a couple who’d divorced 2 years before but were living in the same neighborhood in order to co-parent their two children, Deja and Kassim. It’s clear that the divorce had been rough on the entire family and it seems that everyone is just now recovering. There are hints that this wasn’t just your average divorce, but one that had some deep issues at its core. Beyond co-parenting, the two are also business partners and own a successful restaurant together, so to say they have complicated dynamics is an understatement.
The author does an excellent job of slowly revealing the details of what the family has been through. First Josiah’s Aunt Byrd died, she’s the one who raised him and had been like a second mother to Yasmen. Shortly after that Yasmen lost her baby at almost full term. So the 2 years after the divorce has truly been everyone healing. The devastation of these losses is apparent and one of the things that Kennedy Ryan does so well is peel back these layers slowly throughout the book. We get pieces of each of their incredible hurt from both the pregnancy loss and divorce. The characters process both of these things completely differently and the way the author is able to delve into these emotions is impressive to say the least.
I loved so much but what I loved most is how much the importance of therapy is emphasized throughout. There is such an emphasis on how people deal with things differently, and how therapy can help with that. What I loved about it specifically is that there are discussions about the stigma of men going to therapy, and Black men in particular. Even better is that there are on-the-page therapy scenes and truly this will be my gold star therapy book from here on out.
This is a second chance romance, and watching Yasmen and Josiah go from divorced co-parents to getting their hard-fought for HEA is really a beautiful ride. Kennedy Ryan’s books just keep getting better and better, I can’t wait to see what else she does.
Content Warnings: death off page, pregnancy loss, grief
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