BEFORE I LET GO - Kennedy Ryan
Skyland (Book #1)
Grand Central Publising/Forever
Brenda Larnell (A)
REVIEW: To say that this story is a contemporary romance that utilizes the second chance and close proximity tropes is just skimming the surface of this multi-layered story. BEFORE I LET GO is a dynamic love story that employs the dual POV of the hero, Josiah “Si”, and heroine, Yasmen, “Yas” to give the reader an emotional experience and in-depth study of a family in crisis. Ms. Ryan’s complex, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, and effortless flowing writing style will resonate with you long after you have read the story. It’s a great love story! Josiah and Yasmen Wade were married, with two precocious children, a circle of close friends, and co-owners of a thriving restaurant. Once referred to by friends as “the Couple”, Yas and Si’s marriage ended in divorce due to a traumatic tragedy that resulted in depression, guilt and perceived unforgivable acts.
First, kudos, goes to Ms. Ryan who champions therapy as a journey to healing, and healing is just what our protagonists need. We gain tremendous insight into Yas and Si’s emotional state of being as they come to grips with their failed marriage, and it’s effect on their children, Deja and Kassim. This story of Black love is at times emotional and raw, but it also has moments of joy and humor. While there is gripping tension, there is also sultry steam. The depression and grief that the characters feel is real, and you will feel it, also. Yet, there are break-throughs and light moments that you can count on to make you smile. You will experience every high and low that our couple experiences. It’s an inspirational story that highlights a couple who does not get it right all the time, but with time, and work, and professional help, the efforts that Si and Jazz make to save their family is worth it. The popular second chance romance trope that is utilized to help tell the story becomes tangible and more than just a cliché.
I look forward to another Skyland story. Skyland, Georgia, an Atlanta in-town neighborhood is the setting for BEFORE I LET GO. The side characters, Si and Yas’ friends, are prime candidates for their own stories; even Vashti, who had deep feelings for Si. You’ll get that when you read the story. We are also treated to a few delicious recipes that are highlighted in the story. The Epilogue houses a soul-satisfying HEA where the lyrics of Let’s Stay Together by the Rev. Al Green resound loud and clear.
BEFORE I LET GO is a must-read. It is a beautifully written story that chronicles the lives of a family going through and reassures us that there is hope when love may not be enough. I highly recommend it. You can thank me later.
13th November 2022 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Award of Merit