Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan Book Review
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Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve—or save—everything.
It couldn’t save their marriage. Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.
Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another . . . and then more. It’s hot. It’s illicit. It’s all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better the second time around?
Kennedy Ryan is well known for her books having some intense topics involved. She does have a content warning at the beginning of the book. I have included those topics plus some other sensitive content I observed while reading:
- Discussion of complicated grief
- Loss of a loved one (past, off page)
- Passive suicidal ideation (no attempt)
- Sexually explicit scenes
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There are possible **SPOILERS** beyond this point!
Yasmen and Josiah Wade have built a life from rags to riches together. Their love was beautiful until it wasn’t. This is a second-chance romance about two people who have experienced terrible losses that, ultimately, tear them apart. We see both of their journeys coping with grief and rebuilding their lives. They couldn’t be more different in the way that they pursue these two goals. Can they come together again?
The actual therapy sessions of this book are not an aside—they are the very best part! Kennedy Ryan writes about their sessions with such finesse! Her writing made these uncomfortable topics feel approachable. I was all in Yasmen and Josiah’s business, ok?! I wanted them to bare their truths to me and Ryan made sure they did. I knew I could trust this author to show what happens when the superwoman falters and struggles. How do these pillars of strength recover? Do you want to talk about being seen? Do you want to talk about being heard? TUH. I’m raising my hand. I will easily say this book gets five stars from me just on the principle of authenticity! I was just bawling, y’all. Crying hard and ugly for Yasmen at times! I could relate to Yasmen in so many ways and this book felt like the biggest, warmest hug.
From Yasmen’s POV, I love Josiah. I acknowledge Josiah’s struggles with mental health and enjoyed seeing him process all that he went through. I appreciated how his love for his children motivated him to work on himself. He put in the work! Even if reluctantly! From his own perspective though, he did become unlikable to me. It’s a personal preference for sure, but I love Yas and Si together! Their happiness feels so genuine and I would smile at their antics when they were on good terms. Otis, their dog, and Si’s relationship were so cute too!
This book reads more like fiction than romance. It had elements of romance as Josiah and Yasmen did find their way back to each other, however, this is more about their lives than their love. It’s kinda love-triangle adjacent but I was living for the drama! Very entertaining from beginning to end!
Yasmen had two friends that were absolutely the best friends a girl could ask for! They were her support even when Yas couldn’t voice what she needed for their friendship. They stood beside her to console or lift her spirits. Hendrix and Soledad’s friendship was the cherry on top! I wanna be in this friend group!
The food imagery was absolutely mouth-watering! Their restaurant made me feel like I need to take a road trip to Atlanta to sample Grits incredible menu! I’m sad it’s not a real place! I’m gonna have to try some of the recipes included instead!
Both Josiah and Yasmen do incredible work in this book. I was extremely satisfied with the ending! I did not want it to end though! I recommend this book to anyone who asks me for a book recommendation!
Hey… it’s open door. It’s pretty steamy but also contained to like the final 3rd of the book.
Setting / World / Universe
This book takes place in Skyland (Atlanta, Georgia). It’s a cute neighborhood and I want to go and see it! lol There are lots of independently owned businesses and a huge sense of community. Not quite big city vibes but not quite small town either. Somewhere in the middle of those two!
Genre & Tropes
- Second Chance Romance
- One Bed/ Close Proximity Romance
- He Falls First
- Working with the Ex/ Coworkers
- Emotional Scars
“Right now, ma’am, I need you to find your happy place, go there, and bring a bad bitch back.”
“Why did you marry her?”
Because she was the best thing that ever happened to me.
“I wonder if that’s true of everything and the truth hides somewhere between what we each remember? Reshaping our memories to be what we thought they should.”
“This body gave me my children… it will always be beautiful to me.”
“I’ve fallen in love with the warrior woman who walked through fire, the one who came through stronger, reshaped by sorrow, reformed by grief, reborn in joy.”
Check out Before I Let Go on Amazon here.