REVIEW: BEFORE WE MET, BY LUCIE WHITEHOUSE

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Hannah has always wanted to choose a different path than her mother did. She has seen her mother’s bitterness and wanted nothing to do with this kind of life. Growing up outside of London, in Malvern, she wants to get as far away as she can, so she goes to Manhattan.

Shying away from commitment, as she pursues her advertising career in New York, she is totally unprepared for Mark Reilly, the handsome, charming Brit who makes her feel at home again. A whirlwind romance, followed by marriage and a lovely life in London in a gorgeous townhouse, she feels adored and forgets about her reservations. She is happy to be back “home” in London, even though she still wants nothing to do with her childhood home in Malvern, or her mother. Her brother Tom, however, is a confidante, who begins to help her sort through everything when her life suddenly spirals out of control.

It happened one night when Mark did not return from his business trip. After Hannah has waited for days, he finally calls, says his phone was lost and he will be delayed.

Suspicion sets in, as there are holes in Mark’s story. When he finally returns, he sets her mind at ease, telling her just enough to make her feel she can trust him again.

But over the next few weeks, more and more bits and pieces of Mark’s stories do not add up. Why has he told her nothing about his brother Nick? Who is Hermione, and what does she have to do with Mark, or with Nick? And what about his parents, who presumably died ten years ago? How can Hannah believe anything at all when so much of what he tells her does not fit together with the facts she comes to learn? And why has her substantial savings account been cleared out?

Before We Met: A Novel is the kind of story that makes the reader constantly question the reliability of the characters. Who is telling the truth, and why does nothing make sense?

It was easy to feel satisfied with the stories Mark told, until too many holes appeared. But I was completely stunned by the final reveal. Definitely a page turner for those who enjoy suspense and psychological thrillers. 5 stars.

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