Before We Met Synopsis:
A whirlwind romance. A perfect marriage.
Hannah Reilly has seized her chance at happiness.
Until the day her husband fails to come home . . .
The more questions Hannah asks, the fewer answers she finds. But are the secrets that Mark has been keeping designed to protect him or protect her?
And can you ever really know what happened before you met?
A ‘marriage thriller’ is not normally my cup of tea. Why? I often feel like we’ve heard it all before… the wife second guessing herself, obsessing over whether or not her husband is cheating on her. I am rarely surprised and I rarely connect with the characters. But I decided to give Lucie Whitehouse’s latest novel Before We Met a go (thanks to the stunning cover art and many positive reviews), and I’m glad I did.
I found Hannah genuinely likeable and her narrative easy to connect with. She is fiercely independent, disciplined and determined to make her own way in the world. Yes, she second guesses herself – who doesn’t – but I felt when she did so it seemed credible and more like self-analysis. She doesn’t just sit there wallowing in self-pity, she is proactive and investigates her suspicions. This lady has guts. It probably didn’t hurt that she is roughly in my age bracket too – meaning she had life experience to draw upon, beneficially or otherwise.
This is the first of Lucie Whitehouse’s novels that I’ve read. She’s a very capable writer, her prose strong and taut. When she did add literary flair, I thought it was tastefully done and atmospheric.
The Holiday Inn loomed up on the left, an ugly concrete tooth in silhouette against the sky, the light from its green neon sign leaching into the wet air.
Quicker than I imagined possible, Whitehouse generates a weightiness and deep sense of foreboding.
The M4 back into London had gone quiet, too, and the street lamps cast isolated pools of light on the carriageway ahead of her. On the raised section of road above Brentford she looked into offices vacated until Monday, seeing the ghostly shapes of desks and chairs and computers, and she had the sudden alarming idea that she was looking at a vision of her own career – distant, fading and locked away behind glass through which she could see it but no longer reach.
I will avoid mentioning much of the plot, but suffice to say that woven into Before We Met are more layers of intrigue and sources of tension than I had expected from the publisher blurb and this kept me rapidly turning the pages. Unfortunately the final twist became apparent to me a few chapters before I suspect it was intended. Notwithstanding that, the denouement was sufficiently well executed to sustain my interest.
While by no means perfect, this title has made me reconsider my avoidance of ‘marriage thrillers’. In Before We Met Lucie Whitehouse has penned a page turner that engages both the heart and the mind.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
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Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama, Romance
Author Information: Lucie Whitehouse was born in Warwickshire in 1975, read Classics at Oxford University and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is author of The House at Midnight and the TV Book Club pick The Bed I Made.
* My receiving a paperback copy of this title from Bloomsbury for review purposes in no way hindered the expression of my honest opinions in the above.