Before We Met (Review)

Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Before We Met
Lucie Whitehouse, 2014
288 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February 2014

In the vein of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep, Whitehouse's book dissects a seemingly happy marriage with dire results. In fact, the question these three books pose is whether we can truly know another being—even one we wake up to each morning.

When husband Mark misses his plane back to London and doesn't phone in, Hannah begins to worry. Her concern is heightened when Mark's assistant, and his business partner, both tell her they were under the impression that Mark had taken her, Hannah, to Rome for the weekend. Rome? For the weekend? It's news to Hannah.

So begins Hannah's quest to find some missing links in her husband's past. What she finds disturbs her. To prevent too many spoilers here, let's just say it involves a third person about to be released from prison...who seems to have a vendetta for Mark.

Before We Met is a fun read even though it lurches into thriller-mode violence at the end—an unnecessary plot turn that feels forced, even a little silly. There is also a fair amount of detail, too much perhaps, in Hannah's web searches as she digs through the past. Such detail slows the pace. Yet, ironically, the backstory of Mark's family is the most interesting part of the novel—another author might have used it as the starting point with a different point of view.

Still, if your club is looking for a diversion, Before We Met provides good entertainment—and raises some interesting questions about families and mental illness.

See our Reading Guide for Before We Met.

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