In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true...wasn’t?
Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.
In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name—Diana—and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew, to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.
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Not what I expected and I am so glad for that
When I choose to listen to The Girl Before, I only read a portion of the synopsis, see below. I though this was going to be a mystery/thriller in the spy or espionage sub genres. Let me tell you that is not what I got. To be honest I am very happy that I did not get what I was expecting.
"Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing."
If you actually read the synopsis you will get a pretty good idea of what this story is about. It is really difficult to tell you much about it without giving stuff away. Let me put it this way. If you enjoy psychological thrillers you will be in love with The Girl Before. Starting out slowly and steadily gaining momentum, while each chapter reveals just a little bit more, util the cat is out of the bag. Olsen was able to create very believable characters, heartfelt and gut wrenching scenes and interactions. The transformation that Clara makes is quite inspirational.
Here is something that does not happen to me often. I was effected by this story. This story reached down into my inner self and pulled at my heart. Because of the masterfulness of Olsen's words paired with Pressley's voice I, an almost 40 year old macho man, was brought to tears, more than once. Not just a single sexy tear running down the side of my face either. This was, embarrassingly enough, full on sobbing. From both sadness and joy. I could not stop listening and I am pretty sure you won't either.
Brittany Pressley's performance was quite literally breathtaking, as I found myself holding my breath waiting for her to finish the scene. Characterizations for the male characters was good enough for me, they were different and convincing enough. I am not one that insists that a narrator present a truly believable voice from opposite sex. The range of emotions that she is able to portray was mind bogglingly staggering. Going from the lovey–dovey quickly morphing into extreme fear and agony and everything in between. This was an excellent match of author, story and narrator. One that creates magic.
Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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