The Girl Before

4/5 Stars

The Girl Before

By Rena Olsen

Published By; G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Published on August 9th 2016

What would you do if suddenly your home was invaded by strange men who rip your daughters from your arms and restrain you as they drag your husband away? The last words you hear from him command you not to say a word to these strangers. Locked in a secluded room, they bring you food three times a day but you refuse to eat and you decline to speak. The strangers tell you that everything you think you know is a lie. Your entire life is not what it had seemed.

This is precisely the situation that Clara finds herself in. The strangers call her by a different name and tell her that her husband is being charged with horrendous crimes. “The Girl Before” alternates between the past and present that Clara has found herself in. The more she digs into her past, the more she starts to question everything she knows.

I questioned whether this book was for me. The alternating chapters were a bit awkward to read at first and I found myself having trouble keeping up. That all went away about twenty pages in and I couldn’t put the book down. While not everything was a complete mystery in this story, I was still pleased with the overall outcome. It’s very clear right off the bat what the truth is. Caught off guard towards the end, I teared up a bit. Although I don’t have any experience with the underlying story here (no spoilers), the account of Clara’s life was extremely believable. “The Girl Before” is a powerful story of how one girl’s experiences with adoptive parents and forbidden love lead her to a life that is far from normal.

I won this book in a goodreads contest from the author. This has not kept me from giving my complete and honest opinion in this review.

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