Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak


Before We Were Strangers
Title : Before We Were Strangers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0778369943
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400

Something happened to her mother that night Something no one wants to talk about But she s determined to uncover her family s dark secrets, even if they bury her.Five year old Sloane McBride couldn t sleep that night Her parents were arguing again, their harsh words heating the cool autumn air And then there was that other sound the ominous thump before all went quiet.In the morning, her mother was gone.The official story was that she left Her loving, devoted mother That hadn t sat any better at the time than it did when Sloane moved out at eighteen, anxious to leave her small Texas hometown in search of anywhere else But not even a fresh start working as a model in New York could keep the nightmares at bay Or her fears that the domineering father she grew up with wasn t just difficult he was deadly.Now another traumatic loss forces Sloane to realize she owes it to her mother to find out the truth, even if it means returning to a small town full of secrets and lies, a jilted ex boyfriend and a father and brother who d rather see her silenced But as Sloane starts digging into the past, the question isn t whether she can uncover what really happened that nightit s what will remain of her family if she does


Before We Were Strangers Reviews


  • Carrie

    I have become a fan of Brenda Novak from reading several of her thrilling titles but with over fifty books in publication she has anything from the lighter contemporary romance to darker thrillers Before We Were Strangers is along the lines of a romantic suspense novel but with enough mystery to keep readers turning the pages and guessing along.In this story Sloane McBride had left home at eighteen and had not looked back for the last ten years Sloane had her reasons for escaping her I have become a fan of Brenda Novak from reading several of her thrilling titles but with over fifty books in publication she has anything from the lighter contemporary romance to darker thrillers Before We Were Strangers is along the lines of a romantic suspense novel but with enough mystery to keep readers turning the pages and guessing along.In this story Sloane McBride had left home at eighteen and had not looked back for the last ten years Sloane had her reasons for escaping her small town but they weren t the normal dreaming of something bigger or searching for , Sloane had wanted to escape her father who she suspected may have had something to do with her mother s disappearance when she was five.However, Sloane had not only left behind her father and brother but also her high school boyfriend and her best friend As much as Sloane loved them both she couldn t stay near her father for another day which made leaving tough but returning will be even tougher since the two had turned to each other after Sloane s absence Having married, had a child and divorced in the last ten years Sloane isn t sure how either will handle her return as she looks for clues from the past.Before We Were Strangers was another Brenda Novak novel that didn t take long at all to become completely engrossed in Sloane s memories of that night when she was five and her mother vanished have had her in fear that her father is a murderer In the years that have passed her father has also gained power in the small town making getting at the truth that much tough for Sloane but with a bit of help and determination the secrets slowly rise to the top.I will admit to being a little leery of the whole love triangle angle of the story since I m usually not a fan of dating a friend or family members ex, again with those boundaries, however this is the creepiest, most disturbing dynamic that made the book even compelling There s actually no cheating involved but instead this set up is even mind games to add to the suspenseful side of the story A great read from beginning to end that I d definitely recommend checking out.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For reviews please visit

  • Erin

    Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for an e ARC in exchange for an honest review Expected publication December 2018 Although I finished this book on the weekend, I needed to give myself some time to reflect before I reviewed Before We Were Strangers attracted me for it s gorgeous cover sure But importantly because I like the whole storyline of prodigal daughter or son returning and trying to bring the dark family secrets out into the open Sloane McBride, this novel s protagonist squ Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for an e ARC in exchange for an honest review Expected publication December 2018 Although I finished this book on the weekend, I needed to give myself some time to reflect before I reviewed Before We Were Strangers attracted me for it s gorgeous cover sure But importantly because I like the whole storyline of prodigal daughter or son returning and trying to bring the dark family secrets out into the open Sloane McBride, this novel s protagonist squares off with her father, now her hometown s mayor and her older brother over the disappearance of her beloved mother when she was only 5 Brenda Novak does a brilliant job at making Daddy McBride a total douchebag and I really despised himFrom the very beginning , Sloane s father does every thing to make his daughter want to leave He s also so horrible to many characters in the book The snake in the Garden of Eden had values than this guy The parts in the novel that focus on the mystery are definitely a slow burn which pretty much escalates in the last number of chapters But since Sloane doesn t have a lot of friends, her one outlet is the handsome high school boyfriend she left behind Like many romance novels, Sloane was a hard act to follow because even though hottie married Sloane s childhood best friend and had a child with her Sloane was always at the forefront of his mind Much of the novel is consumed with this love triangle And that s where this book falls into 3.0 territory for me Because I am a you gotta own up to the decisions you make in life, don t go pointing fingers at others That s where high school boyfriend falls into a very Nicholas Sparks type, Sloane who s facing some really intense shit I mean she really feels her Dad killed her mother But nope best friend and high school hottie got to talk about how Sloane was the third person in their marriage and the reason they ended up divorced All I have to say is that is some messed up shit You were all 18 years old and now you re parents of an eight year old Grow the f up I shall credit the author with invoking such a strong reaction from me, but this just wasn t my cup of joy

  • Owl._.

    Another great book by Brenda Novak Once I started, I couldn t put it down I was so completely invested in the characters and their story I had to know how the story ended.

  • Deborah Blanchard

    Brenda Novak really knows how to weave a great story What would you do if you thought your Father had murdered your Mom Sloane won t stop until she finds out the truth of what happened on that night twenty three years ago This book is full of twists and kept me turning the pages well into the night It is full of mystery and suspense, but also a touch of romance Full of richly detailed characters that are true to life This book will definitely keep your interest throughout Just when you th Brenda Novak really knows how to weave a great story What would you do if you thought your Father had murdered your Mom Sloane won t stop until she finds out the truth of what happened on that night twenty three years ago This book is full of twists and kept me turning the pages well into the night It is full of mystery and suspense, but also a touch of romance Full of richly detailed characters that are true to life This book will definitely keep your interest throughout Just when you think you have it all figured out, bam, a new revelation emerges Incredible writing with believable dialogue I loved this book I highly recommend this one

  • Lisa Aiello

    The storyline and characters just fell flat for me It was almost 300 pages into the book before anything really came to the boiling point with the storyline, and then things moved so quickly to the ending and the wrap up final twist The premise was a good one, but something made me not connect.

  • Janel

    Having read the Evelyn Talbot chronicles, I knew Novak could write a captivating series having now read Before We Were Strangers, it s clear Novak can write a captivating standalone novel too I read this book over the course of a day, it was so suspenseful, there was no way I could put it down part way through Let s look firstly at the mystery in this novel Sloane returns to her home town to find out what really happened to her mother Sloane was only five when her mother left, she had a dif Having read the Evelyn Talbot chronicles, I knew Novak could write a captivating series having now read Before We Were Strangers, it s clear Novak can write a captivating standalone novel too I read this book over the course of a day, it was so suspenseful, there was no way I could put it down part way through Let s look firstly at the mystery in this novel Sloane returns to her home town to find out what really happened to her mother Sloane was only five when her mother left, she had a difficult childhood growing up with her father, as the blurb states, she fears her father wasn t just difficult, but deadly Let s focus on that on that word, deadly, did her father kill her mother That s one hell of a mystery to solve, made all the difficult by the strained relationship she has with her father and brother.This mystery will have you back and forthing on Sloane s father s guilt, one minute, you re sure he s a murderer, the next minute you re supporting his innocence, but what never goes away is your dislike for him what a horrid man He was a great character, as was Sloane s brother, Randy, these two really gave you a focus for your dislike As much as you disliked them was as much as you liked Sloane, she s the kind of character who is instantly likeable, she may make a few unwise decisions, inadvertently putting herself in danger, but you root for her the whole time, and hope she can find her closure.This plot oozes tension, especially as it s set in a small town, so not only does everyone know everyone, but rumours spread like wildfire If you love the claustrophobia novels set in small towns bring, the dark, tense atmosphere, then you absolutely need to read this novel.Also, if you enjoy romantic suspense thrillers, you absolutely need to read this novel There is a strong romance element to this novel when I think romance books, I shy away from them, but when Novak writes romance in her plots, I find them addictive and thrilling there s always a threat hanging over the romance and that danger element makes it exciting If the plot s dark, the romance isn t fluffy, they re so cute romance, it s like ride or die romance, as in I m coming with you because you could die if you go alone The point I m making, don t let the word romantic scare you off Crime fiction, psychological thriller, women s fiction, whatever your preference, I still recommend this book Anyway, Sloane is super likeable, you go girl, go get your man, just don t die before you get your happily ever after The plot is twisted, you ll meet some twisted characters, rife with suspense and tension, you ll be gripped until the very last page The complex conflicts and the heightened emotions will ensure you stay hooked, family ties and friendships are pushed to breaking point In this small town, Sloane must fight through the betrayal and lies to find the truth about what happened to her mother My thanks to DaVaughn Smith Author Brenda Novak Representative for providing me with a digital copy of this novel

  • Donna Hines

    When you want out of a lonely unfulfilled marriage you will do just about anything to get it even if you must be on the outside looking in.Absolute splendor Thrilling Mysterious Dark With suspense around every corner.I couldn t put this one down because it demands your attention from start to finish.Before We Were Strangers begins with a young daughter s recollections of family violence involving an awful fight between her parents.She recalls a loud noise and never seeing her mother ev When you want out of a lonely unfulfilled marriage you will do just about anything to get it even if you must be on the outside looking in.Absolute splendor Thrilling Mysterious Dark With suspense around every corner.I couldn t put this one down because it demands your attention from start to finish.Before We Were Strangers begins with a young daughter s recollections of family violence involving an awful fight between her parents.She recalls a loud noise and never seeing her mother ever againWhere on earth is she Could she truly have walked away leaving it all behind Would she have the gall to build a new life under an alias with a lover Is she sitting back sipping on tequila somewhere It s been too long to not have answers for this cold case and it s high time we get something to settle it all once and for all as the town is getting restless and the gossip mill is running rampant.As a child this was unbearable to process for Sloane but as an adult she couldn t wait to start a new life as a NY model and so she tries to better herself but never once did she forget.Fast forward many years later and it seems everyone has something to hide and something even disturbing to tell.Secrets are not simply hidden but with enough careful searching Deadly Daddy may finally be served the justice he deserves.Or does he Plot twists galore so hold the heck on as there s many slippery slopes in this one.As a scapegoat, blacksheep, and survivor of abuse in several forms I can tell you this resonated with me deeply.The lake was a place once reserved for peace, tranquility, but murder Well it truly depends on who you speak with and further who you believe.Ed the father holds a prominent position as mayor of Millcreek so whose to say they re not out for revenge as a political witch hunt ensues At least for Randy the son and brother of Sloane he refuses to acknowledge that his father is a psychopath sociopath and is capable of such a terrible crime.So many lies, so much betrayal, so many angles to digest.Good grief, Ed was never a loving honorable family man but a cold blooded killer Sure he had his faults as a womanizer serial cheater but nobody s perfect..Right Sloane seems to rekindle a past flame with Micah her best friend s former husband and of course Paige the ex wife of Micah finds her own lil romp in the hay with someone you d never likely guess.Lord, my head is spinning, ok hold upDid I mention affairs. Well let s just say plenty of bed scenes but be careful because you never know whose watching, darn sickos.Ok, well blackmail aside what if revenge was an answer. what if the jilted lover is too jilted Never do anything you might regret and that includes picking those bed partnersI digress, when we pick up the pieces you ll be happy to know that, speaking from the grave can truly happen and thank god because slick rick thought he could get away with murder and got his ars handed to him.In the end, Brenda Novak has you questioning every character s , every action, every inaction, and then some.Was it the neighbor, was it the co worker, was it the family friend, the jilted lover, the ex lovers, who here is responsible Brenda you got this one wrapped up tight and I loved it all Every new twist added a new dynamic and this deserves than I can offer in just 5 stars.Don t walk, but run, out to get this one before it disappears off the shelf.Thank you Brenda, the publishers, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this fab e read copy

  • Faouzia

    3,5 Stars10 years ago, Sloane McBride left her hometown, her family, friends, the boyfriend she was madly in love with and run away from the memories of her mother disappearance and the doubt that never left her about that night She was only 5 years old when her mother disappeared, or as her father always put it, when her mother walked away from all of them Yet, she heard things that do not fit with the official story.Now, after 10 years of running away, Sloane is determined to uncover the tru 3,5 Stars10 years ago, Sloane McBride left her hometown, her family, friends, the boyfriend she was madly in love with and run away from the memories of her mother disappearance and the doubt that never left her about that night She was only 5 years old when her mother disappeared, or as her father always put it, when her mother walked away from all of them Yet, she heard things that do not fit with the official story.Now, after 10 years of running away, Sloane is determined to uncover the truth of what happened to her mother, even if that meant facing a brother and a father who want to silence her, a jilted ex boyfriend who happens to be also the ex husband of her ex bestfriend.Too many complicated relationships, half truths, deceits and lies and it made the whole story interesting Sloane is the kind of character one can t help but sympathize with and get attached to However, it was not exactly an investigation of a cold case, of one final attempt of an abandoned daughter to finally find the answers she needed The truth turned out to be complicated than i expected and i enjoyed being surprised by the ending, part of it was easily guessed but another part was surprising overall, it was an enjoyable read.Thank you NetGalley, the Author and Publisher for this free copy in exchange of an honest review

  • Margaret

    This is a gripping suspense thriller from Brenda Novak about a young woman who returns to her hometown after 10 years away to figure out what happened to her mother who disappeared when she was only five years old She suspects her egotistical father has something to do with it The plot has a lot of twists and turns and really kept me reading Great characters with all the flaws and frailties to make this story so believable.

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    Well hello there Brenda Novak My first book by her and I was a little hesitant because of the romance part. while I do like my rom coms, I tend to not like romance mixed in with my thrillers but Novak has decidedly changed my mind on this with Before We Were Strangers While the romance is a bit heavy, the plot is as twisted as the characters and this book is a breeze to read I absolutely admire Sloane s tenacity and as I m rooting for her throughout this entire read, I was also like, Oh no Well hello there Brenda Novak My first book by her and I was a little hesitant because of the romance part. while I do like my rom coms, I tend to not like romance mixed in with my thrillers but Novak has decidedly changed my mind on this with Before We Were Strangers While the romance is a bit heavy, the plot is as twisted as the characters and this book is a breeze to read I absolutely admire Sloane s tenacity and as I m rooting for her throughout this entire read, I was also like, Oh no girl, just WHAT are you doing Her character pulled me in right from the very first few pages. and boy oh boy, in my last review I was discussing about how these books steer me clear of the desire to have ever grown up in a small town and this one also just proves my point though if I had Micah waiting for me well, hell There were a couple things that kind of stood out to me I was giggling through one of the sex scenes because WOW I don t think I ve ever seen so much dialogue happen in a sex scene before I didn t mind it, it just seemed a bit odd And then there was just one typo with the reference to the Menendez Brothers being written as Melendez and you bet your sweet ass I googled it to see if there were other killers that I somehow did NOT know about because I used to research the crap out of this topic Also, I m reading an uncorrected proof so I digress.What I especially love about this book is that I was going through all the ups and downs with Sloane and figuring things out WITH her rather than trying to piece mail everything together myself during my read Ya get me And I did let out a bit of a WTF gasp during the last few pages when something was discovered if you ve read the book then you know what I mean If you haven t then, well, GET ON IT.Don t let the romance part deter you from this read and keep an eye out for Novak I just found another author to pile on to my bookshelves.Thanks so much to Harlequin MIRA books and the author for this copy