The Girl Before

The Girl Before

Paperback - 2016
Average Rating:
9
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"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 thelayers 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"--
Publisher: New York :, G.P. Putnam's Sons,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781101982358
Branch Call Number: FIC OLS
Characteristics: 314 pages ; 21 cm

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K_ROK Aug 19, 2017

This book was awesome. It is true that it is a real page turner, right from the first couple of sentences it draws you right in. Don't pass this one up, I was not disappointed.

ehbooklover Jul 24, 2017

4.5 stars. I chose to read this book after both a coworker and a customer raved about it. They were right! It was the very definition of a page-turner. I couldn't stop reading. I especially liked the way the chapters alternated between "Then" and "Now" as it helped me to understand why the protagonist made the decisions that she did. A great read about a very difficult and timely subject.

j
jerksister1
May 24, 2017

I had to finish this book! I found switching from "then" to "now" suspenseful. Very interesting story that I was thinking about for days after I finished reading it.

l
Liselara
Mar 06, 2017

This started out quite interesting but after awhile I started to resent the "now" and "then" sees-saw. The "now" is done is sequence but the "then" is all over the place and I found it hard to follow. I thought this story on human slavery convoluted on many levels but the author does do a good job on showing what brain washing accomplishes.

s
smmeloche
Dec 06, 2016

For all my reviews, please visit Clues and Reviews
https://cluesandreviews.wordpress.com/

Clara Lawson lives on a ranch with her loving husband, Glen and their daughters. One day, their home is raided and, suddenly, Clara’s world is shattered. Glen only has time to tell Clara one thing before he is taken from her. Don’t tell the police anything. Clara wasn’t always Clara. Her husband is a dangerous criminal. The girls are not their daughters. As Clara is pulled through a police investigation she cannot help but wonder what is true. As Clara realizes her entire life has been a lie, she is forced to look at her actions and the actions by those around her. What if everything you knew to be true about your life…wasn’t?

The Girl Before, the debut novel by Rena Olsen, is not your run of the mill suspense thriller. It is slower paced, but completely action packed. This is not a book that you can casually pick up and put down; this plot is so addicting and so consuming that it is unputdownable. This is also not a book that you can casually skim; not a second of this book can be missed. IT IS SO GOOD.

The novel follows Clara Lawson, after being ripped from her home, as she participates in the police investigation into her husband. Told between past and present, the layers of Clara’s past unfold; we see her growing up with her sisters with Mama Mae and Papa G, we see her falling in love with their forbidden son, we see her take over the “family business”. In the present, we see Clara trying to come to terms with what she believes to be true and the reality as her past and present collide.

I loved the narrative style. There are no chapters in this one; instead, the story is told from Then and Now. The Then follows Clara’s backstory at the ranch; how she met Glen, how she got into helping with the girls and the propaganda she was told to cooperate. Be warned, this novel is not told chronologically. This was one of the features that I loved the most about this novel. I loved having to put everything together for myself. The Now follows Clara as she comes to term with what has happened to her.

The development of the Clara character was superb. The novel is told completely in the first person, narrated by Clara. At the beginning of the novel, when she firsts speaks, she is naïve and idyllic, as she speaks of her childhood and growing up with the family. By the middle of the novel, the narration becomes so much darker as she begins to delve into her past and truly understand what happened to her. Olsen truly does a brilliant job at portrayed extremely heavy topics like human trafficking and Stockholm syndrome. The ending character development was breathtaking.

If you like novels with a dark undertone or a fantastic novel of suspense, you will LOVE this one. I highly recommend this read. If you are on the fence on this one, let me be the one to push you over the edge. Read. This. Book.

2
21221013297376
Oct 06, 2016

I started this book and could not stop reading, one of the best books I've read all year.

l
laneyg85
Sep 10, 2016

This book was impossible to put down! What a great psychological thriller, I can see this book being made into a movie in the future.

TSCPL_Stephanie Aug 15, 2016

This book was a little disturbing but really got me thinking. The brainwashing involved in human trafficking is crazy! The more time that goes by after reading this the more I like it. Olsen does a great job of giving us a peek into the events that lead up to the present.

Jul 08, 2016

Read the advanced reader of this book, whoa. Not my typical genre, but the premise sounded interesting. Certainly a different take on human trafficking. Certainly psychological, certainly suspenseful, not so sure about the mystery of it all. But definitely worth the read.

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