RATING: 4 STARS
2018; Mira/HarperCollins Canada
(Review Not on Blog)
I discovered Brenda Novak back with her Last Stand series (about a decade ago) and have been reading her off and on since. She has written contemporary romance, historical romance and romantic suspense. I have enjoyed her contemporary series, Whiskey Creek, and most of her romantic suspense the best so far. I have not kept up with series (all across the board) as I should as shiny new books are always beckoning me. I was so happy to see that Novak had a new standalone romantic suspense novel. This novel is in between a contemporary romance and a romantic suspense. While Sloane has come back to discover what really happened to her mother (her mother vanished when she was five), there is also the romance angle with her childhood sweetheart. Sloane has always wondered if her father killed her mother and this tension with her father and brother drove her out of town after high school. When Sloane left, she left her boyfriend, Micah behind and they have not seen each other since. He went on to marry and have a child with her best friend. Like a good soap prime time television show, I was hooked to the audiobook. I enjoyed the pacing and it was a great book to listen to on my commute.
***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***
This is the first time a Brenda Novak book has been on my TBR list because I assumed she wrote mostly romance novels, which is not one of my favorite genres. However, Before We Were Strangers has been a most pleasant surprise: it is a contemporary mystery thriller that captures the reader's attention from the first page. Sloane McBride, at age 5, overheard her parents having a violent argument. The next morning, her mother had disappeared, never to be seen again. This abandonment stayed with the child into adulthood. She left her hometown in Texas as soon as she was 18, leaving behind her best friend and her boyfriend Micah. She returned 10 years later because she was convinced that her rich and powerful father was responsible for whatever happened to her mother. With Micah's help, they proceed to dig up the past in order to solve her mother's probable murder, in spite of her father's and brother's obstruction of their investigation. This is a whodunit that will stay with the reader, long after the last page. I look forward to more novels by Brenda Novak.
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