Friday 17 January 2014

Book Review: Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse.

Product details:
Publisher: Bloomsbury.
Hardcover, 256 pages.
Release date: January 16th 2014.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: Adult
Source: Received from publisher for review.

A whirlwind romance. A picture-perfect marriage. Hannah Reilly has seized her chance at happiness. Until the day her husband fails to come home...

The more questions Hannah asks, the fewer answers she finds. But are the secrets that Mark has been keeping designed to protect him or protect her? And can you ever really know what happened before you met

Meet Hannah, a thirty-something New York City dwelling career girl and complete commitment-phobe. At least that was the old Hannah, the Hannah before she met Mark Reilly. Nowadays Hannah lives in a beautiful London townhouse where her days consist of jogging and job-hunting. But Hannah is happy. She’s married to Mark. Yes, their relationship and subsequent marriage may have been a complete whirlwind, and she may have had to give up her job and relocate because of it, but Hannah is certain she made the right choice.

She’s certain that Mark is the man she’ll spend the rest of her life with. Hannah is certain that Mark is the only man for her.  But how well does Hannah really know Mark?

When we pick up the story, Hannah is on her way to Heathrow to surprise Mark who has been away on one of his many business trips to New York. As successful as he is dashing and charismatic, Mark is the director of his own company.  Hannah reaches the airport, and waits and waits, but there is no sign of Mark. He’s not on his scheduled flight, and, though Hannah waits for hours, Mark doesn’t show. Furthermore, he’s not answering his phone. Refusing to panic, pragmatic Hannah returns home. But when Mark still hasn’t returned the next morning, Hannah decides to take action. Mark’s PA –the woman who practically runs his life- has no knowledge of a business trip to New York. In fact, she thinks that Mark and Hannah are enjoying a romantic weekend in Rome. When Mark does eventually call, he offers personally reasonable explanations for his absence and non-contact. But Hannah knows in her heart that something is not quite right. And though she’s reluctant to jump to conclusions, ever-conscious of how her own paranoid mother drove away her husband with constant slights and accusations, it’s pretty clear to Hannah that Mark is lying. All signs point to an affair.  Has Mark taken someone else, his mistress, off to Rome for the weekend?  Hannah is not quite sure what’s going on. But she knows one thing: she no longer trusts Mark.  And she’s determined to find out the truth.

Billed as a psychological thriller in the vein of, you guessed it, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse is a story of lies, ambition and past secrets buried deep. The comparisons with Gone Girl are inevitable, I guess, since this is a story of secrets within a marriage and, just like Flynn’s bestseller, it poses the question of how well anyone really knows the person they marry. Because everybody has their secrets, right? Hannah has hers; Mark certainly has his, and the race to find out what exactly he’s playing at makes Before We Met a gripping page-turner. I love books of this type, but I think the Gone Girl comparisons are overdone. Sure –comparing a book to a multi-million bestseller will up its exposure and sales, but it also raises expectations. Here, I needed more shocks. Before We Met is a really good read, but the twists were overall a little too predictable, and the ending just a little too neat for my liking.

That said, Before We Met is one of the better psychological thrillers I’ve read lately, and this one has certainly compelled me to check out more of Whitehouse’s books. Her previous novel The Bed I Made is on my list, as is her debut, the eerily-titled The House at Midnight. In Whitehouse, I think I’ve found one of those authors who can make me pick up a book and not put it down until I’m done and have devoured every little twist and turn. And that can only be a good thing.


  1. Ooh, this sounds like an interesting read. Great review. I'm adding it to my TBR.

  2. Sounds interesting, will pick it up :)



  3. ChristinaBookAddict17 January 2014 at 16:29

    I've been getting into a lot of psychological thrillers lately (Killing Woods and How To Be a Good Wife), so I will have to add this to my list, especially since it's an adult read. (I've been gravitating towards more adult fiction lately.) I still haven't read Gone Girl. I know, I know. I really should….hopefully before the movie comes out! Great review and thanks for putting this book on my radar!

  4. I've been reading more adult fiction lately too. This is a good read! I loved Gone Girl - you need to read that one soon. I have How to be a Good Wife on my list. I've heard good things about that one. :)

  5. Jess Hearts Books18 January 2014 at 18:46

    Oooh I really like the sound of this one! We have very similar tastes in physcological thrillers so I'm glad to see a postive review from you Leanna! :)

  6. I LOVE psychological thrillers and haven't heard much about this one, but I'm definitely adding this to the TBR now it sounds amazing! Thanks for the awesome review :)

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  7. I'm glad my reviews make you want to give the series a second chance, Ruby! It really is amazing.

    I think what's so great about the Legend trilogy is that Marie Lu succeeds where so many other authors have failed, She makes each book better than the last, avoids second book slump syndrome AND delivers a fantastic and thrilling conclusion to the series, Here's hoping the series makes it onto your favourites' shelf, too :)

    Thanks for commenting, Ruby!

  8. This sounds really interesting!

  9. I wouldn't have picked up BEFORE WE MET based on reading its summary. But your review makes it sound like a good read for YA readers who are looking for something adult and thrilling from time to time. I wanted to try something new in 2014 and I think I'll put this one of my list, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  10. I think you'd like this one, Jess. It's a great page turner!

  11. Hope you enjoy it, Jeann. I love psychological thrillers too. If you have any recommendations for me, I'd love to hear them! :)

  12. Can't wait to see what you think if you read it! :)

  13. Sounds interesting, I love books with secrets and intrigue. And yes stop with comparing books to bestsellers, it doesn't do the book any favours. It makes me expect a watered down version.

  14. thanks nice sharing. Free Books

  15. disqus_sY2fJcFwFL27 August 2015 at 13:47

    Your reviews have given me an incentive to continue with this series! I read Legend around this time last year and enjoyed it (gave it four out of five stars)… I just can't remember why I never continued! Prodigy has had such rave reviews and everyone has praised the ending of Champion so highly.

    "Champion is a magnificent conclusion to an electrifying and intense trilogy. It really did not disappoint."

    Endings of trilogies can often be shaky, so the fact you've said it didn't disappoint is enough motivation for me to hunt down Prodigy… and probably Champion afterwards!

    – Ruby @

  16. I know!! I'm just about to start reading another book that's been constantly compared to Gone Girl - The Silent Wife - Actually they say this is Even Better Than Gone Girl! We'll see. Have you read that one?

    Before We Met is a good read. (Gone Girl is better IMO!)

  17. Don't just put it on your TBR list, Christina - put it at the TOP of your TBR list! It's such an amazing read. Second books are always the hardest, for the writer and the reader, but I was in awe of Marie Lu after finishing Prodigy! I'm glad you enjoyed the reviews - and do let us know what you think of the series if and when you read it!:)


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