The Girl Before by Rena Olsen

I just finished listening to this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The reader, Brittany Pressley, did an excellent job reading it, and I would often find myself sitting in my garage because I didn’t want to stop the book.  There happen to be two books of this same title that came out within months of each other.  The other one seems to be getting a lot more press, but this one deserves to be getting a lot of attention.  I do plan to read the other one soon.  The book starts off when Clare Lawson is home with her daughter and suddenly her home is invaded by men with guns knocking down her door.  While they are there her husband walks through the door, and he is arrested.  The book chapters alternate between  “then” and  “now” where details are gradually revealed of Clare’s disturbing past and her coming to grip with new details of her past and being forced to assess her part in it.  We find out that Clare has grown up in a foster home .  She was told as a child that her parents gave her away and she has been raised and trained with manners and education by her adoptive family.  Against her adoptive family’s wishes, she falls in love and eventually marries their son. Now she finds herself confined in a “hospital” being questioned by people who call her Diane.  Clare eventually has reason to question everything about her life and who she really is.  This psychological suspense novel is gripping, fast paced, and delves into the seedier side of our society.  It brings up the question of whether Clara is a victim, perpetrator, or both.  Like me, you won’t want to put it down.

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