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Woman Before Me (Cate Austin #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,487 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.
Rose Wilks life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect.
Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away
Paperback, 282 pages
Published July 2012 by Text Publishing (first published 2010)
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Sep 17, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loss is something we all have to deal with in our lives. For Rose Wilks it is a tragic constant in her life. After losing her mother at a young age she then finds herself abandoned by her father and then loses the one person in her life she depended on, her auntie. In her adult years she will endure a loveless marriage only to finally give herself joy in her life when she falls pregnant. This happiness will be torn apart when her son Joel, passes away after just two days of life.

In the present,
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Ruth Dugdall blew me away with her new novel Humber Boy B so I dived into this one with great gusto. She did not let me down. Ruth has a way of writing that cuts to the very heart of human life and tragedy and moves even the most stoic of us readers. She pulls no punches either.

Ruth builds the story block by block, so that you are eager for the next piece of the picture, just when you think you are all complacent she will throw in a new element that challenges where you think the book is going.
Jan 18, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This would not be on my typical reading list. Maybe I need to venture into new areas because this was utterly engrossing. I kept looking for hints and foreshadowing but I never saw the very end coming. Much does not usually get by me in a psychological "thriller." I don't like using the thriller genre here because I know that people including myself often fob off books because they are marked as such. This was a thrilling, "I want to keep reading, never end, but I want to know the end" thrilling ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Tooter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars
Diane S ⛄
Aug 14, 2013 Diane S ⛄ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book won the CWA Debut Dagger Award and I can certainly see why. Rose is such a great, ever changing character, quite astounding, not to say I liked her, but that my feelings for her kept changing throughout the novel. Never quite sure where it was going next. Insidiously creepy, dark and intense. Though I guessed part of the ending, what actually happened blew me away. Would give the movie Fatal Attraction a run for its money. Wonder what this talented author will write next?
Jul 27, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
Sometime ago, a local author who worked in the local justice system, albeit in a different capacity to this author, wrote a debut novel which, at the time, read a lot like a spot of personal therapy. THE WOMAN BEFORE ME has a little of that feeling about it, but more importantly, and not just because it is inspired by a true event, it's a memorable and thought-provoking book into the bargain.

The blurb gives you the basics of the story. A baby has died, and there is only one suspect - a woman who
Angela Savage
Jul 22, 2012 Angela Savage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Most thrillers are the literary equivalent of fast food for me, gratifying, quickly devoured and soon forgotten. The Woman Before Me is far more satisfying, combining the tension of the best thrillers with credible characters who linger long after this heartbreaking story is done.

A book you can't put down, nor stop thinking about.

The Woman Before Me is the story of Rose Wilks who is serving a six year sentence for the manslaughter of four month old baby Luke. Luke's mother, Emma, is the ex-wife
Jan 16, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reissue of a book which was the winner of the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger, as well as winning the 2009 Luke Bitmead Bursary, being shortlisted and longlisted for other awards and appearing on prestigious book lists. With such good credentials, I feel surprised that I had not previously read it, but the joy of new editions is that you can find authors you may have missed and novels you may like. I am pleased to add both this book and Ruth Dugdall to my list of books and autho ...more
C.C. Bowen
Gosh, this book was almost too depressing. The whole thing is just so tragically sad, but it's such a well-written, engaging psychological thriller, and with a protagonist that is so incredibly complicated and fascinating to read about, you won't be able to stop turning the pages to find out what happens next, even if a part of you dreads knowing.

I definitely recommend this one---unless, of course, you only like happy stories, than steer clear of this one. It'll bring you nothing but misery. Yet
Sep 04, 2012 Chili rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The blurb on this book reminded me of Minette Walters' "The Sculptress" and as I really liked it, I decided to buy this German edition of "The Woman before me". Unfortunately Dugdall's work can't be compared with what Walters so masterfully spun. To not eliminate the suspense that is indeed there (I finished the book in one afternoon) I will try to tell not much about the plot itself.

There is a lot of potential in this book, which made it for me only more disappointing and frustrating to read.
Gary Murning
Nov 01, 2010 Gary Murning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Psychological thrillers are not usually my fare, these days. I have found, on the whole, that many have now become too predictable and transparent for my taste.

The Woman Before Me, however, manages to do new things with the genre - so much so that I'd actually be disinclined to call it a psychological thriller, at all. To my mind, it's a finely crafted piece of observation. A precise study of human need - of the lengths we will sometimes go to to be loved, and the steps we will take to punish t
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read this book.

It was an awesome read, combining themes of jealousy, motherhood and obsessional love. At the beginning of the novel, we see Rose accused of murdering the child of a close friend. The rest of the novel explores Rose and her past, and the journey to motherhood.

Rose is hard to like as a character. She is a strange combination of odd, vulnerable and needy. She is fascinating.

I loved the way we got Cate, the probation officer's
Feb 07, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime, psychological and modern fiction lovers
Recommended to Gary by: Claire Jordan
This is the second of Ruth Dugdall's books that I've read. The first, The James Version, was a historical crime novel, whereas The Woman Before Me is a contemporary crime thriller and the first to feature Cate Austin, a probation officer. The author was a probation officer for ten years, so I had high hopes that The Woman Before Me would seem realistic - it did.

The story has two main strands. The first one introduces the character of Cate Austin, who is now the protagonist in a series of novels,
Cleo Bannister
This story isn't a typical psychological thriller. The story unfolds when Luke, Emma's baby dies in a fire started by a cigarette at her home. Rose is arrested for the crime and she admitted she was in the house on the night of the fire.

Rose's story unfolds in a long letter written to her partner whilst in prison and the reader is left in no doubt that her character is damaged. Alongside this we have Cate, her Probation Officer going through the evidence and talking to the parties involved tryin
Mar 14, 2011 Chenice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting read that had me engaged and captivated from first to last page. I couldn't physically put this book down until I had finished (meaning a 2am bed time). The book is filled with relatable themes such as; naivety as a child, affairs, sex as a form of control/power and ultimately how we see things as we are rather than how they actually are.

I'm fortunate enough to meet the author at the end of the month, so if any of you have any questions etc feel free to email them to me and I'll try m
Heather Fineisen
It is quite a feat to take a handful of unlikable characters and morph them into a story that is actually enjoyable. Ruth Dugdall has written a creepy stalker kind of mystery that showcases a woman who is up for parole after being convicted of killing a baby. The descriptions of the prison system will make you cringe as will every character. An early effort from Dugdall, who has written other books that I haven't had the pleasure of reading, her passion is evident.

Provided by the publisher
Sep 02, 2013 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I did not see the ending of this book coming at all. The writing in this book is excellent; I would never have guessed this was the author's first book. The best way I know to put it is this book reads like it has been written by someone who knows what they are doing. The story draws you in immediately, the characters are relatable and have authentic voices and the circumstances are realistic. Really excellent; I will definitely read this author's future work.
Jan 29, 2012 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I was deeply disturbed by the very creepy Rose Wilks and tried to feel sympathy for everything she had gone through and everyone she had loved and lost, but sadly I just couldn't. She is a very odd character indeed and Ruth weaves a very tangled web with this book. Its very disturbing in parts but I found this a cracking read and will be downloading more of Ruth's books.
Lisa Mills
Oct 17, 2015 Lisa Mills rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I kept not wanting to like this book because I didn’t really like any of the characters but it was so interesting I had to keep reading. Rose is accused of starting a fire that kills a baby of her lover’s ex-wife who she seemingly befriends. I never thought she did it but did she?? She just lost her own baby and is grieving. Her lover repeatedly declares he doesn’t love her but stays with her and still sleeps with his ex-wife even though she’s married to someone else. Rose goes to prison and 5 y ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Martina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-a-z
Uh, upravo sam završila ovu knjigu. Bila je ok, a onda kraj totalno neočekivan. Pod dojmom sam još uvijek! Jako dobra knjiga!
Aug 23, 2014 Alecia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this a 3.5/5, as this is a nicely written psychological mystery (they call it a thriller, but I'm not sure about that). Most of the book is narrated by Rose, telling her story from her prison cell, and also from entries in chapters entitled "Black Book Entry", a journal she kept. Rose is in prison for the murder of a baby. The other chapters are about her probation officer, Cate Austin, who is starting her job in the prison Rose is in, and must give her opinion whether Rose should b ...more
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
3 1/2 stars
My View:
This is a haunting story of obsession, birth and murder and the consequences of said behaviours. This is the type of book that once you have read it; it sits with you, teasing your memories, challenging your ethics, ideals and questions “what would you do in this position?”

This is an interesting narrative; before we have even turned the first page we know that 1 baby dies in hospital and one has died in a tragedy, that Rose Wilks has been charged and found guilty of the death
Annmarie Lee
Apr 01, 2013 Annmarie Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A harrowing story of obsession and betrayal. Difficult to read as the story revolves around the death of two babies. The story starts with the death of one baby in a house fire with the main character Rose being the accused but then we learn through Roses' reflective letters to her lover that she has also lost her own child. You're never quite sure if you sympathise with Rosé or look down on her with disdain. Even though she appears to be a victim of her own tragic childhood, there is always a s ...more
Lammi Hearne-Sirman
This is a well-written and engaging psychological thriller which I enjoyed reading. It took me a while to get into the authors style, which swings from present day to memories of the events that lead up to the tragic loss of a baby but once I had I was hooked and it became the page turner I had hoped it would be.

I enjoyed this read and will be looking for more by this author.
Beth Lloyd
Mar 19, 2012 Beth Lloyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, really couldn't put it down. It immediately grabbed my attention and I couldn't wait to learn more about Rose, and Emma too. I wasn't too bothered by Cate- but I think that was because I was too gripped by the story within 'The black book'.
I liked that the chapters were short, Ruth Dugdall didn't drag the story out, she dealt with the plot, making sure my attention was never lost or distracted from Rose's story.
Aspects of the plot, I had guessed in the earlier chapters, but that didn'
Marjorie DeLuca
Aug 07, 2015 Marjorie DeLuca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After a bumpy first couple of chapters, this novel gradually drew me in with its dark, compelling story and its troubled central character whose depressing and tragic early life story shaped her future forever. Rose, the central character, is cleverly developed with the author gradually increasing the intensity of Rose's weirdness until you begin to question your early assumptions about the crime she's supposed to have committed. I also found this an extremely perceptive portrait of a woman who ...more
Cate Austin is a new probation officer at Bishop’s Hill Prison, assigned with the case of Rose Wilks, a woman serving a six year sentence for allegedly causing the death of her friend’s four-months old son in a house fire. After having served four years of her sentence, it is up to Cate to recommend whether she should be eligible for parole. Investigating the background of the events leading up to little Luke’s death, Cate becomes emotionally involved in Rose’s tragic life story. With an unhappy ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Kath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I completely devoured this book, Read it in one sitting start to finish I really didn't want to put it down. Psychological thrillers are my bread and butter read-wise so I know a good one when I see one and this is a brilliant example of the genre albeit leaning mostly towards the psychological element rather than the thriller one. It is also another book that time-hops in the format of a diary or "black book" as the main character calls it and the two timelines weave themselves throughout the b ...more
Jun 13, 2014 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sort of book that you only want to start when you know you will have time to finish it otherwise you will find yourself carrying it around with you and reading it at any spare moment. Rose is in prison for starting a fire which killed her friend’s baby. She was convicted of manslaughter and has served half her sentence so she is eligible for parole if the prison authorities and her probation officer think she poses no danger to anyone. Cate Austin – probation officer based in the pri ...more
Eustacia Tan
Feb 11, 2014 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was creepy. It reminded me of "We Need To Talk About Kevin" - a slow build-up before you find out what actually happened.

The Woman Before Me is about Rose, who to be honest, is an unlikeable protagonist. She was accused of killing baby Joel, her friend Emma's son after her own son died. Now, she's served half of her sentence and they're considering letting her out for parole - this is where Cate, her parole officer, comes in. The book is essentially about Rose trying to get parole, and
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Mar 26, 2015 12:45PM  
  • Witness
  • Cuckoo
  • Nearest Thing to Crazy
  • The Secrets Between Us
  • Tell Me No Secrets
  • Dark Tide
  • Wink Murder
  • This Perfect World
  • Lacey's House
  • A Cry In The Night
  • The Art of Drowning
  • The Spider in the Corner of the Room (The Project, #1)
  • The Cry
  • Red Light (Katie Maguire #3)
  • Why Don't You Come For Me?
  • The Cold Cold Sea
  • This Little Piggy
  • Dying For Christmas
Ruth Dugdall was born in 1971. She holds a BA honours degree in English Literature (Warwick University) and an MA in Social Work (University of East Anglia). She qualified as a probation officer in 1996 and has worked in prison with offenders guilty of serious crimes, including stalking, rape and murder. This has informed her crime writing. Since she started writing, Ruth has won awards in several ...more
More about Ruth Dugdall...

Other Books in the Series

Cate Austin (4 books)
  • The Sacrificial Man (Cate Austin, #2)
  • Humber Boy B (Cate Austin, #3)
  • Nowhere Girl (Cate Austin, #4)

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