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Before We Were Strangers

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  6,591 ratings  ·  861 reviews
Something happened to her mother that night. Something no one wants to talk about. But she's determined to uncover her family's dark secrets, even if they bury her.

Five-year-old Sloane McBride couldn't sleep that night. Her parents were arguing again, their harsh words heating the cool autumn air. And then there was that other sound--the ominous thump before all went quiet
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Mira Books
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak is a 2018 MIRA publication.

A little heavy on the dramatics, but still a good, solid thriller-

When Sloane McBride was five years old, her mother suddenly disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. Sloane has a few vivid memories of the night her mother left, and for many years she has suspected her father of foul play. Now, after ending a successful run as a popular supermodel, Sloane has returned to her hometown, hoping to finally discover what r
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I have become a fan of Brenda Novak from reading several of her more thrilling titles but with over fifty books in publication she has anything from the lighter contemporary romance to darker thrillers. Before We Were Strangers is more along the lines of a romantic suspense novel but with enough mystery to keep readers turning the pages and guessing along.

In this story Sloane McBride had left home at eighteen and had not looked back for the last ten years. Sloane had her reasons for escaping her
Debbie Oliphant
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I love about reading is when you find that "gem" that keeps you thinking when you put the book down, or you can't put the book down because you are racing to the next page. A good book should make you "feel" and this did not disappoint.

Sloan is grieving over the loss of her friend who has been a father to her. She shared with him the reason she left her childhood home and he urged her to get answers. Sloan believes her father killed her mother when she was 5 years old and while she is terr
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication December 2018
Although I finished this book on the weekend, I needed to give myself some time to reflect before I reviewed. Before We Were Strangers attracted me for it's gorgeous cover-sure! But more importantly because I like the whole storyline of prodigal daughter(or son) returning and trying to bring the dark family secrets out into the open. Sloane McBride, this novel's protagonist squ
Sloane McBride’s mother, Clara, disappeared 23 years ago following a violent argument with her father, Ed. Sloane was only five-years old at the time but vividly recalls the details of what she saw and heard that night. She left town suddenly and without warning when she was eighteen to escape her father’s domination and emotional cruelty, leaving behind her boyfriend, Micah, and best friend, Paige. Now she’s returned home to Texas after having gained fame and success as a model to finally inves ...more
This was a pretty decent read. A woman goes back to her home town, in hopes to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. It has its share of drama, with a love triangle.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2
This book sucks you right in. A model, returned from a career in New York. An estranged family with a controlling father and a brother who won’t believe a word she says about what happened the night their mother disappeared. A best friend who married her ex right after she left town… and who may or may not be on her side. A cop who married a girl to do the right thing, rather than the one girl he’d always loved. This has all the makings of a really juicy soap opera, and you just can’t stop turni ...more
Jessica Hinton
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley-review
The plot of this book is quite strong - a daughter returns to her home town after 10 years away, determined to face up to her buried suspicion that her father had something to do with the disappearance of her mother all those years ago. It promised the unearthing of buried skeletons, a mystery being untangled and the conflicting emotions tied up with such a 'prodigal' return.

Unfortunately for me it failed to deliver on some of those promises. One of the main frustrations I had was with the pace
Cortney LaScola Hornyak -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
This was my first Brenda Novak book, and probably my last.

The story was good, the writing not so much. I lost track of how many times I rolled my eyes... I actually put it down about 30 pages in because I thought the writing was going to annoy me too much.

I ended up picking it back up and read it in a day. Quick, easy read, good story, but pretty bad writing.
Frank Phillips
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was such a pleasant surprise of a read! I had never read one of Novak's novels prior to this one so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. As soon as I read the first chapter I knew this would be a fast paced, good time of a read and it did not let me down! I would give this 4.5 stars because it filled every single expectation I had for the specific genre it is categorized as and felt like every aspect of this novel was above average! I liked and really hated the characters, which is a gr ...more
Adah Udechukwu
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before We Were Strangers is a great thriller. It was totally worth my time.
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Well hello there Brenda Novak. My first book by her and I was a little hesitant because of the romance part.. while I do like my rom-coms, I tend to not like romance mixed in with my thrillers - but Novak has decidedly changed my mind on this with Before We Were Strangers. While the romance is a bit heavy, the plot is as twisted as the characters and this book is a breeze to read!

I absolutely admire Sloane's tenacity and as I'm rooting for her throughout this entire read, I was also like, "Oh no
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Brenda Novak! Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I was so completely invested in the characters and their story - I had to know how the story ended. ...more
Madison Warner Fairbanks
Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak

Suspense. Fast paced and gripping.

Wouldn’t really call it romance. There is a romance but the couple were high school sweethearts and kind of just fall back into that.
The story is fully focused on the investigation of a couple of cold cases of murder. Murder of family that puts the suspicion directly in the immediate family.

Sloane’s father, the Mayor, has so much power and has no principles when leveraging that power. A very ugly person.
Sloane’s former
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Sloane was five years old when her mother disappeared. Sloane remembers hearing her parents argue, and the next day her mother was gone. Sloane left home at eighteen, moved to New York, and started a career as a model. She has done well for herself, but she has always felt there was more to the story about her mother. A loving mother doesn't just walk away from her children. Sloane decides to move back to her small town and finally discover what happened to her mother.

Sloane is an interesting ch
Lisa Aiello
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: womens-fiction
The storyline and characters just fell flat for me. It was almost 300 pages into the book before anything really came to the boiling point with the storyline, and then things moved so quickly to the ending and the wrap-up/final twist. The premise was a good one, but something made me not connect.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read the Evelyn Talbot chronicles, I knew Novak could write a captivating series; having now read Before We Were Strangers, it’s clear Novak can write a captivating standalone novel too! I read this book over the course of a day, it was so suspenseful, there was no way I could put it down part way through!

Let’s look firstly at the mystery in this novel – Sloane returns to her home town to find out what really happened to her mother. Sloane was only five when her mother left, she had a dif
Deborah Blanchard
Brenda Novak really knows how to weave a great story! What would you do if you thought your Father had murdered your Mom? Sloane won't stop until she finds out the truth of what happened on that night twenty three years ago. This book is full of twists and kept me turning the pages well into the night. It is full of mystery and suspense, but also a touch of romance. Full of richly detailed characters that are true to life. This book will definitely keep your interest throughout. Just when you th ...more
Jacqueline's Reads
4.5 Stars

This is my first Brenda Novak novel and honestly the cover did me in. I thought the the cover was really pretty. I was sucked by the summary and I’ve seen this author everywhere. Had it not been the cover, I probably would have passed on this one.

I did the audio version and I 100% think the narrator made the book for me. I love listening to her voice. I tend to like to listen to higher pitched voices and I could have listened to her all day. This is my first book by Ann Marie Gideon and
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Harlequin Mira and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a copy in advanced in exchange for this review.

Something happened to Sloan's mom when she was 5. She woke up one morning to find her gone. Sloane moves out of her Texas small town when she is 18. A new loss means that she is returning. What will be in store for her as she seeks answers?

There was so much potential here for a great read! A childhood mystery, so called "friends", and questions surrounding a father...

However, I fo
This novel had more romance than I usually like, but the basic story of a young woman returning to her hometown (after being gone for ten years) to try to discover the reasons why her mother went missing when she was a child was interesting. Did her father kill her mother, or is there some other explanation for a loving mother’s disappearance? The father is a nasty piece of work, a small town despot who is accustomed to getting his way. The sweetheart she left behind is there, loving and helping ...more
Brenda Novak has written another thriller that kept me turning the pages and reading every chance that I could. In her typical style, she has created realistic characters and a well thought out, interesting plot that pulled me in right away. Sloane McBride left home right after graduation, leaving her father and brother along with her boyfriend Micah and best friend Paige. Her father, Ed, is a domineering and controlling parent that Sloane has grown up believing had something to do with the disa ...more
Stephanie Brown
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was awful. I kept with it because I wanted to know who did it. However, the conclusion was unfulfilling. The reason for the 1 star was because of how poorly this book was written. The dialogue was ridiculous. I kept asking myself if anyone would really talk like this. The moronic dialogue was simply too distracting to take this thriller seriously.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
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 ...more
When Sloane McBride was five years old she overheard her parents arguing and the next morning her mom was gone never to be heard from again. Her father kept trying to convince her that her mother just left. Then at eighteen Sloane leaves her hometown of Millcreek, Texas, leaving behind her best friend, Paige, and her boyfriend, Micah Evans. Now ten years later she feels she can deal with the situation and finally find out what really happened all those years ago. But she has more to deal with si ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gripping suspense/thriller from Brenda Novak about a young woman who returns to her hometown after 10 years away to figure out what happened to her mother who disappeared when she was only five years old. She suspects her egotistical father has something to do with it. The plot has a lot of twists and turns and really kept me reading. Great characters with all the flaws and frailties to make this story so believable.
Pam Jenoff
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I tore into Novak's latest, which tells of Sloane, a model whose mother disappeared mysteriously when Sloane was five. Now an adult, Sloane travels back to her hometown to unravel the dark secrets of her past. Equal parts suspense and family drama -- you will love it! ...more
Stephanie (earlgreyreads)
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
THIS BOOK. I could not put this down. It is so intriguing, suspenseful, romantic, surprising… I could go on!

Sloane hasn’t been back to her small hometown in Texas for ten years. It’s been ten years since she left her boyfriend after their graduation night, and ten years since she cut off all ties to him, her family, and everyone from her youth. Sloane is now returning to investigate the details surrounding her mother’s disappearance when she was five years old, and to attempt to find justice. He
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3,5 Stars

10 years ago, Sloane McBride left her hometown, her family, friends, the boyfriend she was madly in love with and run away from the memories of her mother disappearance and the doubt that never left her about that night. She was only 5 years old when her mother disappeared, or as her father always put it, when her mother walked away from all of them. Yet, she heard things that do not fit with the official story.
Now, after 10 years of running away, Sloane is determined to uncover the tru
Kimberly Belle
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Secrets and family drama are at the heart of Brenda Novak’s Before We Were Strangers, in which a woman returns to her small Texas hometown determined to uncover the truth about her mother’s disappearance. Novak’s fans will devour this one, and the relentlessly twisty plot will win her some new fans, as well. This is the kind of book best swallowed in one sitting: suspenseful, surprising, and 100% addictive.
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It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a

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“She could only attribute the difference to each parent’s attitude. Micah acted as if all was well, so Trevor responded in a similar manner. Paige acted as though she was miserable, and that meant Trevor had to worry about her and carry a lot of angst.” 0 likes
“No one seemed to understand that she hadn’t chosen to be standoffish. That was simply a byproduct of what she’d been through.” 0 likes
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