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Before We Were Strangers

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  137 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
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Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, wheelathon
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
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
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.
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
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
Lisa Aiello
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
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
Donna Hines
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
When you want out of a lonely unfulfilled marriage you will do just about anything to get it even if you must be on the outside looking in....
Absolute splendor! Thrilling! Mysterious! Dark! With suspense around every corner....
I couldn't put this one down because it demands your attention from start to finish.
Before We Were Strangers begins with a young daughter's recollections of family violence involving an awful fight between her parents.
She recalls a loud noise and never seeing her mother ev
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.
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
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
Lisa-Books Smiles
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
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
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
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.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-in-2018
Omg guys. There were so many twists and turns... you won’t know the truth until the final chapter! Best psychological thriller I’ve read this year. Enjoy. Xx
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
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

See the full review at

Thrilling plot twists. Lies and double-dealings. Before We Were Strangers was an electrifying work of fiction steeped in suspense, small town theatrics, and even a bit of romance.

I’ve been a fan of Brenda Novak’s work for years. Whether it’s contemporary romance, suspense, or even historical fiction, she knows how to grab my attention and not let go. Before We Were Strangers was just such a story. I didn’t realize going into it th
Bette Hansen
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful romantic suspense story that kept me guessing all the way through. The story has lots of twists and turns with a great blend of mystery and romance. The characters are strong and well developed and the story flows beautifully.

Sloane McBride left her hometown of Millcreek, Texas ten years ago. She simply couldn't live with her father any longer. So she left him as well as Micah, the only man she's ever really loved, behind and started life fresh in New York City. Now she's re
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
Sheila Melo
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
FINAL DECISION: A good romantic suspense. I enjoyed the combination of the relationship with the suspense/mystery. I really loved Micah (who is a sweetie) and eventually understood Sloan although I didn't like her actions which seemed reckless and not well thought out at times.

THE STORY: Sloan McBride fled her hometown a decade ago to free herself from her oppressive father. Now she has returned to find out what happened to her mother who disappeared when she was five. Sloan, however, not only h
Kim Perry
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-crew, arc
Before We Were Strangers is an intriguing suspense with plenty of drama in a small town. Sloane couldn't take the memories and doubts about her mom's disappearance when she was a young girl, so she left her family, boyfriend, and friends behind. After a decade away and another loss in her life, she's finally ready to confront the past and find the truth. She's smart, brave, determined, and yearns for a close and loving family. Coming home is harder than expected. She wasn't quite prepared for th ...more
Tianna Croy
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every since she was a little girl Sloane felt alone. Her mother left in the middle of the night and she never got over the bad feelings she had about that night. But she was so young and no one believed her. Once she graduated she left and didn't look back. But once her very good friend died she came back home to see if she could find the truth. What she encountered was a family that didn't want her there, an old love that she still had feelings for and a best friend that had a different agenda. ...more
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
First time reading Novak, but not my last. I thought I had this one figured out but the twist hit me up side the head. I can't wait to get my hands on another one of Novak's books. I hope the rest are as good as this one was.
Sharon May
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to NetGalley, Mira Books, and Brenda Novak for the opportunity to read and review this book - a great, twisty tale that was hard to put down!

Sloane has been estranged from her dad and brother since she left home 10 years ago. Something happened when Sloane was only 5 years old between her parents and her mom went missing afterwards. Sloane has always blamed her dad for the disappearance and her brother took his dad's side. When she decides to come back to the small town in Texas wher
Shannon Dyer
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, arc
Review to come at AAR.
*review coming*
Linda Joplin
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sloane McBride has come back home to Texas from modeling in New York for 10+ years. She's back to try to find out what happened to her mother, who disappeared when Sloane was only 5 years old. She'd heard her parents fighting that night, and suspects her father may have had something to do with her disappearance.

She's also back to see her former boyfriend, Micah. She had left town after high school with no explanation to him. In the meantime, he married her best friend and had a son. He has sinc
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a story! I had a hard time this book down so I could get work done! If you're looking for a good book that grabs you, holds your attention and has you flicking the pages as quick as your eyes can digest the words, look no further than Brenda Novaks "Before We Were Strangers". Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book!
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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