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The Woman Before Me

(Cate Austin #1)

by
3.8  ·  Rating details ·  2,680 Ratings  ·  313 Reviews
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Ruth Dugdall's novels are intelligent and gripping, with a sophisticated psychological sensibility. She is a huge talent.' Sophie Hannah

'An absolute tour de force that left me thinking for days.' Alex Marwood

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 J
...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 28th 2010 by Legend Press Ltd (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I first read this novel in 2015 and really loved it so seeing it was being re-released by Legend Press in 2018 I gave it another read.

Ruth Dugdall blew me away with her 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 bones 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 pic
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Dash fan
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
4☆ A Chilling Psychological Thriller that you won't be able to put down!

This is my very first book by Ruth Dugdall and it definitely won't be my last.

The Woman Before Me is a gripping Psychological thriller that got under my skin and drew me in.
It was suspenseful, gripping, lots of juicy twists, Emotional, Powerful, kept me guessing, a highly compelling read with some dark sensitive issues.

When new born baby Joel is rushed into hospital and put into intensive care, it is every mothers worst nigh
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Lisa
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall is a very powerful read that will keep you guessing right to the very end. I loved every minute had me on the edge of my seat as the plot went along it was disturbing & sad I really felt for Rose Wilks her character was well written & handled delicately by Miss Dugdall.


This had every emotion you could want in a story of this calibre loved Cate Austin she was strong without being over the top the twist at the end was heartbreaking I really wished it had
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Michael
Sep 02, 2012 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,
...more
Gary
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the 1st book in the Cate Austin series by author Ruth Dugdall, a series that I have already read and enjoyed two books of. Not quite sure why I didn't start reading this series from the beginning but I enjoy the writing of this author so I was not surprised that I found this one a very good read.
The novel focuses on Rose Wilks, whose life is destroyed when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. At the hospital Rose befriends Emma Hatcher, a woman who has all that Rose lacks
...more
Elizabeth
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane S ☔
Apr 22, 2013 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?
Tooter
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars
Fictionophile
Rose Wilks has been in prison for four long years. Incarcerated for something she didn't do.  Another tragic part of a life filled with tragedy and betrayal. Rose is serving a sentence for manslaughter. She is charged with setting a fire that took a baby's life.

Rose's life has been a lonely one. At an early age her mother commit suicide and she went to live with her Auntie Ruth.  Ruth was a spinster with no children of her own. Her parenting skills were sketchy to say the least. She did love Ros
...more
Melissa In The City 🥂
⭐ This book deserves All the twisty stars ⭐
10 ⭐s!!
Here is why:
The writing is superb and the format is really interesting because it is written in two POVs: Cate in the present and Rose through her Black Diary. I enjoyed this style and the author truly connected me to the characters. We got to know them without added unnecessary “fluff”.
I love a good stalker story and this became one but not in the usual psycho stalker way. I actually felt bad for Rose for about 80% of the book. Her Black Diary
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Laura
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-star
You know you've discovered an enjoyable new author when you finish her first book in less than twenty-four hours! I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did; the cover reminded me of The Woman In Black, therefore I anticipated a ghost story, but this was much more of a dark psychological thrill ride.

Rose has not had an easy life, as a child caught between her unfaithful father and chronically depressed mother, she is markedly different to other children. As she grows into a young woman
...more
Nicki
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this is the first book in the Cate Austin series,she is essentially just a secondary character.The main protagonist is Rose Wilks who is just weeks away from freedom after spending nearly five years in prison for the murder of her best friend`s baby.As Rose`s probation officer Cate has to decide if Rose is remorseful about baby Luke`s death and wether she remains a threat to society.Despite warnings from her new colleagues Cate finds herself being drawn into Rose`s case and begins to do ...more
Gary
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 1st book in the Cate Austin series by author Ruth Dugdall, a series that I have already read and enjoyed two books of. Not quite sure why I didn't start reading this series from the beginning but I enjoy the writing of this author so I was not surprised that I found this one a very good read.
The novel focuses on Rose Wilks, whose life is destroyed when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. At the hospital Rose befriends Emma Hatcher, a woman who has all that Rose lacks
...more
Maureen DeLuca
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good psychological thriller type book... Looking forward to reading the rest in the series! It is very hard for me to write a review- for I fear of giving something away- so all I can say it was a good read!!
Angela Savage
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Bookread2day
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Woman Before Me is my favourite novel by Ruth Dugdall. I have read two other books by Ruth, Humber Boy B and Nowhere Girl and I enjoyed them both. The Woman Before Me is being released 1st March 2018 by Legend Press. I can't recommend this creepy psychological thriller enough. Baby sitter Rosemary Wilks is charged with the murder of baby Luke Hatcher. Pleading not guilty to the murder of Luke Hatcher, is Rosemary telling the truth? Rosemary was a friend and a baby sitter but the questions ar ...more
Karen
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Susan
Jan 15, 2014 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
Angela Heider-Willms
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.
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Christine
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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Norrie
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5
Chilling and heartbreaking, The Woman Before Me is a story of loss and grief with a hearty dose of misogyny.

Although Cate Austin is the main character in Ruth Dugdall’s series, in this story she kind of takes a back seat to Rose Wilks who is currently serving time in prison for manslaughter after killing her friend’s baby. Allegedly.

Cate is just returning to her parole officer job after a six months absence and is being transferred to the prison where Rose is being held. She’s intrigu
...more
Clarissa 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
...more
Nicki
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this is the first book in the Cate Austin series,she is essentially just a secondary character.The main protagonist is Rose Wilks who is just weeks away from freedom after spending nearly five years in prison for the murder of her best friend`s baby.As Rose`s probation officer Cate has to decide if Rose is remorseful about baby Luke`s death and wether she remains a threat to society.Despite warnings from her new colleagues Cate finds herself being drawn into Rose`s case and begins to do ...more
Susan Hampson
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
This is the first book in a re-released series featuring Cate Austin, a probation officer. Cate really is a get your sleeves rolled up kind of woman who isn’t happy to just go through paper work where others can easily sway her with their decisions. She gets in there and pokes at the past with a big stick. What she decides changes people’s lives and getting it wrong could mean either serving more time in prison for someone or putting lives at risk in the community. Rose Wilks has served 5 years ...more
Kelly-Marie
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Thank you Legend Press for sending me this novel through netgalley. ❤

4.5 stars 🌟 I really enjoyed this novel was different then I expected it to be. The ending brought the star rating up as I thought it was a good twist on the novel.

I thought the characters were all really like-able and I really liked the main characters rose and cate. Character development was great especially seeing rose’s development of where she came from and the reasons as to why she is they way she is.

Would highly recomme
...more
Joanne Robertson
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I actually read this book four years ago as I discovered when I checked back on Goodreads. I didn’t leave a review at the time just a rating of 5 stars so I was thrilled to get a copy of the updated version from Legend Press so that I could rectify that-the review not the star rating as that still stands, more now than ever!

I actually picked up a copy of The Woman Before Me the first time around whilst searching on Amazon for books to take with me on the first holiday, just me and my husband, si
...more
Karen
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a depressing read but a good book nonetheless.
Gary Murning
Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Heather Fineisen
Jan 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, net-galley
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
Maureen
Aug 14, 2013 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.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 4 Mar 26, 2015 12:45PM  
  • Witness
  • Cuckoo
  • Dark Tide
  • Tell Me No Secrets
  • Nearest Thing to Crazy
  • Wink Murder
  • The Secrets Between Us
  • This Perfect World
  • Why Don't You Come For Me?
  • Lacey's House
  • House of Silence
  • Whatever You Love
  • Accidents Happen
  • A Cry In The Night
  • What Lies Within
  • The Coroner (Jenny Cooper, #1)
  • Close-up
  • Summer of '76
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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

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)