Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak [Book Review]

Book Review

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Title: Before We Were Strangers

Author: Brenda Novak

Publisher: MIRA

Publish Date: December 4, 2018

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 4/5

Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak


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.

In the morning, her mother was gone.

The official story was that she left. Her loving, devoted mother! That hadn’t sat any better at the time than it did when Sloane moved out at eighteen, anxious to leave her small Texas hometown in search of anywhere else. But not even a fresh start working as a model in New York could keep the nightmares at bay. Or her fears that the domineering father she grew up with wasn’t just difficult—he was deadly.

Now another traumatic loss forces Sloane to realize she owes it to her mother to find out the truth, even if it means returning to a small town full of secrets and lies, a jilted ex-boyfriend, and a father and brother who’d rather see her silenced. But as Sloane starts digging into the past, the question isn’t whether she can uncover what really happened that night…it’s what will remain of her family if she does?

Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak


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 character. She moved away from home as soon as she could, and she did well for herself. She’s smart, independent, and determined. When she left home, she left behind a father she didn’t get along with, a brother who did whatever their father said, a high school boyfriend who loved her, and a childhood best friend. After years away, Sloane’s relationship with everyone is different when she returns to her hometown.

Before We Were Strangers is a suspenseful mystery with plenty of drama. Family drama, mystery, and a little romance make Before We Were Strangers a compelling read.

10 thoughts on “Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak [Book Review]

  1. This sounds SO GOOD! A super dark subject though….did you find that it was almost too intense? I am a huge fan of your recommendations though so I will be sure to check it out. I am currently in love with psychological thriller “All The Broken People” by Amy Rivers. The main character, Alice, has come a long way from an abusive childhood and has made a name for herself. She is a successful writer and is married to someone who treats her like gold. When things go wrong in the marriage she attempts to salvage things by helping her husband’s mother in law who recently had a bad fall back in his hometown. She finds out some DARK secrets about her husband’s past and about the small town he grew up in. The characters are all well-developed and engaging – You truly feel they are real people with real problems.. I couldn’t put this book down. Take a peek at it when you find the time – (author’s website!)

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