ARC Book Review: Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak


ashley | I’m all about stories that bring a person back to their old town to confront their past, and Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak promised to do just this. There was something that also drew me to the cover and the feel of the book before I opened it, however that feeling kind of petered out as the story went on.

On the surface, I liked what this was, but when I look a little closer, a lot of details seem really convenient or dramatic for the sake of causing drama in the story or for the sake of moving things along. There were a few moments that just seemed a little too much and caused me to roll my eyes, which kind of pulled me away from the story, back to the surface, keeping this more of a superficial read than anything that delved too deep.

I also had a hard time believing that Sloane and her ex-boyfriend Micah were still so caught up on each other after a fleeting high school romance and 10 years with no contact. It’s romantic and plausible, but I needed more history to support it as opposed to just being told that was the case. I wanted to see those roots run deep, but they didn’t. The further I read, the more apparent it became that this was a romance novel hiding behind a thinly veiled mystery story, with big holes in the mystery where the romance just kept oozing out.

I just didn’t warm to the book or the characters as things progressed. I was curious enough about the missing woman, but I felt like there were a lot of inconsistencies and that it was a little sloppy overall. Full transparency, I read the first 1/3, then skipped to the last 1/3 and the story was in exactly the same spot. I have no shame in skipping the bulk, as I really don’t feel it impacted the book as a whole for me. There are a lot of good reviews for this, but it just wasn’t my kind of book.


more information
amazongoodreads website

december 4, 2018

copy provided for honest review by
Net Galley