What’s it all about?:
Hannah, independent, headstrong, and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.
Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard.
But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the U.S. and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begin to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?
Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him or protect her . . .
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: What were your first impressions of Mark?
BETH: It was obvious to me that the author was playing mind games with the reader from the start, I was instantly primed to feel suspicious of Mark. It was clear that he was a man with a few secrets and maybe a few skeletons in his closet. When he came clean about some issues to his wife which explain his actions to a certain extent, I did feel sorry for him but then a few more twists and turns come in and by about halfway through I really didn’t know what to think!
BETH: What did you think of the character of Hannah?
CHRISSI: I have to be honest, Hannah took a long time to grow on me. I thought she was incredibly dramatic, but then again, the whole story is dramatic! However, as the story progressed I did begin to sympathise with her. I tried to put myself in the same position and it’s totally believable that Hannah would become paranoid about whether she really knew her husband. It really does make you wonder if you know everyone as well as you think that you do!
CHRISSI: Before We Met has been described as a ‘marriage thriller’ – why do you think there has been an increase in this type of thriller and what is it that appeals to the reader?
BETH: Great question! I think that a lot of books like this are coming out from the huge success that was Gone Girl and Before l Go To Sleep, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. For myself, I really enjoy reading about those relationships that have something hidden beneath the surface and are not completely perfect. Tie in a couple of twists and a psychological edge that make you catch your breath or leave your mouth wide open and I think you have the recipe for a perfect novel!
BETH: How do you think Hannah’s relationship with her mother affects her marriage to Mark, if at all?
CHRISSI: I think that Hannah is determined not to turn into her mother. She wonders if her paranoia is due to her living through her parent’s marriage troubles. I think it definitely had an affect on Hannah’s marriage. Even if you convince yourself you won’t have the same insecurities as someone else, if you’ve lived with the person for long enough their traits do start to rub off on you, or they’re always there in the back of your mind. I felt like Hannah was aware of how paranoid her mother was and wondered whether history was repeating itself. It almost drove her mad.
CHRISSI: Did you find the book predictable at all?
BETH: Unfortunately, I did, which was a bit of a shame as there was great potential in the story. I think this might be the downfall of novels marketed as “the next Gone Girl,” as it leaves the reader always looking for the twist. In this novel, I did actually guess what was going on before the big reveal which was slightly frustrating as I prefer to be surprised.
BETH: Do you think that we can ever really know everything about another person?
CHRISSI: Quite simply…no. We are close as siblings, but I’m pretty sure there are things hidden from each other. Nothing major, I hope. Like the secrets hidden in this book 😉 but I do strongly believe that you don’t know everything about another person. In most cases I love learning new things about others, as long as it’s not freaky or scary things!
CHRISSI: Discuss the sibling relationships in the novel.
BETH: I loved Hannah’s relationship with her brother as they are very close and he worries about her constantly. As she doesn’t get on too well with her mother, it is nice that she always has that constant person that she can call on in times of need. Their relationship is a polar opposite of Mark’s relationship with his brother. Even when growing up, the boys didn’t get on, and Mark often felt pushed out and let down by his family so that they could appease his brother. This then has huge implications for how the men relate to each other when they become “grown-ups” which was intriguing and exciting to read.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: I’m not sure. I think the writing was good and the pace of the story was set well. I just found it incredibly dramatic. I think it would depend on the story itself. If the synopsis intrigued me then yes, I would!
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):