A couple of weeks ago a friend from work recommended that I give Before We Met a try. Never one to turn down a recommendation, I hopped down to my local library to borrow a copy. Before We Met is a thriller/mystery title by Lucie Whitehouse, her third book, with the hardback release having been in January of this year.
After a whirlwind romance, headstrong and independent Hannah Reilly gave up her job and a life in New York to return home to England with her new husband, Mark. Living in their luxury London home, secure in the knowledge that her husband loves her, Hannah is in no doubt that she was right to take a chance on love. But when Mark doesn’t get off of a flight home from a business trip to the U.S. and hours of waiting for him to come home turn into days, Hannah’s confidence in her relationship begins to waver. Digging into her husband’s life only throws more doubt on their relationship; are the lies that her husband has been telling for his benefit or for hers?
Before We Met is a fairly easy read; even with the a busy work schedule I was able to finish it across two days during my lunch hour, so it took around two hours in total to finish. As you’d expect from mystery and thriller novels, the pace of the story is fairly slow which at times could be frustrating as I figured out what Hannah would take another chapter to discover, but it kept me reading, if only so I could be proved right!
Sadly I wasn’t drawn to the characters, none of them had any particular depth to them, not even our heroine, Hannah Reilly. Whitehouse lets us know certain things about each character; where they worked, who their loved ones were and how they knew each other or Hannah but beyond that there was nothing, no personality.
Where she really lets the reader down is with Hannah, I can’t say that I came away feeling particularly fond of her, but nor had I decided that I didn’t like her. She was really just a device to drive the plot. I think Whitehouse really missed out something important there; if the reader were really be able to connect with the character, then the drawn out plot and ultimately rushed ending might not have felt like such a disappointment.
On that note, I would say if you’d like a quick and easy read that’s not too taxing on the old brain then go ahead and pick up Before We Met. It’s not that I didn’t like it because I enjoyed it enough to read it in just a few hours, it’s simply not a book that uses it’s characters to draw in the reader. Fans of similar (I’ve seen comparisons to Gone Girl, though I’ve never read it) will enjoy what Whitehouse has to offer but be warned the appeal of this book is in the figuring out, not in the depth of it’s story or the people involved in it.
So have any of you read Before We Met? Do you agree with me about the slow pace and lack of character development? Leave a comment below and let me know.