Lucie Whitehouse’s psychological thriller Before We Met is basically an entire novel screaming ‘DON’T GET MARRIED TO SOMEONE YOU’VE KNOWN LESS THAN A YEAR’. Also, don’t get married to someone whose close friends or family you’ve never met. Particularly if you meet them in a foreign country.

Hannah lives a charmed life, largely thanks to her perfect husband Mark: he’s rich, handsome, successful and has a big house in a great street in London. Sure, she’s never met his family and he refuses to talk about his brother, but that’s inconsequential right?

Then one evening Mark goes MIA after he was meant to return home from New York. Though Hannah eventually hears from him the next day, suddenly things aren’t adding up. Mark’s secretly transferred all her savings into his account, his colleagues think he’s away in Rome on a romantic weekend with Hannah, and the quiet lies about his past start to resurface. All of leads Hannah to continually ask herself one question – how well can you really know someone else?

While on the surface Hannah can come across as rather silly to have entered into a marriage with a man she doesn’t really know, events from her past are slowly revealed to explain why a confident, independent woman would marry a man who is clearly hiding a great number of secrets. Plus, when you’re in love with what comes across as the ‘perfect man’, it’s quite easy to pretend that everything is well.

In a similar vein to Gone Girl, Before We Met delves into the idea of what it means to marry someone and share your life with them – will you ever truly know about their past or what type of person they are? Can we create facades that allow us to hide our true identity from everyone, including those closest to us?

Before We Met was an engaging and enthralling thriller. Though at times the storyline lagged, particularly in the middle, I was kept guessing until the end, when all the loose strings were pulled together. Though the premise of Whitehouse’s novel wasn’t particularly original, and sadly Hannah frequently lacks the drive or feistiness that I had come to expect from her, it is a fast-paced novel that somehow manages to ring true.

Furthermore, Whitehouse’s portrayal of advertising, money and the perception of class, and how it can affect someone, was scarily accurate. While most people wouldn’t resort to freezing their family and their past completely because they weren’t rich enough, the effects of marketing definitely convince many that they have to look and act a certain way, around certain people, if they want to live a ‘perfect life’.

Lastly, throughout Before We Met, Whitehouse weaves cautionary tales that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so to speak. While someone may be handsome and rich, alas, look fantastic on paper, if you fail to really understand how they think and what motivates them, you may end up for a rude shock.

Before We Met is a fun, easy read that will keep you turning pages and guessing right until the end. If you’re into something a bit edgy, without the gore that usually comes with horror, or if you’re after another book similar to Gone Girl, then I’d recommend Before We Met.

 

Have you read Before We Met or anything by Lucie Whitehouse? Let me know!

before we met by lucie whitehouse

Before We Met – (image taken form http://www.blogspot.com)

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