The Girl Before by Rena Olsen



I am nothing if not obedient. 

I was anticipating this novel for a goddamn long time and so when it finally showed up at work (I’d pre-ordered it months in advance) I was so excited to finally get my hands on it and start reading it and from page 1 it did not disappoint! This novel got more and more gripping with each page, I didn’t want to put it down!

I have voiced my opinion on books that flit about between the past and the present and in case you missed my last rant, I usually hate it because it confuses me a lot of the time (simple mind, I know). But it worked excellently in this novel because, for one, it made it very clear when we were in the past and when we were back to the present, and secondly the two flowed really well together. I loved how Olsen made the stories of the past connect so perfectly with the present – this whole book was written beautifully.

Clara’s refusal to cooperate got a little irritating after a while, but you can’t really expect anything different from such a brainwashed woman, and just hold out a little longer and things might just start going your way! The plot for this wasn’t exactly unique, The Butterfly Garden kind of has the same storyline, to name something recent, but there were no faults in this book. Olsen worked out exactly how to progress with this book, it was flawless. Granted, there were a couple of predictable parts, but they didn’t make the story less exciting in anyway.

I was so close to giving this 4 stars for the reason of me not liking Glen but then I realised, no. We weren’t suppose to like Glen. He was a manipulative, evil, disgusting human being and I hated him. The fact that Olsen could make me hate him so much just shows how amazing her writing was. She brought out a really strong emotion in me that often times made me feel anxious and sick. Hating a character as much as I did isn’t at all a bad thing when the character is there to be hated.

This is a really emotional read. I’m sure if it wasn’t for the fact I mainly only read this on the train, I definitely would have bawled over this, hence the reason I’m classing this as a book that made me cry. I can’t even imagine the feelings Clara goes through as this book progresses and she begins to find out things she’s believed her entire life are not all that they seem. It’s so horrible to think this kind of thing isn’t just a figment of someone’s creative mind, my heart goes out to all those men and women that have been subject to this kind of twisted abuse – this is one of many reasons I give so much to human right charities every month.

I cannot believe this is a debut novel. I am stunned at the quality of Olsen’s writing and story-telling, I can’t wait to read more from her. This tackles many difficult subjects but if you’re a lover of all things suspense and thriller, then you definitely need to pick this up in the future. It’s 2016 must read!

Buy it here!

2 Replies to “The Girl Before by Rena Olsen”

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