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The Girl Before Audiobook

The Girl Before

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Publisher's Summary

In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman's life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true...wasn't?

Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.

In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara's fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name - Diana - and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.

©2016 Rena Olsen (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"[A] thoughtful look at victims and perpetrators and the difficulties that arise for someone who is both at once.... [The Girl Before] moves at the pace of a mystery, but the novel is strongest when it allows Clara to unpack her past and consider who she will be going forward. A moving story of recovery and responsibility." (Kirkus Reviews)

"I couldn't put it down. The novel is compelling, perplexing, and ultimately uplifting! The unusual structure is a perfect match for the magnetic voice of the central character. I predict this daring debut will make Rena Olsen 'the girl ahead' among psychological suspense authors." (Karen Harper, New York Times best-selling author of Upon a Winter's Night)

"A disturbing story, haunting and important." (Alexandra Burt, author of Remember Mia)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (402 )
5 star
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4.5 (366 )
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Story
4.5 (365 )
5 star
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 08-25-16
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 08-25-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Could not stop listening"

    A weird listening experience. There is nothing that much surprising in what happens (plot) but the story is riveting because of how it's told (very good writing). I found myself hoping for extra red lights on my way to work. If you are looking for surprising plot twists, this isn't it. If you're looking for a story that grabs you (even as you are saying to yourself "yes, yes, this story has already been told"), this one is a definite recommend.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yikes 09-05-16
    Yikes 09-05-16

    Books are a big part of my life. Happiness is a beautiful evening on the houseboat with a good book :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gr8 Book!"

    Loved the story & style. A human trafficking story told mostly by one victims perspective. The chapters are "then" and "now" and it's only slightly confusing because the "then" moves backwards while "now" moves forward. Once you get used to it, it all makes sense. The narration was excellent. I hope this new author is writing more books!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer springfield, IL, United States 08-16-16
    Amazon Customer springfield, IL, United States 08-16-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent"

    It's been awhile since I gave 5 stars. This story held my attention from start to finish. I highly recommend.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mere2442 09-20-16
    mere2442 09-20-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Chilling look at human trafficking"

    This book really pulls you into Clara's world. Though the reader knows that there is something completely wrong with Clara's life, watching her very slowly realize it is both enlightening and heart wrenching!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alyssa Gallaga 08-31-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "MUST READ"

    I am not one to write full reviews, but after listening to The Girl Before I knew I had no other choice. This book is amazing. Rena Olsen's writing allowed the book to run smoothly. I did not read the full synopsis prior to selecting the book and I'm glad I didn't. I was completely shocked and was able to take in the book for what it is. Amazing! This is Rena Olsen's debut novel and I am counting down the days for her next one!

    This book contains sensitive material that is very emotional and will leave an impact on you. Thanks to Brittany Pressley's voice this book was perfect. I cannot wait to listen/ read it again (I purchased the hard copy as well)!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Lawrence Arnold 09-18-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book and narrator."

    I loved this narrator. She was very good, I'm gonna be looking up more of her work. The story kept my attention and left me satisfied when it ended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HappyCamper Idaho Falls, ID 09-17-16
    HappyCamper Idaho Falls, ID 09-17-16 Member Since 2010
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    "absolutely loved it!"

    Both the story and narrator were excellent! the story started out fast paced and kept up that momentum throughout the entire book. the narrator did an excellent job and really brought the characters to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristen 09-16-16
    Kristen 09-16-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent"

    I loved this story. The narration was a tad slow and whiny but the story drew me in and captured my attention.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne 09-09-16
    Marianne 09-09-16 Member Since 2015
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    "AMAZING"
    If you could sum up The Girl Before in three words, what would they be?

    Beautiful, heart-wrenching, scary!


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The edge of my seat is an understatement....


    Any additional comments?

    If this book doesn't suck you in from the get-go, I don't know what will! There are moments that you want to scream at the characters, and moments that make you want to cheer. Scary and sad. I loved the main character. She had a huge heart, and a great capacity to love....even in a life where problems were dealt with using abuse, threats and intimidation. GREAT story!!! Not my favorite narrator though. I'm kind of glad I didn't see who the narrator was before buying the book, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it. She talks in a nasally voice, and pronounces words in a way that makes me cringe. I must say, though, she could really put emotion into the characters' voices, and performed well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    vANESSA j. tORRIVILLA 09-04-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Interesting story, main character was too whiny"

    This book really drew me in in the beginning, however I had a hard time getting over Clara's whiny dialogue. I understand that she went through a lot. I was into the story but her attitude was borderline annoying because she sounded like she was always complaining and almost about to cry. She was even a little bratty at times. It made it hard to relate to her. I stuck through the entire thing and her tone never changed.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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