She was his. She was perfect. And then, she was gone.

Alice Bell has always had a bee in her bonnet about her husband’s past. She doesn’t know it all but catches snippets here and there, about his reputation at University where they met and the few extra-marital dalliances he’s had since they married. Ones she has so far chosen to overlook.

On a train one evening from Edinburgh back to London, Alice swears she locks eyes with a girl from their past – Ruth, who went missing, presumed drowned at university over fifteen years previously. When she mentions it to George, he brushes it off and she’s not convinced he didn’t know her better than he’s claiming. Subsequently, she has no choice but to keep digging for the truth. Wouldn’t we all?

Is it possible that beautiful, vibrant Ruth is still alive and not dead as everyone assumed? 

The Girl Before You unpacks the truth bit by bit, focusing on newly pregnant Alice as she becomes a super sleuth, reaching out to Ruth’s younger sister Naomi, who has never stopped hoping that her sister will one day return. As Alice gets warmer on the case of Ruth, she’s left cold by the things she’s learning about her own husband. Will life ever be the same again? 

‘The new GIRL ON THE TRAIN’ Observer

This book is right up my street and I devoured it in one day. It’s like crack, actually impossible to stop dipping into whenever you can get away with it. It was the perfect Bank Holiday read and I feel a little bit closer to it somehow because Nicola Rayner is a good friend’s sister in law. The writing flows wonderfully and the back and forth between female perspectives, all women who knew Ruth, doesn’t grate as much as it has in other books. I sometimes feel cheated by this device when I love one or two of the characters and don’t care about another, but all three are sympathetic and fleshed out enough to feel real.

It also looks at some very real and very relevant subject matter, including gas lighting and sexual coercion/assault which isn’t easy to read but opens up some interesting dialogue between some of the characters. In my opinion it’s better than GOTT and is definitely on par with Apple Tree Yard. If you liked either of those I think you’ll be very much into this little banger. 

I can’t wait for Nicola’s next book.

Book details:

The Girl Before You
Publisher: Avon (22 Aug. 2019)
ISBN-10: 0008332738
ISBN-13: 978-0008332730
Bought new paperback for myself

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