Before We Were Strangers

Before We Were Strangers

by Brenda Novak


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She’s determined to uncover her family’s dark secrets, even if they bury her.

Five-year-old Sloane McBride couldn’t sleep that night. Her parents were arguing again, their harsh words heating the cool autumn air. And then there was the ominous thump before all went quiet.

In the morning, her mother was gone.

The official story was that she left, but Sloane didn’t believe it. Not as a child and not when she moved out at eighteen. Even a fresh start working as a model in New York couldn’t quell her fears that the domineering father she grew up with wasn’t just difficult—he was deadly.

Now another traumatic loss forces Sloane to realize she owes it to her mother to find out the truth, even if it means returning to a small Texas town full of secrets and lies, a jilted ex-boyfriend, and a father and brother who’d rather see her silenced. But as Sloane starts digging into the past, the question isn’t whether she can uncover what really happened that night…it’s what will remain of her family if she does?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778369943
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 12/04/2018
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 6,191
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 45 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

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Before We Were Strangers 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is tense family drama plus murders and steamy sex scenes. This is Brenda Novak at her best. My favorite character was Trevor, the young boy who is totally innocent of any wrongdoing. Most of the other characters are shallow and self-serving, even Sloane who wants to prove her father's guilt at all cost. Most readers will like her character but I didn't approve of how quickly she went to bed with Micah again. I know that immorality is rampant in society today, but it's very flagrant in this book so the novel itself may not be for everyone.
Anonymous 7 months ago
bookaholique 9 months ago
3.5 Sloane McBride returns to her hometown with much trepidation. The only reason she is going back is because she believes her Dad killed her Mom back when she was a five year old. Now that she is older, she feels it is her job to try and prove just that. To complicate matters, her childhood best friend Paige married her former boyfriend Micah. They are divorced now but stay connected because the have a son. Paige still loves Micah but those feelings are not reciprocated. Micah still loves Sloane. Sloane is caught in the middle. Ms. Novak has presented us with a very enjoyable story. There is a lot going on here. Sloane's Dad is the mayor of Millcreek and wields great control over everything that goes on in town. He knows why Sloane has returned and is going to do everything in his power to stop her. Paige tries to sell herself as a best friend, but she is very jealous of the relationship between Sloane and Micah. Micah wants to be with Sloane, but is concerned Paige will decide to not let him see his son Lucas. And so this tale weaves in, out and around all these different story lines. The author did a great job making everything flow. This was an interesting mystery with a bit of romance. And just when you think everything is all wrapped up, there's a nice little twist. Well done! My thanks to Harlequin - Mira and Netgalley.
shedevilmx88 11 months ago
Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak is a romantic thriller that I listened to on audio narrated by Anne Marie Gideon. This is the first book of Brenda's that I have read and look forward to reading or listening to more book from her in the future. I feel Anne made this book for me. She did a wonderful job narrating and I can't wait to hear more from her in the future. I would recommend this for anyone that likes a thriller with a little romance thrown in the mix.
Ksiddall More than 1 year ago
Part mystery, part thriller, and part second-chance romance! Supermodel Sloane McBride returns to her small Central Texas hometown of Millcreek to personally discover what really happened 23 years ago when her mother disappeared without a trace. At the time, the police investigation – or what passed for it – blithely accepted her father’s story that Clara McBride had just walked away from the house and marriage in the dead of night probably to join the secret lover with whom she was having an affair. But Sloane, then five, had been home that night and awake, and had heard the final altercation between her parents. As she’d grown, Sloane relived that night over and over in her mind, and based on those memories always secretly feared that her father had murdered and hidden her mother’s body. As soon as high school graduation was over, Sloane had fled town without a word to anyone including Micah, the boy she’d been going with, and her best friend, Paige. Sloane had gone to New York City and, luckily for her, was discovered by a kind and honest agent who launched her into a highly successful modeling career. Now at loose ends after her beloved mentor’s death, Sloane is going back home for the first time in 10 years to ferret out the truth of the night her mother disappeared. Sloane walked out without a word on the four most important people in her life: her father, her brother, her boyfriend, and her best friend – and must confront those relationships when she’s back in town. Her father and brother believe she’s back to ruin her father, now the town’s mayor, with her suspicions. Complicating matters, Micah and Paige had gotten together after her abrupt departure, had a child, and had only recently divorced. With Micah now a police officer in town, and her father and brother both trying to block her probing into the past, “Before We Were Strangers” is tense, exciting, and provides a satisfying number of twists and turns. Part mystery, part thriller, part second-chance romance, author Brenda Novak has created an engrossing novel of what happened and who done it. Readers should be entertained!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
carol223CS More than 1 year ago
Brenda Novak’s Before We Were Strangers This book opens with a quick burst of energy. The pace is fast and strong with mind blowing twists. A real puzzler full of surprises!! Sloane McBride was five years old when her mother disappeared. Even though her father claimed her mother was unhappy and left to go on her own, Sloane always felt foul play took part in her mother’s disappearance. Now twenty three years later, Sloane has returned home much to the dismay of her father, brother and her once best friend who got pregnant to Sloane’s old boyfriend after she left. Now this friend has supposedly re-befriend Sloane....BUT who can Sloane really trust as she digs into the mystery regarding her mother disappearance. Plenty of drama, intrigue, tension, suspense and thrills and chills. You get to accompany Sloane on her quest due to the author’s well written story. The story intensifies from the beginning to the end as dark secrets are revealed. I volunteered to read Before We Were Strangers. Thanks to the author for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Brenda s stories!
Lori Duhoski More than 1 year ago
Sloane McBride left her home at age 18. She wonders if her mother just walked away or if something else happened to her. It is a small town so it would seem like someone would know what was going on but no one admits that they know anything about her mother disappearing. She goes back to her small Texas hometown to look for clues regarding her mother’s death. Once she is home she also reconnects with her high school love and her best friend. You will really enjoy this story. It will keep you in suspense until the very end.
Catdad More than 1 year ago
This book reminded me a little bit of another book I've read by another author. It's the story of a woman, Sloane, who thinks her father may have murdered her mother when she was a child. She returns to her hometown 23 years after her mother went missing to try and find out what really happened. She's blocked every time she thinks she's making progress. Micah, her former high school sweetheart, is trying to help her. The story has lots of twists and turns, some predictable, some surprising, but it's very well written. The characters are believable, which is one of the things I like about Brenda Novak. She always creates great characters!! This is a good read, I would recommend it (less)
LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
Sloane McBride lost her mother when she was five and she always believed her father had something to do with her disappearance. Now she is back in her hometown after ten years and is determined to find the truth even though her father is trying to stop her. She comes face to face with Micah Evans, her boyfriend from ten years ago who married her best friend and fathered a son a year after she left. Micah and Paige are now divorced and when Micah sees Sloane, he realizes he still loves her and always has. He tells her she is the only woman he has ever wanted. He will help her in her search for the truth about her mother’s disappearance because he is determined to keep her safe and knows her father will stop at nothing to keep the truth from coming out. As mayor of the town, he rules everything and everybody. The more Sloane learns about her father, she learns he is a psychopath who was suspected of killing not only her mother but also his own parents and brother. A great book deserving of more than 5 stars!
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
A riveting, deeply entrenching read! I was hooked immediately! We get to know Sloane little by little before she reveals why she is returning home after all these years and what's she's hoping to find there. The story takes many unexpected turns, and even when you think you know what happened, you will be shocked once again. Really great book filled with richly built characters, in depth development of past events and a captivating delve into the current life spinning on it's axle around her. Loved it! Model Sloane McBride might have left home to head to the bright lights of New York a decade ago, but some parts of Millcreek would never leave her mind. Like the memories and dreams that continue to haunt her. She's not so sure she wants to know the answers, but the churning fear in her gut won't be silenced any longer. She has to find out what happened to her mother that night. She might have only been five years old, but she remembers things. Voices, fighting, things that were said, a loud thump, then silence ... and the next morning Mom was gone ... forever. The return to town is just as volatile as she expects. Her high school best friend is trying to act like no time has passed, her ex-boyfriend still holds an obvious grudge for her leaving, her father tries to run her out of town before she even gets there, and her brother is making it clear he has no wish to dredge up the past alongside her. It seems like everyone is against her ... but she's determined to bring her mother peace once and for all, regardless of the danger that starts to swirl!
Ejaygirl More than 1 year ago
Sloane McBride’s mother, Clara, disappeared 23 years ago following a violent argument with her father, Ed. Sloane was only five-years old at the time but vividly recalls the details of what she saw and heard that night. She left town suddenly and without warning when she was eighteen to escape her father’s domination and emotional cruelty, leaving behind her boyfriend, Micah, and best friend, Paige. Now she’s returned home to Texas after having gained fame and success as a model to finally investigate and solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. At the top of her suspect list? Her father. The story begins with the death of Sloane’s beloved agent, mentor and benefactor who had encouraged her to go back home and reconnect with her family and friends. I really felt how alone Sloane was with no real meaningful relationships to anchor her anywhere. Even her return home was met with suspicion and hostility. Every relationship was complicated, including her best friend and ex-boyfriend who had married each other, share a son and are now divorced. The reactions to her return felt real, even if some were harsh and unfair, consistent with small town dynamics. The mystery was gnarly, taking twisty and uncertain paths, especially with unreliable witnesses who were swayed by Sloane’s influential father, the town mayor. I found Sloane pretty naive and too trusting at times, especially where it concerned Paige. The romantic element was subtle, providing some relief to the tension. I enjoyed this story for its unpredictability and mystery, thinking I had this thing figured out until a major curve ball was thrown. There are a host of characters you won’t like and everyone has their share of flaws. That just made everything more interesting. (I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review)
mchkintchr More than 1 year ago
Wow! Another shining example of why I am drawn back to Brenda Novak's books time and time again! Sloane McBride has ignored the mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance long enough! It's time to find the truth, no matter what or who is implicated! This one will keep you guessing right from the beginning! Just as you decide you know where the story is going, you hit a snag and veer off in another direction. Get ready for a wild ride, and enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so riveting! I could not stop reading It! I had to stop to make dinner for my family! Then I finished reading it before I cleaned my dishes! So many twists and turns! I loved it!
Claire140 More than 1 year ago
Oh I liked this book, a thread of tension was running throughout the whole story and you never knew quite where it would end up. Sloane is a top model who had left her small town home as soon as she could as her Mother disappeared one night when she was 5 years old and she has always suspected her Father of killing her. So now she's back in town to solve the mystery once and for all. Her Father is a really vile, controlling man and her brother not much better and they don't want anyone investigating her Mother's disappearance and are willing to bully everyone in town into supporting their side of the story and not Sloane's. When Sloane arrived in town she stayed with her ex-best friend Paige. Paige was a real loose canon, supposedly an old 'best friend' of Sloane who chased and married Sloane's ex-boyfriend Micah and had a child with him. Unfortunately Micah never really loved Paige as much as Sloane and the marriage eventually ended, but Paige doesn't seem to want to let go. So when Sloane comes back to town and Paige is pretending to be her friend but actually isn't, there are major tensions bubbling under the whole time and it was only a matter of time before things erupted. A definite love triangle and Paige was definitely a psycho! The story builds throughout the book, with twists and turns, was her Mother murdered and if so who murdered her? Secrets are slowly revealed, with a twist! Riveting read.
lhill82125 More than 1 year ago
WOW, another major hit by Brenda! I keep thinking her books just can’t get any better and then she comes out with a new one that’s better than all the rest. This one is such an exciting thriller that I know you will love it too! Hurry and get your copy so you can kick back and enjoy a great read too! Thanks Brenda!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brenda Novak has done it again! A very well written suspense murder mystery. Keeps you guessing until the last chapter!! Loved it!
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
When Sloane McBride returns to her hometown, she has a specific purpose. She wants to find what happened to her mother who disappeared twenty-three years ago after a fight with domineering husband. Sloan thinks that her father might have killed her? Now she's going to find the truth and find peace. Sloane can't escape the memories of that night. I sympathized with her. It would be terrible to be haunted by the past. I was impressed by her determination. She won't be stopped by the pressure from her father. To add to her stress she must deal with her first love, Micah. He's bitter. Sloane may have left him without warning, but she still cares for him. Can they put the past behind them? I liked Micah. He's willing to help her even though it puts his career at risk. I was impressed with his character. Even though he suffered when Sloane left. He's helping her. Their chemistry is amazing. Brenda Novak has written an powerful story. The plot is filled with so many unexpected twists that I was stunned. Her characters come alive with their powerful dialogue. I cared for Sloane and Micah. I wanted them to be successful. I just wasn't sure that they could get through the lies and deceit. Before We Were Strangers is a keeper. I bought this as an audiobook. I felt that the narration increased the tension.
Horsebranchjess More than 1 year ago
Before We Were Strangers carries a promising premise, a small town girl makes it big and decides she can finally face the truth about her mother's disappearance. The story takes a little while to warm up to. When she first comes home, Sloan gets sucked into a love triangle that I felt was unnecessary. Most of the characters in this book got on my last nerve, Sloane and Micah grew on me by the end. Paige is the character you love to hate. The last quarter of this book makes up for any ambiguous feeling I had in the beginning as the action picks up and plot really begins to move forward. I found some elements of the story to be highly predictable but still enjoyable never the less. Brenda Novak is still one of my favorite authors even when the book isn't. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
GwenL More than 1 year ago
Speechless — that’s what I was when I finished BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS! Brenda Novak has long been a favorite author. I’ve always admired her richly drawn characters. BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS exceeds everything I’ve read of hers before. Our heroine Sloane has been haunted for 20-plus years about what she heard one night when she was 5. It haunted her so much that she ran away from her hometown, leaving behind both her one true love and her best friend. Now, she’s ready to go back home and face the memory of her 5-year-old self. But going home is never easy. Just as we readers know that when you return home for holidays, it’s so easy to fall back into old patterns with our parents and siblings, Sloane struggles to remain her strong adult self as she interacts with her father, brother, ex-lover and best friend. The mystery in this book takes center stage, always present even as we see Sloane build new relationships with those from her past. I’d call this book romantic suspense because the mystery is so captivating with a great second-chance romance (with lots of impediments) thrown in. Novak left her breadcrumbs throughout the book, and I really thought I’d solved the mystery. Color me shocked at the ending! If you’ve never read Brenda Novak, this is a great book to start — no related books to read to catch up with characters. And you’ll dive right in and read it straight through.
MugsyMae More than 1 year ago
This is a gripping suspense/thriller from Brenda Novak about a young woman who returns to her hometown after 10 years away to figure out what happened to her mother who disappeared when she was only five years old. She suspects her egotistical father has something to do with it. The plot has a lot of twists and turns and really kept me reading. Great characters with all the flaws and frailties to make this story so believable.
Boohimdanno More than 1 year ago
Fans of Brenda Novak and Romantic Suspense this is a Must Read! Before We Were strangers is one the best Romantic Suspense with the dynamic characters that will keep readers up all night. Everything from greed, angry, self doubt, and affairs that will twist readers until they are not sure who slept with whom. Brenda Novak is able to create well paced story with a little too many characters but since the whole town seems to be hiding secrets it only makes since that everyone is a suspect. There are times readers will roll their eyes with the cheesy one liners but at the same times they will be biting their nails as the action starts and the mystery only seems to pull families apart. Curl up because you are not going to put this book down until you have read ever last word. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for the advance copy of Brenda Novak Before We were Strangers.
ILuvBooks25 More than 1 year ago
This is the newest Brenda Novak book most recently released. After reading quite a few of her books I think she does a great job of setting the scenes as well as giving you well developed characters. I really felt like by the end of this particular book I really knew each of the characters in the book. In addition, to the character development and scenery what really impressed me about this book was the storyline. Having read many of her books before I really felt like this was something very different then what she had done before. She really thought out side the box on this story and made you the reader solve the mystery of who dunnit or did Sloane's mother just run away? In addition, I think that it was something different than just some simple romance storyline that you see on the t.v. I really enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down and can't wait to read more of her books in the future like this. I recommend this book to readers who like a little bit of romance but a whole lot more of murder mystery or mystery in general.
perriknows More than 1 year ago
Sloane McBride left her home, her family, her boyfriend, and her life at age 18. Running from what? An argument she overheard as a very young child keeps her wondering…did her mother really walk away or was there something more sinister? Who had a reason to hurt her mother? Why would anyone want to hurt her? Did her father do it? Does her brother know more than he lets on? In a small town it seems like everyone knows what’s going on, but why doesn’t anyone know or admit they know anything about her mother’s disappearance? After her mentor dies, she decides to go back to her small Texas hometown to look for clues regarding her mother’s death. Going home also means reconnecting with her high school boyfriend and her best friend. How has time treated all of them? I enjoyed this novel. I really didn’t have many clues as to the culprit or the reason Sloane’s mother was gone until the end of the book. Very satisfying and suspenseful.