The Girl I Used to Be

The Girl I Used to Be

by Mary Torjussen


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The acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace delivers another twisting novel of psychological suspense in which a woman is backed against a wall—with nothing left to lose...

The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she's furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.

She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse...much worse. The problem is she doesn't remember any of it.

As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night—years ago—that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399585036
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/24/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 445,056
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mary Torjussen is the acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and worked for several years as a teacher.

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Excerpted from "The Girl I Used to Be"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Mary Torjussen.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Girl I Used to Be 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I wanted to scream at Gemma to wake her up. The night was fading, the alcohol was flowing freely and her limitations were melting, as the man across the table soothed her. I believe everyone who reads this novel will feel that trouble was following Gemma when she attends a training convention out of town, alone. The novel had this vibe to it. It wasn’t like Gemma was out fishing for another man but I feel that she had her pole in the water, waiting just in case something tugged on her pole. Imagine her surprise when she runs into one of her clients at the hotel that she’s staying at. How likely was it that David would be at this same hotel as her convention (eye rolling)? I hoped that Emma was smart enough to be professional around him. Nope: dinner, lots of wine and great conversation got Emma all loopy and she needed to be escorted up to her room. David was such a nice guy to do that but in reality, he ends up doing more than that. I wanted to help her but the alcohol ended up being her friend and by the morning, Emma will want to turn back time, but it will be too late. A few months later, Emma has put that event behind her, but when she gets her mail, she receives a reminder in the form of a package. Who sent it and why? A few days later, she receives another reminder, a picture of herself, this picture is one she will not want to show anyone. Every few days, she receives something, sometimes via social media, that makes her relive that night in the hotel. She wants to talk to her husband about everything but she’s not sure of what all took place that evening at the hotel and she’s not sure what these reminders mean. Emma does some investigating of that night and what she discovers makes her angry and fearful. I liked the anticipation that I felt as I read this novel, there was always this suspense of what might happen next. When Emma realizes what occurred, I enjoyed watching her trying to remedy the situation. I enjoyed watching the events unfold and then seeing someone trying to fix the situation. Sometimes not always the best of plans worked but the thoughts and ideas coming together made them see other avenues to try. I enjoyed the relationships inside this novel, past and present. I thought the author did an excellent job and I loved the twists that they threw in to give the novel a slightly different angle. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for a honest review.
SherryF More than 1 year ago
Her life is filed with hope and promise, until… An aura of menace is subtle but persistent, and I am wondering how far HE will go in her psychological torture. I really don’t like Joe very much. I think he’s a bit lazy and selfish, though Anne needs to make her needs know. The longer you wait to solve a probe the less the other person understands why you feel the way you do. Communicate people! lol Not sure what I was expecting, but the tangled web Mary Torjussen weaves makes it hard to put the book down. The damaged characters all have a special role to play and are pivotal to the story. Twisted, mess with your mind, psychological thriller. I won the book and voluntarily reviewed The Girl I Used To Be by Mary Torjussen.
MonnieR More than 1 year ago
Que up a married woman who's overcome a secret past. Now a successful businesswoman, she's "taken advantage of" by a shady character who's now sending mysterious messages and demeaning photos. She can't go to the police, nor trust any of her friends to stay mum, because her husband might find out. And if he does, it's for sure he'll immediately stop loving her and take away the young son she loves so much. Instead, she decides to handle everything all by herself - meaning that she must up the ante on her lies until the muck threatens to bury her kneecaps. Stop me if you've read this one before. I have - several times. In fact, it's not all that different from the author's first book, "Gone Without a Trace." Although both are well written (which, for the record, is why I'm quite comfortable awarding 4 stars), I can't say I was fond of any of the characters in either book. Here's how it goes: After moving on from her teenage trauma, Gemma Brogan is married to a stay-at-home husband, has a young son named Rory and owns a real estate firm in England. The real estate industry is slowing, though, and to her growing dismay, Gemma's husband Joe just doesn't seem interested in finding a job to boost their income and allow her to slow down her own work pace. The at-home resentment builds, and then Gemma takes an overnight trip to an industry conference where, by her own admission, she gets thoroughly drunk. She can't recall much of what happened, but she knows it was nothing good when she gets an explicit photo and a few other telling messages. To her credit, she does speak with a policewoman, but the discussion never goes anywhere because, remember, she's terrified that someone might find out. And that's where I pretty much tuned out. As I emphasized in my review of the author's first book, I've got zero tolerance for whining, paranoid females who, instead of taking charge, keep digging their own holes deeper (and, as my late mother was fond of saying, don't "have the sense God gave a little gosling.") That said, I kept at it, mostly because I'd accepted an advance copy in exchange for an honest review and simply won't go back on my word. And in the end, honestly, I'm quite sure those who don't share my dislike of wimpy "heroines" will enjoy this book. It hits all the requisite high notes to qualify as a psychological thriller, serves up twists, turns and surprises - at least for those who haven't traveled this road before - and even comes with what I call a Robert Browning ending ("God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world"). For all of you, then, what's not to like? Go for it!
Cyndy G S More than 1 year ago
This book opens with Gemma and her good friends on the way to an end of the year celebration. Summer is starting and everyone will be going off to College after vacation. Inevitably there is too much alcohol consumed and Gemma finds herself in a life altering and horrible situation. The problem is while Gemma knows that she has been violated in the worst way, she feels guilty. Fast forward to the present; Gemma is now married to Joe a stay at home Dad, has a young son and a successful real estate business. After a night away from home, a dinner with someone that she probably should never have had and too much wine, Gemma wakes up knowing that something might have happened but unfortunately she just cannot remember. Hold on tight because the thrill ride started from that point on and just kept building. Someone is taunting Gemma with photos and threats, Gemma’s life just seems to unravel as she tells lie after lie to her husband. This is an edge of your seat type of psychological thriller that I love to devour. This story drew me in with its unrelenting twists and turns into Gemma’s past and present. I enjoyed every page of this intense and gripping book. If you love a bit of a twist and a well written psychological thriller then you will enjoy this book. I liked the fact that it was told from different POV’s . This author did a great job of character building.
Xkoqueen More than 1 year ago
The Girl I Used to Be is really about two girls and how one fateful night changed them dramatically. The premise of lost memories and blackmailing is absolutely intriguing. The haunting memories of Gemma’s past magnify the frightening situation she currently finds herself in. Author Mary Torjussen slowly sets up her main narrator, Gemma, through the first half of the book. The daily tedium of her job, the longing to have more time with her son, Rory, and the resentment towards her stay-at-home husband is absolutely draining. Whether you abhor or tolerate cheating, it is easy to empathize with Gemma’s need for some attention. However, in part two of the book, the plot tension ramps and the action picks up dramatically. The blackmail threats make Gemma fearful, but it doesn’t feel like there is much of a physical threat. Certainly, the situations are uncomfortable, and the fear of her husband finding out is palpable. When Gemma stumbles onto a major clue, she becomes the amateur sleuth who solves not only the blackmailing mystery, but she also exposes a manipulative socio-path. The Girl I Used to Be is a story of jealously, malice, and revenge. Gemma is an interesting character, her protégé’s behavior is a bit questionable, and the antagonist is truly evil. The untenable situation they find themselves in will have you on the edge of your seat. 3.5 stars #TheGirlIUsedToBe
ZR1000 More than 1 year ago
A life spiraling out of control… Owning a real estate company is hard work for a married woman and mother of a three year old but it was Gemma Brogan’s aspiration and a job she values. She has an arrangement with her husband, who stays at home to raise their son, which she sometimes regrets, she envies the time spent with their son that she seems to miss more and more of due to the demands of the job as the sales market is slow. All marriages are a give and take but compound that with lies and things can unravel quickly. Why the lies? We all tell the small lies, when we want time to ourselves and/or don’t want to deal with something in a particular moment, and those rarely cause harm. But when you actively seek to keep a secret from your partner and there are things you’re unhappy with in your marriage then everything spirals out of control and Gemma has something to hide from the husband that she loves: an indiscretion with a prospective client that has turned menacing. While in London for annual industry training Gemma had dinner with a charming man she had shown properties to before and she drinks too much and then doesn’t remember what happened afterwards. Soon packages, emails, and texts containing photographs, videos, and suggestive items begin arriving, including a recorded conversation where she seriously complains about her husband. What this person wants from her is not made apparent but the harassment increases in its intensity. Gemma has to keep this away from her husband for she could lose her family if she doesn’t. Paranoia rapidly sets in as she tries to resolve the situation alone; she questions everything that happens and the motives of everyone around her. The loss of control takes a toll on her physically and doesn’t go unnoticed, it causes her to reminisce about another time in her past when everything had fallen apart. Has karma come a calling? This psychological suspense thriller was unputdownable, the way the author pens the characters draws you deeper and deeper into their lives. The reader is trying to figure out what is going on as much as the main protagonist: a distraught woman with relatable flaws willing, needing to fight for what she loves. She’s in a nightmare scenario that could cost her everything, the conspiracy that’s working against her is wicked when revealed; a karma comes full circle but whose karma? There are multiple twists to this engrossing story which is set in England so there are British phrasings. An advanced reading copy was obtained from the publisher’s First to Read program.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
WOW! WOW! WOW! This book took only a short time for me to really get interested in it. And, when it took off, WOW!, it took me on a whirlwind of a story. There were so many plot twists, the author should be looking to some whiplash lawsuits. HA! JK Seriously, I am still shaking, thinking that dude could be out. He's evil incarnate. I do have to say, this was the second book by this author that I have read. I went back and read my review on the first one and remembered the book. I do remember Hannah getting on my nerves, a lot. However, I can say that I will remember this one for it's plot twists and just the overall suspense that I lived in while reading the book. Don't start this book at bedtime! Thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read program for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
UpAllNightBB More than 1 year ago
Holy Cow! I was already a fan of Mary Torjussen, but The Girl I Used to Be far surpassed my expectations. What a fantastically twisty psychological thriller! When Gemma Brogan, owner of her own real estate company takes a handsome gentleman out house hunting, she has no idea her life is about to change forever. When they meet up at a hotel while she is attending a conference, they enjoy an innocent enough client dinner together, but for some reason Gemma realizes her memories of that night may not be as clear as she thought. She finds herself receiving tidbits of the evening that she can’t recall, and pretty soon she is cornered and cannot find a way out of the messy maze of lies she finds herself thrust into. As she works harder and harder to hide the truth from her husband, she finds herself deeper and deeper in trouble. Will Gemma be able to figure out what is going on before it is too late? This was such a well plotted thriller that kept me turning pages late into the night; a single sitting read for sure! For those who enjoy the twisty mind baffling books like Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, this is your next great read. I had a concept of where the story was going, but there were still unexpected twists that I was unable to anticipate before they came. I absolutely relished this book. What an easy to read writing style with a great story line and believable characters. Grab some snacks, a drink and a cozy spot to curl up and read this one cover to cover. A page turning 5 star read! **Review by Amy, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night with Books**
MackenzieH More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, psychological thriller that will make you wonder what you would do if this happened to you!!! I am a big fan of Mary Torjussen’s last book. As a psychologist, I always find books that deal with the character’s mindset effectively to be so compelling, and this is an area Mary really excels in as an author. This book was one I read in two days (which, for someone who works full-time and has a dissertation to write is quite an endorsement). The steady building of suspense in this book had the reader feeling slightly off-kilter along with the protagonist—and that is what made it so hard to put down! I found myself skipping my lunch break to read a bit more because I just had to know what would happen next! PLOT Gemma owns her own real estate business and loves her career. She has a wonderful husband and a beautiful son, but she also has some darkness in her past. Though Gemma loves her husband and they agreed for him to stay home with their young son while she builds her business, she finds herself occasionally resenting the time he gets with their son. But Gemma would never do anything to jeopardize her family. Until one day, Gemma is out with a client for dinner, and the next thing she knows she wakes up alone in her hotel room with no memory of the night and a blistering hangover… Gemma would never cheat on her husband, but she can’t seem to remember the events of the evening. Sure, she used to be a heavy drinker, but that is in her past, isn’t it? As Gemma tries to shake off the sense of unease she had that fateful night, she begins getting reminders in the mail. First, she receives a receipt from that night. But why would the hotel mail her a copy of her receipt? Then, she gets an incriminating photo. As Gemma’s world begins to unravel, and the reminders get increasingly threatening, Gemma wonders if she will ever remember what happened that night, and if she does, will it be too late to save her marriage?? REFLECTION Wow, I loved this book! Though I loved Mary’s first book, there is never a guarantee that the second one will live up to the first. In fact, often it is hard for an author to write a book that lives up to what was loved about the first book—but Mary Torjussen has done it! The slow but steady build in suspense was masterful. At the beginning, this could have just been a book about the struggles of work and marriage. And yet, there was always the sense of unease. That sense built throughout the book until the plot burst onto the page. I found myself at about 35% in shock and horror about what was happening. I couldn’t imagine being in Gemma’s spot! What would I do??? And the memory gap was masterful. The notion throughout the book that you can almost grasp the memory, but it escapes you—that is something we can all understand, and it really added to the suspense. I loved Gemma. She was damaged yet strong. Shockingly strong, in fact. In so many of these psychological thrillers, the protagonist is such a mess, but Gemma was not that way. And for that reason, it was easy to put yourself in her place. To imagine what would happen if you were forced to keep a secret from those you love most, in part because you’re not entirely sure about what the secret is!
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks More than 1 year ago
I loved my introduction to Mary Torjussen with Gone Without a Trace, so I dove into The Girl I Used to Be with complete confidence that it would pull me in and captivate me. Indeed, this was a powerful story that left me waiting for the other shoe to drop as Gemma's life was turned upside down by anonymous harassment and old wounds reopened by painful memories. The queen of plot twists once again takes a plot that seems straight forward on the surface and leads readers toward a thought-provoking conclusion. I am amazed at how the story transformed from what I expected it to be about to something that went deeper, all while still managing to be very suspenseful. Mary Torjussen knows how to hold her audience captive and it shows as she brings the threads of her story together with fantastic pacing and realistic characterization. There was not a single moment that I wanted to stop reading and say, "When is this going to go somewhere?" I knew from the first chapter that Gemma's story was leading to something explosive and mind-boggling and Mary Torjussen proved me right, and then some! Obviously, I'm dying for her next amazing novel! *ARC provided via First to Read in consideration for review*
EmmabBooks More than 1 year ago
Gripping psychological thriller, with plenty of twists Gemma is working 7 days a week building up her estate agency business whilst her husband looks after their son. A quick drink during a business trip away has horrible repercussions and things quickly spiral out of Gemma's control, both at work and at home. Though Gemma and her husband love each other, small things are not right with their marriage, but there is never enough time to sit down and sort things out. Then the business trip takes place, and plunges Gemma into a chilling series of events that result in her telling a series of small lies to her husband, which then mount up and turn an explainable event into something he will find unbelievable. Set mostly near Chester, in England, this is a thriller with many cliffhangers and, about half way through, a massive twist which makes the story even more chilling. Meanwhile more discord looms in Gemma's marriage, and Gemma is scared as to how it is all going to end. An unsettling and very gripping psychological thriller, that had me absorbed throughout as I waited to see what Gemma would do next. 4*s from me, as some of the themes were too dark for me, however I couldn't stop reading it - I just had to know how it would all end.