Julie has picked "The Girl Before" by Rena Olsen for us to read in November. "She lives in Iowa but comes to MN a lot. A friend I am with has some sort of connection to her, and it looks super interesting," she said.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rena Olsen is a writer, therapist, teacher, sometimes singer, and
eternal optimist. By day she tries to save the world as a school
therapist, and at night she creates new worlds in her writing. Her debut
novel, THE GIRL BEFORE, was available from Putnam 8/9/2016.
Rena Olsen grew up moving around every few years, following her
minister father from church to church, and her exposure to so many
different people and environments sparked an interest in human nature.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in
marriage and family therapy. A licensed therapist, she works in Des