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The Girl Before

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Rena Olsen

Narrated By: Brittany Pressley

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: August 2016

Duration: 12 hours 23 minutes


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.


  • David Sanford

    Really loved this book. Kept me going again!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Amy Griffith

    Predictable and the writing was not very sophisticated. The same phrases were used over and over to the point of frustration. Narrator's voice was very unnatural.

  • Cathy Brennon

    A riveting book, looking at an intriguing situation from the aspect of a victim who initially cannot see she is one. I really enjoyed this book although it was not the usual. It was also an eye opener to a subject I have little understanding of and had not given a lot of thought to. I found the story to be both frightening and empowering. A compelling read and one of the best audio books I have read to date.

  • Tania Gion

    Disturbing, yet fascinating story

  • Sherri Barclift

    Amazing listen. I loved it. It is a bit haunting as well, but what a great debut!!

  • lisa patro lorentz

    Easily one of the best audio books I've heard in a year! Easy to get into and captivating, I ended up listening to it during work hours as well as when doing dinner because I wanted to know what would happen. Thumbs up!

  • Kylea Harvey

    I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes I find books that flick between the past & present a bit confusing but this was brilliant. It's easy to comprehend where you were at each point, and although the story wasn't told in chronological order it always made perfect sense. I love the balance of being controlled & taking control. It was frightening & empowering. I loved it!!!

  • Katie Reed

    I could not put this book down, well on pause, since I listened to the audio version. This book is disturbing because there are so many people who are in the human trafficking world each day, but a really good read. The reader on the audio book does an excellent job reading this story.

Girl Before

by Rena Olsen

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Girl Before, Rena Olsen