ROMANCE

Before We Were Strangers

Mira: Harlequin. Oct. 2018. 395p. ISBN 9780778369943. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488082979. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
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Twenty-three years ago, Sloane McBride's mother vanished without a trace. Most people thought she'd just walked out on her difficult marriage, but five-year-old Sloane heard something that night that still makes her wonder. Now a world-famous model, Sloane is back in the small Texas town she fled at 18, determined to get some answers, even if they rip apart what's left of her family. Fearing her powerful, autocratic father is somehow responsible but hoping she's wrong, Sloane begins her search only to be challenged at every turn by those who will do anything to see that the past stays buried. But Sloane won't give up, and as the danger grows, the passion between her and police officer Micah Evans, her high school ex, flares back into life, adding romance to a tale rife with jealousy, dysfunction, and deception.
VERDICT Realistic, often deeply flawed characters; well-handled multiple viewpoints; and a dark, twisty plot that will leave readers unsure until the very end keep the pages turning in this engrossing, insightful romantic thriller. Discussion questions are included. Novak (Face Off) lives in the Sacramento, CA, area.

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