Life Before by Carmel Reilly. (2019).
**4 out of 5 stars**
Lori is taking her kids to school when the police find her to deliver the news that her brother Scott has been injured and hospitalised in a hit and run. Lori hasn’t seen Scott in decades but seems to be his only contact. But if she reconnects then she’ll need to tell her own family about her hidden history. 20 years ago, her family’s lives and futures were torn to shreds. In the present, Lori is forced to confront their devastating past while she pieces together Scott’s current life.
This is a novel that is a slow burner yet still holds the reader’s interest really well. Lori and her brother have a truly tragic history; a history which involves horrific and devastating events that occur to a normal everyday ordinary family. Featuring dual timelines (the present, 2016, narrated by Lori and the past, 1993, primarily narrated by Lori and Scott’s mum Pam), I think this story conveys the message that you can’t outrun your past and just shut it away. The story also shows the widespread fallout of one tragedy on a number of people and the consequences of that tragedy are far-reaching. There were a few unanswered questions for me at the end and I would have liked a bit more closure around certain things however I still think that this book was really enjoyable and well written; I’m happy to recommend this one.