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Title: Before We Were Innocent
Author: Ella Berman
Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Page Count: 380
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
A summer in Greece for three best friends ends in the unthinkable when only two return home in this new novel from Ella Berman. . . .
Ten years ago, after a sun-soaked summer spent in Greece, best friends Bess and Joni were cleared of having any involvement in their friend Evangeline’s death. But that didn’t stop the media from ripping apart their teenage lives like vultures.
While the girls were never convicted, Joni, ever the opportunist, capitalized on her newfound infamy to become a motivational speaker. Bess, on the other hand, resolved to make her life as small and controlled as possible so she wouldn’t risk losing everything all over again. And it almost worked. . . .
Except now Joni is tangled up in a crime eerily similar to that one fateful night in Greece. And when she asks Bess to come back to LA to support her, Bess has a decision to make.
Is it finally time to face up to what happened that night, exposing herself as the young woman she once was and maybe still is? And what if she doesn’t like what she finds?
Before We Were Innocent by Ella Berman is a suspenseful drama novel with a mystery to be solved from the past and one in the current time. This of course means that the story in Before We Were Innocent happens in both timelines.
Ten years ago Bess, Joni and Evangeline had been the best of friends and after high school had chosen to spend the summer abroad. The trio spent the summer in Greece but by the end of the trip only Bess and Joni returned home.
Over the past ten years Joni has lived her life as a motivational speaker while Bess is just the opposite hiding away from the spotlight. Bess never expected after all these years to find Joni on her doorstep caught up in another disappearance and needing an alibi.
Picking up Before We Were Innocent by Ella Berman I wasn’t quite sure what to expect thinking this one may be more of a thriller than it was. The story that I found though was an interesting one with the slow build of what had happened in the past all the while the mystery of just what was happening now. If the pacing had been a bit faster from the start I would have a solid four stars for this one but the slower start left it at three and a half for me with the thought I’d definitely try something from the author again.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Ella Berman grew up in both London and Los Angeles and worked at Sony Music before starting the clothing brand London Loves LA. She lives in London with her husband, James, and their dog, Rocky. The Comeback is her first novel, coming August 11, 2020.