When ticking the ‘genre’ of this book for this post I added romantic suspense because – though not generally a fan of ‘romance’ as such – I was completely taken with the burgeoning romance that underpinned much of this novel.
The book opens as our two leads, Alice and Noah meet, and I adored their relationship and the way it grew. It felt… well, um romantic. Of course it’s hampered by a backstory of long-kept secrets, guilt and death, so it’s not all rainbows and kittens.
You Don't Know Me
by Sara Foster
Published by Simon & Schuster AU
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: General Fiction, Romantic Suspense
Lizzie Burdett was eighteen when she vanished, and Noah Carruso has never forgotten her. She was his first crush, his unrequited love. She was also his brother’s girlfriend.
Tom Carruso hasn’t been home in over a decade. He left soon after Lizzie disappeared, under a darkening cloud of suspicion, and now he’s back for the inquest into Lizzie’s death – intent on telling his side of the story.
As the inquest looms, Noah meets Alice Pryce on holiday. They fall for each other fast and hard, but Noah can’t bear to tell Alice his deepest fears. And Alice is equally stricken – she carries a terrible secret of her own.
Is the truth worth telling if it will destroy everything?
This book made me ponder the whole bubble that is ‘new love’. I’ve actually never been there myself but it seems like a glorious place to be and I enjoyed visiting vicariously through our two leads.
Of course, speaking of bubbles… Noah and Alice had the opportunity to meet outside of the sphere of their own messy lives; though they’re (mostly) honest with each other about some of the baggage they carry.
Noah’s been living (or just existing) with the uncertainty and guilt over the disappearance of his brother Tom’s girlfriend while Alice’s father’s in jail and she’s escaped her old life for something safer. And different.
Noah’s excelling at running the family business but it’s keeping him entrenched in his past when he’s starting to realise he’s keen to move on.
Noah’s bubble with Alice bursts when he has to return home to the family business and a coroners inquest into the disappearance of Lizzie over a decade earlier. His estranged brother was, and perhaps still is, a strong suspect and there’s no love lost between the pair. Noah’s dreading Tom’s return and the upheaval it – and the inquest – will cause.
Meanwhile Alice’s father is injured in a prison brawl and fighting for his life. It couldn’t be a worse time for Alice and Noah to be exploring a new relationship, but in many ways it’s what keeps them both sane and I loved the level of (almost) unfaltering support they offer each other.
But there are secrets upon secrets and some they’ve kept as a form of self-preservation and others they’ve packed away.
Noah and Alice’s families are very disparate. But that sense of family, of loyalty, of legacy and of guilt is strong in both. There is however, also an underlying theme of servitude and the realisation you can’t live someone else’s life.
I’m not sure if I’m offering any spoilers by saying there are no real ‘lives in danger’ moments here. No evil. As such. Just a sense of things coming to a head. Impending… well, not doom but not necessarily something good. Dread, perhaps.
This is the third novel I’ve read by Foster and they’ve all been different, though with underlying subtexts around trust, secrets and guilt; and all with consistently engaging plots and characters, the latter usually embroiled in complex relationships. I should mention the West Australia-dwelling author has also (helpfully) included some book club questions in the back which I’m sure will prove useful to readers more sociable than moi!
You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster will be published in Australia by Simon & Schuster on 1 November 2019.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.