They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.
Rose Wilks’ life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect. Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for Luke’s death, or whether she remains a threat to society. As Cate is drawn in, she begins to doubt her own judgement.Where is the line between love and obsession, can justice be served and, if so… by what means?
New edition of internationally-bestselling thriller.
The Woman Before Me is one of those novels that gets under your skin. Its challenging, bleak and very dark, but intelligently written. What I admired was Dugdall’s ability to get to the very heart of her characters. Rose is damaged by a childhood blighted by death and rejection, with no one to point her in the right direction her adult life sees her cling to what she believes is love, and the loss of her baby pushes her over the edge. I couldn’t make my mind up if I sympathised with Rose or indeed if I actually liked her as she struggled with reality, with what was right and wrong. She is highly manipulative and psychologically damaged and it did make me wonder that if her childhood had been completely different , if she would have made the same choices or acted as she did.
Cat on the other hand is definitely not psychologically damaged but she finds Rose a challenge. It was interesting to read as Cat slowly fell under Rose’s spell and how she began to question her professionalism and objectivity. The fact that Cat was also a mother made the story that much more believable and showed how difficult it is to leave emotions out of work life, it made Cat seem more human.
I liked that Rose and Cat each had their own chapters, their chance to tell their story. Rose’s in particular was so well done, as she used a black book, almost like writing a letter to inform the reader of her background, her thoughts and the reasoning behind her actions. It allowed Dugdall to really get to the heart of Rose and her human psyche.
Ruth Dugdall’s professional background as a prison probation officer meant the story was steeped in reality and it was brilliant to gain an insight into the prison system and her profession. Yes, this is a work of fiction but Dugdall must have encountered similar situations, perhaps not as extreme, that lent the story a measure of real life anthenticity.
I loved the twist towards the end and Rose’s story needs a sequel please!
About the author
Ruth worked as a Probation Officer for almost a decade, working in high security prisons
with numerous high-risk criminals. Her writing is heavily influenced by her professional
background, providing authenticity and credibility to the crime genre.
Follow her on Twitter @RuthDugdall
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