Before You Knew My Name

Bublitz, Jacqueline

  7 Reviews

With the Big Apple beckoning, eighteen-year-old Alice Lee sees no future in small-town Wisconsin, especially with the recent loss of her mother. With very little to her name, Alice sets forth, only to meet her demise.

When Ruby Jones, recently arrived from Melbourne and ready to embrace a new start stateside, finds Alice's body by the Hudson River, she feels compelled to find out who the victim is and what happened to her.

Not only does this story tick all the boxes for a gripping crime novel, but Alice's clever posthumous narration and an emphasis on the humanity of the victim offers a thoughtful feminist exploration of how the world views young women.

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"This is not just 'girl meets her fate in New York' - there's so much more to it than that. A thought-provoking view of how the world treats young women. I do recommend it."

"I really enjoyed this book. Some beautiful relationships are described and we're reminded that every woman who is murdered is a person with their own story."

"I found it surprisingly easy to suspend my disbelief and was able to accept the dead Alice as a character."

"A credible and thought-provoking crime novel with a very good feminist twist."

"Gripping whodunnit with depth."

"This is a book about love and human connection and is beautifully written."

"It's rather gripping and has a satisfying ending."

"The past and present of both women are intertwined effectively."

"Although this is a novel centred around a murder, it isn't violent or dominated by 'solving' the murder."



AUCK 353
Unexpectedly enjoyable, given the subject/theme. Very well-written, doesn't seem like a debut novel. Both main characters we wanted to stay with; beautiful moments in the book e.g. the connection between Noah and Ruby at the end.
CHCH 336
The group generally really enjoyed this book, although all found it difficult to get into. Very cleverly written. Characters interesting and believable. New York setting good, places relatable. Some of the discussion questions were frustrating and long. The group had a very lively evening discussing the many aspects of the book.
CHCH 537
We enjoyed the book, a very easy read. The characters were believable and it was beautifully written. Difficult to read for a couple of women with teenage daughters. We had no empathy for Mr Jackson - we felt No.5 question was superfluous. The book notes were good and certainly got us talking about the fascination with women who go missing.
CHCH 537
A very easy read, enjoyed the reading, beautifully written. Reminded us of 'The Lovely Bones', great to hear the victim's voice. The age old imbalance of power between men and vulnerable young women. All the men bar Noah, had the image of narcissism. Characters are believable.
TAUR 016
All but one of our members really enjoyed this book. Although an easy read, we felt it had depth and gave insights into human nature and, in particular, relationships between male and female and the imbalance of power. Other themes of hope, bravery and sisterhood made for an interesting and thoughtful read. We all liked the viewpoint adopted - that of a 'dead' girl, while recognising it has been used before. The intrigue of who the perpetrator was, kept us involved, and wondering. Hints dropped in were never too obvious. Cleverly written by a Kiwi writer which adds to its appeal.
We all enjoyed this book and felt we would have loved to have explored some of the other characters like Noah, Lennie and Sue. An impressive debut novel, and great to read a Kiwi novelist. The subject matter was interesting and kept us engaged.
7/10 really enjoyed this book - found the format different but good. Lots of discussion re keeping safe, being cautious, living your life well, and of the anxiety, loneliness and sometimes fear young women live with. Thought that the writing was excellent - insightful and real. Highly recommend.