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Preview Reviews: You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster

October 30, 2019

He’s hiding a dark secret … But so is she. You Don’t Know Me is a stunning new thriller about the burden of shame from blockbuster author Sara Foster. It will ask you the time old question: Is the truth worth telling if it will destroy everything?

Read what our Preview readers thought:

Oh my favourite, an Aussie based book by …ok Sara Foster is from the UK, but she does live in Western Australia. Was hooked right from the start of the book. What happened to Lizzie?? Sara Foster you had me with your previous book ‘Hidden Hours’ and you didn’t disappoint with ‘You Don’t Know Me’. I must say this is my favourite so far and can’t wait for your next book. It was a quick page turner that I didn’t want to put down. I wanted to know more about Noah and Alice and would their relationship work out with all the secrets. And they did have secrets. If you like a book with some crime, mystery and of course family relationships …. You have a winner in this one. The relationships and family dynamics kept me reading on…… will Noah walk away from the family, will he stay with Alice, what’s Alice’s secret, will Alice’s dad survive, and Tom, is he coming back. While at the same time, we are left wondering …… what happened to Alice? One book I would recommend to friends. Loved ‘You Don’t Know Me’, well done Sara on an awesome Aussie book. – Maria, SA, 5 stars

Sara Foster’s “You Don’t Know Me” is impossible to put down. The book explores the burden of carrying secrets in an honest and raw perspective. Every chapter delves deeply into the motivations and desires of the characters, leaving you wanting more. Foster’s writing is captivating, dark and suspenseful. Just when you think you know the ending Foster will surprise you one last time. You will find yourself saying “just one more chapter” till you realise there is no more pages to turn. A truly unforgettable book which I would recommend to any one who loves a thriller. New to her books I will definitely be buying her previous titles and awaiting many more. – Billie, SA, 4 stars

Wow. What a time for fiction in Australia. Sara Foster’s professional skills as a book editor shine through in this tautly woven mystery. I’m left wondering how she possibly does it all – writes, home schools, studies and blogs prolifically. Lovers of Dervla MacTiernan and Holly Throsby should look no further. You’re in for a treat! – Kirsten, WA, 5 stars

You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster is a well paced crime novel with overtones of romance. The narrative highlights the complexities of familial relationships and the burden that lifelong secrets can have. Foster provides layer upon layer of intrigue that is slowly revealed as the story progresses, and an unexpected twist rounds out the book very nicely. A highly satisfying read, will definitely be looking to Sara Foster for future reading material. Thank you Better Reading for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy. – Sarah, VIC, 4 stars

A light read good for a holiday or Sunday afternoon which tells the story of Noah and Alice. On reading the blurb I thought this book was going to be a good bit of crime fiction, but I think that this really falls secondary to the developing romance of Noah and Alice. Romance / love stories aren’t really my thing but it wasn’t such a bad way to break up two very mysterious backgrounds and also bring the characters together. Overall though, I would have preferred more of the suspenseful drama than the lovey dovey romance- it was a bit corny for me at times and the relationship moved super unrealistically fast. I found that the characters were very well developed and each had their own clear personality that a reader could relate and react to. For example, when Tom was present I wanted him to just shut up and stop antagonising! A three star rating from me! – Lisa, SA, 3 stars

Thanks to Better Reading I received an advance (uncorrected proof) copy of You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster. I was intrigued by the main characters, and couldn’t wait to discover what secrets Alice and Noah held… This book was extremely well written, and kept me coming back for more. I’d never read anything by Sara Foster before, but I definitely will be in the future! Obviously I can’t divulge their secrets, but the journey with Alice and Noah, and the discovery of their secrets was a trip I loved taking. Although it’s not my usual type of book, I was fully invested in the story and finished it hoping the future would be better for them both – Ayesha, NSW, 4 stars

You Don’t Know Me is an enigma – the killer’s identity remains a mystery until the final pages of the novel. The author explores family relationships and the pain of young love. Suspense builds until the climax. – Denise, NSW, 4 stars

Loved, loved, loved this book! A fast-paced mystery which kept me guessing until the end. I liked the inclusion of the podcast excerpts which keep you bursting to know what actually happened. Will likely re-read very quickly! – Emma, VIC, 4 stars

Absolutely fabulous. This book has everything to offer. I love how Noah and Alice come together and the suspense that builds around them. The storyline is dramatic with the author not giving too much away at once and leaving the readers guessing until,the last page. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery of ‘You Don’t Know me’. Will be reading more books by Sara Foster. – Therese, NSW, 5 stars

I read a lot in this genre and although it took me a little while to get into ‘You Don’t Know Me’,by page 75 I literally couldn’t put it down. And I became more and more engrossed as I went. Full of tension and suspense, a great Aussie thriller. – Laura, ACT, 4 stars

You Don’t Know Me is a well written story of crime and intrigue told from two different points of view. That of Noah and Alice. Both have past secrets which they keep hidden. The book is fast paced and keeps the reader interested, wanting to know the twist at the end. The inclusion of a podcast interviewing friends and family associated with Lizzie’s disappearance is a modern and inventive way of exploring the crime. I highly recommend You Don’t Know Me as an easy to read, fast paced thriller! – Brenda, NSW, 3 stars

Thank you Better Reading for introducing me to Sara Foster.  YOU DON’T KNOW ME was a pleasure to preview.  An exciting read from the first page to the very last.  I could not read this quick enough and was not disappointed.  I loved Noah and Alice and their story with their past being given out in such a way that I never quite knew what was coming next and just wanted to keep going to find out. Unlike many books this was not predictable and was very real, I did not want this book to end. This is a must read, a  gripping thriller and beautiful love story all wrapped up into a wonderful mystery told so well.  I am certainly looking forward to reading more from Sara Foster. – Debbie, VIC, 5 stars

I loved this book, and was hooked from the beginning! The characters are so relatable, and I was guessing right up until the end. – Cassandra, NSW, 4 stars

The book made me want to keep reading to find out if my theories were correct. I found the relationship between the two main characters a bit of a fantasy rather than a reality but I guess that’s why we read fiction. I would recommend this book if you are just looking for an easy read that doesn’t require too much thought and analysis. – Kim, VIC, 3 stars

You Don’t Know Me by Sarah Foster was an exciting read. I loved this book and I couldn’t put it down. Everytime I thought I knew who did “it” something happened to make me doubt myself. The relationship between siblings and family dynamics can be tricky, even without Noah’s family’s challenges. I felt for him the whole way through the book. I was not expecting the ending at all! Very well written, easy to read, I didn’t want it to end. – Cassandra, QLD, 5 stars

Foster’s sixth novel is very cleverly plotted: there are numerous red herrings and several parties try to shift suspicion away from themselves by implicating others. The agent of Lizzie’s ultimate fate is unlikely to be on the radar of even the most astute reader. This would be a five-star read but for one essential detail about the likely actions of a seventeen-year-old girl that stretches the reader’s credibility a bit too far. Still an excellent piece of Australian crime fiction. – Marianne, NSW, 4 stars

This book was well written and really kept me turning the pages. An awesome read that really kept me guessing till the end! – Gaye, NSW, 4 stars

Always love a good mystery. The disappearance of Lizzie a decade ago leads to an unexpected outcome for the Carruso family. Really liked the characters of Noah and Alice, particularly during their time in Thailand. The twists and turns of the book kept me entertained and, while I guessed the outcome of one, I had no idea about the other (no spoilers!!). Thanks Better Reading for the advance copy of this book. – Donna, VIC, 4 stars

You dont know me is a gripping romantic thriller. It shows the power of love to protect those we care about and the power of lies to destroy us. – Kristy, NSW, 4 stars

I was so excited to win a copy of You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster from Better Reading! This book was an easy to read, page-turner filled with twists, romance (the chemistry between Noah and Alice was really good!) and interesting characters that I loved, including their own background stories. I enjoyed my fist book by this author and look forward to reading more of her books in the future. Thankyou! – Jennifer, WA, 3 stars

Sara Foster delivers an intriguing blend of mystery, crime and family drama in her new novel, ‘You Don’t Know Me.’ Noah Carruso knows more than he’s letting on about the night his brother’s girlfriend, Lizzie Burdett mysteriously vanished. Noah holds his secret close for over ten years until an inquest is held into Lizzie’s disappearance and Noah must decide between his conscience and family loyalty. Then to make life more tumultuous, he meets Alice Pryor who looks disturbingly like Lizzie and they fall in love. But Alice is fighting demons of her own. Written in current tense ‘You Don’t Know Me’ is an easy story to follow with an unpredictable final twist. The characters are believable and Foster’s attention to setting and dialogue certainly adds to the story. If you enjoy reading crime without excessive emphasis on forensics, if you relish unpacking the Pandora’s box of family relationships, you will love Sara Foster’s ‘You Don’t Know Me’. – Dianne, SA, 4 stars

You Don’t Know Me had me hooked in from the beginning and it was difficult to put down. I was intrigued to find out what really happened to Lizzie Burdett and the author kept me guessing and had me captivated to the end. With believable characters dealing with issues related to love, family, relationships, secrets and trust, You Don’t Know Me was a great whodunnit thriller with plenty of drama and a highly satisfying read. Thanks to Simon Schuster Australia and Better Reading Australia for providing an advanced copy for review. – Maridel, NSW, 4 stars

Wow, what a read. Loved this book and finished it over two days in two reads. The story is compelling – ‘what happens next?’ is uppermost in your mind when you’re tempted to put the book down. Noah meets Alice in Thailand and they strike up an instant friendship. Two young Australians doing their own thing overseas who cross paths, not knowing how their lives would become changed forever because of things that have happened in their past back home in Australia. The two main characters are so likeable which always helps me to enjoy a story. The effects from their past crushing events would be traumatic for anyone, especially such young lives. Sara Foster takes us there and lets us experience what Noah and Alice endured and are consequently still enduring. The maturity of these young people is obvious and helps the reader understand their actions. The dangling of hints and notions to what has happened in the past is excruciatingly clever. The other family members are big players in the story’s background, but these facts are tantalisingly drip fed through the chapters. Family are not always what they seem… Many thanks to Better Reading and Simon and Schuster for this ARC. – Marilyn, WA, 5 stars

This book wasn’t to my liking. In fact, I only read half of it. I didn’t want to go any further. The plot idea was great. The delivery was slow and soppy. – Erin, VIC, 2 stars

This would make a good holiday read as it draws you in. I liked the use of different locations which added flavour. The relationships were varied and well drawn. The sibling rivalry between two of the characters was particularly well done. The book drew you in and you wanted to know how it would all unfold. I liked the use of a true crime podcast. – Kecia, NSW, 3 stars

A whodunnit book that’s true to its genre. You Don’t Know Me is a story told by the main characters Noah and Alice and the chapters alternate between them. They meet in Thailand where Noah is on holiday and Alice is working as a language teacher. Right from the start there’s a sexual chemistry between them that continues throughout the book and which was a pleasant surprise in this story. The intimate scenes are never explicit, rather the author leaves most of it up the imagination of the reader. Along the way, the author craftily drops mysterious hints to add suspense to the story and build up to a finale with a double twist. My main remark is that some of the characters quite flat. They are either good or bad with little space for the grey zone in between. Even so, I could not put down the book once I got to the final 80 pages. I really wanted to know what happened to Lizzie and how Noah and Alice’s relationship would evolve. – Gwen, VIC, 3 stars

This book summer up in one word WOW!! I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump but this book pulled me right out of that! I felt like I was there every minute of the way! And the book unfolded bit by bit making it so difficult to put down!! This is a must read for 2019 – Sarah, QLD, 5 stars

You don’t know me review Sara Fosters novel You Don’t Know Me is a perfect holiday read, the characters are intriguing and figuring out their pasts keeps the pages turning. If you like other Australian authors such as Jane Harper or are a fan of true crime podcasts like The Teachers Pet then this story of love, tragedy and mystery is the book for you. This book features rich descriptions of hot, busy Bangkok and the coast and bush lands around Sydney, I could heard the sound of cicadas as I read the Sydney parts. Overall a really enjoyable novel with a plot that keeps you guessing til the end. – Chloe, ACT, 3 stars

Loved it. It has great characters with strong personalities and characteristic. I loved the characters and wanted the best for them in their life hoping everything would work out. It had nice mixture of crime, love, family and trust and also secrets that needed telling. Loved every bit of it this story kept me guessing right to the end. Would recommend this to others. – Beth, TAS, 5 stars

In ‘You Don’t Know Me’ Sara Foster avoids police procedural and deftly takes us to new ground in solving a likely murder. With the looming inquest into the disappearance 12 years earlier of Lizzie Burdett tensions are building in the small Australian community of Belhaven. An local investigative journalist’s podcast is unspooling family cine film memories, raising questions, introducing red herrings and adding significantly to the unfolding drama. Bricks and punches are thrown, suspects are having their say, while those silenced at the time of the incident are remaining quiet. Dynamics between families and former friends, and within the Carruso family itself are examined, revealing jealousy, bullying and familial obligations that all muddy the waters. What happened on that doorstep that turned the brothers against each other, why is Noah Carruso enamored with a woman resembling the missing Lizzie, and what is her secret? The culprit and their shameful reason for the act is an unexpected reveal worth the read. Sara Foster’s turn of phrase are evocative, the image of roadside memorial flower petals wilting and withering like the impetus of the search for Lizzie being particularly vivid and emotive. Although I would have preferred less ‘steaminess’ in Thailand. – Anita, QLD, 4 stars

‘You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster is a magnificent new thriller that follows the highs and lows of family bonds- the strong connections that either bring out the worst or the best in people. When Lizzie Burdett mysteriously vanishes at only eighteen, her young life is tragically cut short without a trace, desperately leaving her loved ones searching for answers. Noah Caruso admired Lizzie from a distance… while his big brother Tom and Lizzie shared a high school romance. Under a cloud of suspicion and query Tom fled shortly after Lizzie disappeared and has only returned home to attend the inquest, to finally seek answers a decade too late. Tension between the two brothers is palpable. On a holiday to Thailand to unwind before the Inquest, Noah and Alice fall deeply for one another after a chance meeting. Alice, who is hiding from her own secrets on the other side of the world. A remarkable book that keeps you on your toes, pulls you in and makes you desperate to know the truth! – Lydia, VIC, 4 stars

Enjoyable, intriguing and a page turner with a surprising twist The story is set in Thailand and Sydney Northern beaches and is both a murder mystery and romance. Eighteen year old Lizzie Burdett went missing over a decade ago and infatuated Noah Carruso has never forgotten her, she’s in his dreams and he’s hiding a secret. Lizzie’s boyfriend is Noah’s older brother Tom. On the night Lizzie disappeared she was seen arguing with Tom. Tom left town under suspicion after Lizzie disappeared and is back in town for an inquest into her death. Prior to the the approaching inquest Noah has met Alice on holiday in Thailand who incidentally looks similar in appearance to Lizzie and he’s fallen for her. Alice is living in Thailand to escape Australia and heal her wounds. Noah and Alice both carry terrible secrets in their pasts and there are some interesting and complicated family dynamics thrown into the mix. I really enjoyed this book, it was an easy read and the storyline held me captivated throughout – Gloria, SA, 4 stars

“You Don’t Know me” was an enjoyable easy to read “who dunnit” story. The realistic characters, the love story and the building suspense of what really happened to Lizzie kept me engrossed. The twist was a surprise and I had no idea who had committed the crime until it was revealed which, for me makes a good story. The story of Alice and her dad was almost a side story and I would have liked more on them… maybe another book in there? – Lee-Anne, VIC, 3 stars

Boy meets girl. They fall instantly in love and have one splendid week in Thailand before reality begins to bite. Noah returns to Sydney, and an inquest into the disappearance of his brother’s girlfriend twelve years before. Alice to her father’s hospital bedside where he is in a coma after being bashed in prison. You Don’t Know Me is a story of families, secrets and the shame that secrets can bring. I thoroughly enjoyed taking the journey with Noah and Alice and would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you like a story that stays with you days later, knocking at your soul. – Daniella, QLD, 4 stars

“You don’t know me” by Sara Foster ticks all my boxes. It had me hooked from the first page and I just couldn’t put it down until I had it finished. The plot has unexpected twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end. I really loved that there were so many levels to the story and the characters, the love story, the mysterious disappearance and the family dramas. The characters are so well drawn that you feel like you know them and you feel invested in their future. This is the first book I have read by Sara Foster and I can tell you now that I will be reading ALL of her other books. – Leigh, VIC, 5 stars

Wow, wow, wow!! You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster is a real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down from the first chapter. The complex and, sometimes uncomfortable, relationships between the characters, kept me always wanting to read more. The mystery around Lizzie’s disappearance has you guessing until the end. Where is she? The love between Noah and Alice. Will they stay together, or will their individual pain tear them apart?? Will Noah escape the family business pressures and be free to live his own life?? These questions, and many more, are continually running through your mind as you are reading this fantastic novel. – Sharyn, TAS, 5 stars

“You Don’t Know Me” is a thriller, an intense character study of a family and individuals under pressure. Entirely engrossing, it’s also moving and memorable. This is a great novel; the mystery element leaves us with real doubts about what Tom and Noah are capable of. Tom in particular is drawn as an unpleasant character who doesn’t attract much sympathy – but does that mean he’s a murderer? And Noah, with his secrets and feeling of being trapped – does he know something critical that could help find Lizzie? There’s a lot of characters in this novel who behave in unpleasant ways – including Noah and Tom’s parents. Pretty much everyone has done at least one thing, large or small, which they’re ashamed of. This novel looks at the cost of keeping secrets, letting guilt fester, and not dealing with things head on. I really loved this novel: a strong thriller, an exceptionally strong study of multiple characters, readable and compelling. – Lorraine, ACT, 4 stars

I was thrilled to receive an early copy of “You Don’t Know Me” by Sara Foster from Better Reading and it didn’t disappoint! I enjoyed this book from the outset. It’s a quick page turner and keeps you wondering which direction the story will take next. The mystery of “what happened to Lizzie Burdett” was intriguing and I was always guessing as to who the real villain was. However, when the truth was finally revealed I wasn’t expecting it all …… I love a surprising twist! I adored two of the central characters, Noah and Alice. They have their own secrets, but their emotional love story really shines through. You find yourself hoping their love really will overcome all the secrecy, mystery and family betrayals which threatens to undo them. I loved how this novel managed to combine mystery with the drama of complicated family relationships. This is the first book I have read by Sara Foster and I loved her style of writing, I can’t wait to read her others. – Kim, VIC, 4 stars

I loved this book! The characters had depth and whilst their secrets were delayed in being revealed this kept me wanting to read on and also waiting to see who done it! – Kristi, VIC, 5 stars

I recently received an early reading copy of You don’t know me by Sara Foster. The book was intriguing from page 1. I loved the characters Noah Carruso and Alice Pryce and the way destiny brought them together in Thailand even though they were both from Australia. I love the fact they were meant to meet. Both have dark pasts. Secrets, are damaged and broken but bring out the best in each other so they can start to heal. Lizzie Burdett is a ghost from Noah’s past and every time he looks at Alice he’s reminded of her. There are lots of twists and turns throughout. It’s a beautiful book, well written and is a story of redemption and letting go of the past and finding happiness. I’ll definitely be looking for more of Sara Foster’s books as I loved her easy style of writing. It is a book which I think anyone would enjoy. Thanks for the opportunity to read this great book. – Janet, NSW, 5 stars

Enthralled from the beginning. The building of the characters particularly Noah & Alice made you feel emotionally tied. The sad unsolved mystery of Lizzie was full of mystery. Also the family dramas were well told & imaginable. BUT I felt the outcomes & ending was very predictable. ***Redacted due to spoiler*** However, I was hoping to be proven wrong – unfortunately that wasn’t the case. – Annie, NSW, 3 stars

I loved this book and I couldn’t put it down. Everytime I thought I knew who did “it” something happened to make me doubt myself. The relationship between siblings and family dynamics can be tricky, even without Noah’s family’s challenges. I felt for him the whole way through the book. I was not expecting the ending at all! Very well written, easy to read, I didn’t want it to end. – Cassandra, QLD, 5 stars

I had never read any Sara Foster before You Don’t Know Me. Will be reading her other books now. The story was just so fabulous and I loved the characters of Noah and Alice. Has the best twist I have read in ages, you will not guess it. Just a great read. Loved it. – Elizabeth, NSW, 5 stars

I received an advanced copy of Sara Foster’s new novel “You don’t know me” courtesy of Better Reading Preview, and absolutely adored it. I started it on Friday night and had finished it by Monday night – I even took it to work to read over a lunch break and I haven’t read a book at lunch time for nearly 10 years! I really enjoyed the way this author wrote; it’s fast paced and colourful, the characters feel real and the settings were a traveller’s delight. She kept me guessing about her characters secrets, and I didn’t see the real culprit coming until just before she revealed them. A great crime novel with a sweet love story that even left me teary. There are not many books that leave me feeling ‘wow, I loved it’, but this is one of them. I look forward to reading more Sara Foster novels in the future. – Amanda SA, 5 stars

When Lizzie Burdett went missing suspicion surrounded her boyfriend Tom Carruso. Twelve years later, with the mystery no closer to being solved, an inquest has been announced. Meanwhile, Tom’s younger brother, Noah, is trying to escape the guilt and shame that have plagued him in the intervening years. But why does he feel guilty and what does he have to be ashamed of? To complicate matters, Noah has fallen for Alice, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Lizzie and is living with secrets of her own. Set in Thailand and Sydney’s Northern Beaches, You Don’t Know Me is essentially a love story with a number of mysteries at its heart. While it treads similar ground to other recent Australian novels such as The Dry and The Ruin (old crimes and the burden of shame) author Sara Foster definitely has a lighter touch. The subject matter may be dark but the violence occurs off the page or through the lens of memory. The idea of incorporating a True Crime podcast gave the book a truly contemporary feel and I suspect many readers will enjoy the romance between the two central characters. Satisfying without being particularly memorable. – Kendall, NSW, 3 stars

Sara Foster certainly know how to write a page turner of a book, Alice and Noah are interesting characters who readers will find enthralling, this book is fast paced from start to finish – Gavin, NSW, 5 stars

Noah and Alice meet in Thailand but both are still haunted by their painful pasts in Australia. After their initial meeting, the majority of the novel is set north of Sydney, featuring flash backs to their pasts, where old secrets are slowly uncovered. Both Alice and Noah, are interesting and many of their struggles are relatable. From the beginning, it’s clear that there is more to each of their stories and Foster does an excellent job of beginning to slowly reveal the traumatic events that have haunted them for years. For the majority of the novel I would have catergorised this as a crime or family drama novel as most of the narrative is character driven and based upon Alice and Noah’s present relationship. However, the ending was certainly unexpected and thriller-esque! This book is really easy to get lost in and I would definitely recommend it for any crime / drama / thriller fans! – Meg, VIC, 4 stars

Another great book by Sara Foster, From start to finish this book will have readers hooked, Family secrets suspicions lies disappearances love, everything a reader could ask for and finally the truth and what a bombshell that was – Deborah, NSW, 5 stars

 


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