Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Renee Carlino where have you’ve been all my life?

This was my first book from her and I loved it to pieces. What an original and sweet book it was..
The plot runs throughout a long period of time, beginning with Matt’s and Grace senior year at NYU. Grace is a talented musician and Matt a photographer. From the moment they met, a lot of things binds them, like the passion for art and music. Around each other they could be themselves and be happy, despite having difficulties in other aspects of their lives.

I loved Grace’s crazy way of being, she was like a breath of fresh air for Matt and made him more adventurous and aware of the this surrounding him. Although the sexual tension was palpable, Grace was guarded and put other thing on her priority list, thing that bothered me a little, because she had to figure out faster how perfect they could be as a couple.

Matt was a very sweet and gentle hero, I liked the way he treated and helped Grace in her problems. He was always there for her, being the person she could count on. His patience was a bonus for me and made me admire him even more. He was the perfect fit for her and I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed into something more.


Despite that, the trust issues were a strong barrier between them, especially coming from Grace. Her background problems and uncertainties made her afraid to take chances and love openly. Her impulsive attitude combined with those above caused a break in their relationship, which caused me a lot of grief and sadness. It was like destiny was stubborn into separating them and It teared me apart.

The book is divided in 2 parts. The first one is describing their loved story while young, and in the second one we get to know the characters after 15 years of separation. I enjoyed reading this part and hoping they will get the happy ending they deserve. It will take a while for them to reconnect and try to forget each other’s mistakes, but in the end love always comes first and fixes everything.
I enjoyed the dual point of view and made me more connected to the characters. The “then and now” description of the story and of Matt and Grace relationship made my understand completely the plot and form an opinion regarding it.

From my point of view there were mistakes from both sides: Matt didn’t insist enough in his search for Grace and lost himself in another relationship that didn’t brought him happiness. Grace on the other hand had a lot of trust issues and couldn’t let her guard down enough to completely love him and built a life together. In consider that their love was overwhelming and worth fighting for, despite the young age in which they met it. They should of fought harder, they deserved not to wait so much time being apart.

The ending surprised me but filled me with such joy that I almost forgot how much I’ve suffered reading this book. It will definitely surprise you and bring you joy in the same time, realizing that Renee couldn’t tough of a better ending for Grace and Matt.

To conclude with, ” Before we were strangers” was very touching and beautiful book about second chances. I adore books that bring up this subject, that make me swoon about meeting again the one that got away. This was my first read from Renee and I’m looking forward to more books from her, because the writing style was for my liking, a sweet mixture of hot, funny and enjoyable scenes. I also enjoyed the chemistry between the heroes, the intensity of their relationship and their evolution throughout the plot.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s