Book Review: The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristofano
This is a beautifully written novel that asks the question how do you know who you are if you can’t reveal who you’ve been?
The Girl She Used To Be follows the story of Melody Grace McCartney who has spent twenty years in the Witness Protection Programme after she and her parents witnessed a brutal murder by the Mob. She was only six years old at the time and while the federal government promised Melody and her family safety, instead they took away her home, her identity, her innocence – and ultimately her family. Over the years Melody has been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson and countless others, but never the identity she yearns for – that of Melody Grace McCartney. Her existence is ordered but lonely. She can never get close to anyone or tell people who she really is. At an age when other women are in good careers, enjoying intimate relationships, perhaps settling down and having babies, she says, ‘I am a complete fabrication.’
When she is taking on yet another false identity in yet another new town with another Federal Agent assigned to help her make the transition, she is stunned to meet a man by the name of Jonathan who knows her real identity. Getting to know him is a thrill that she can’t resist, but a thrill made all the more dangerous when she discovers he is one of the Mafioso’s sent to hunt her down – a man who has been watching her most of his life. He tells her that he is just a pawn and won’t harm her, but can she trust her life to this handsome, intriguing stranger whose family life of violence is so legendary?
This ticks all the boxes for me for an entertaining yet poignant read. Great storytelling. √. Intriguing premise. √. Memorable, complex characters. √.