I wanted to love THE GIRL BEFORE. I definitely did at first, even when I realized it sounded like a book I read last year. The only things that kept me determined to finish this book was 1) what actually happened to Emma, and 2) I wanted to learn more about the house itself.
Told in alternate POVs/timelines we learn about how then:Emma and now:Jane come to live at One Folgate Street and how similar the women seem. The house is an exclusive rental with a 200 question personalty test and an even longer list of rules. No things on the floor, no pictures on the wall, no pets, no kids, no curtains, no rugs, and much more. The house should always be open to tours and architects, and you will be required to submit to impromptu questions about yourself or certain parts of the electrical system will shut down. Once we get passed all that, there is the matter of the handsome owner who may or may not have killed his wife and child. Emma seems similar to Jane, which sends Jane on a mission to find out what happened. he mysterious death is just the beginning.
This was a really quick read for me. I found myself really liking both Emma and Jane. There were pretty similar sounding at first, but as the story went on things changed. Neither of these girls is really likeable, although I did feel really sorry for Jane. The love interest for both of these women was horrible. A man who absolutely won’t commit and plays games in relationships. He would have had to be more than just good-looking to be worth all the trouble.
The house has some really cool features and I loved learning about them all. An app on your phone can control the house, which is nothing really new. This house also learns from you and will remember things like what temperature you like the water in the shower to be. This house, through the app, can also tell you if you need to pick up more milk or eggs, since it can sense what is in your fridge. While all that sounds cool, I was left thinking about what a violation of privacy not having curtains, and almost certainly having cameras in the house would be.
The twists were okay for me. The pacing of this story was excellent until about 60% where the characters started to show their true colors and the story started to unravel for me. It didn’t go anywhere near where I expected it. I hated almost everyone by the end of the story and felt certain the house was indeed cursed.
In brighter news, I heard this was to be made into a movie directed by Ron Howard. THE GIRL BEFORE will probably play out well in a movie and I will definitely watch it. This was a pretty engrossing mystery, but be prepared to change your mind about people.
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
Published by Ballantine Books on January 24th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Literary, Psychological
ARC provided by Ballantine Books, BEA 2016
In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
EMMA Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
JANE After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
Advance praise for The Girl Before
“Dazzling, startling, and above all cunning—a pitch-perfect novel of psychological suspense.”—Lee Child
“Riveting! One of the most compelling page-turners I’ve read in years. Twisty, turny, and with an ending not to be missed!”—Lisa Gardner
“The Girl Before is a cat-and-mouse game that toys with our expectations and twists our sympathies. At times almost unbearably suspenseful, it keeps us guessing from the first page to the very last. Don’t miss it.”—Joseph Finder
“Riveting . . . Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed.”—Publishers Weekly
“Superior psychological suspense . . . a cleverly constructed thriller.”—The Bookseller
“A masterfully crafted spellbinder . . . guaranteed to astonish.”—Booklist (starred review)