Title: The Girl Before
Author: J.P. Delaney
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Date of publication: January 24th 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Number of pages: 352
POV: Alternating 1st person
Where you can find this book: Amazon
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.
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.
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.
Emma and Si were looking for a new apartment (or flat as they call it in England) after Emma was attacked in a burglary. All of the apartments that Emma and Si visited were no good for various reasons. The agent was at the end of his rope until he remembers this one house that was on the market. Emma is intrigued and they are able to go and see it. The house is a work of art, with a state of the art computer system that runs the house and a minimalist design. Emma falls in love with the house and fills out the application. After an anxiety filled wait, Si and her get the 2nd meeting. That’s where they meet Edward Monkford, the owner and architect of the house. Needless to say, they are approved.
Jane is recovering from having a stillbirth that could have been prevented if the hospital had more staffing and more Doppler radars. She decides that she needs a change of scenery and starts looking for apartments/houses to rent. Perchance, she is told about One Folgate Street by her realtor and makes the decision to fill out the application. Like, Emma, Jane is granted a 2nd interview and like Emma, she signs a very specific and odd lease once Edward decides she can rent it.
Both Emma and Jane find out that Edward has a tragic past. His wife, Elizabeth, and his son, were killed in an accident on the site of one of his projects. They also both find out that there was a cloud of suspicion hovering over Edward about that.
But this is where Jane and Emma’s stories differ.
Emma and Si don’t last very long in the house. Emma actually breaks it off with Si, who takes it very hard, and starts a relationship with Edward. But, the more the author reveals about Emma, the more you start wondering if everything that is happening is in her head.
Jane also starts a relationship with Edward, shortly after moving into the house. Around the same time, Jane finds out about Emma’s death and starts researching it. All of the information points towards Edward being her killer but Jane can’t help but something’s off about that.
This book sticks to the thriller and mystery elements, unlike some of the other books that I have read. I was genuinely surprised by the 180 one character does. It took me by surprise that the web of lies that was spun was so extensive and that the character just didn’t know when to stop.
The ending was a little sad and I had to reread it a couple of times to understand what happened. Then to have another renter show up and look at the house….shudder. What a sequel that would make!!!!
How many stars will I give The Girl Before: 4
Why: A thriller/mystery that genuinely had me guessing until the big reveal. The plot twists were done in such a way that you couldn’t help but be shocked. And the ending was the biggest one of all….
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Sex, violence and language. A scene of a mother saying goodbye to her still-born child (which was heartbreaking), a scene of a badly brutalized kitten and a scene of someone’s head smashing off a marble floor.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**