The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
Published January 24, 2017 by Ballantine Books
Genres Thriller, Suspense, Crime,
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The Girl Before is told from two different perspectives; Then: Emma and Now: Jane. Emma has just experienced a traumatic break in at her flat and is looking for a new place to live, but can’t seem to find something that is both affordable and feels safe to her. Until she looks at One Folate Street. The house is a minimalist design made of pale stone, high ceilings, plate glass and a very open floor plan and is considered to be an architectural masterpiece.But the enigmatic architect who designed the house has over 200 rules for living there, including no books, no photos, no clutter, no throw pillows or other personal effects as the house is meant to transform it’s occupant. Jane has just suffered a personal tragedy and is looking for a fresh start, which she believes she has found at One Folate Street. The space seems to bring her a sense of calm that she hasn’t felt in a while and she also feels drawn to the architect who created it. Shortly after moving in, Jane learns about the death of the home’s previous tenant; a woman who has a similar appearance to her. As Jane begins to investigate what happened, she has to untangle the truth from all the lies. She unknowingly begins to the follow the same patterns, make the same choices and cross paths with the same people and also begins to experience the same terror, as the girl before.
I received an ARC of The Girl Before about 3 months ago and I so wish I had read it sooner because I absolutely loved it. It was not at all what I expected it to be. The story, as mentioned above, is told from two perspectives; Then: Emma and Now:Jane. So the perspectives switch every other chapter but it was very easy to follow alone. Also, in between most chapters is a question from the application package when the girls applied to One Folate Street and from the follow up surveys the girls filled out while living there. I also thought that was a nice touch and some of the questions did make me stop and think for a moment. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but I do want to mention a few things. I really liked the author’s writing style and I felt that even though we split time between Emma and Jane, we got to know their characters pretty well. The architect, Edward, is also a very interesting character. This was one of those books that I could not stop reading because every time I thought I had the plot twists figured out, it would go in a different direction. I read almost the whole book in one day. It really captivated my attention. I can honestly say most of the plot twists I didn’t figure out until they happened and the author did a really good job with that. And the ending was also pretty good, not as dramatic as I had expected it to be, but unexpected. There is some sex in this book, which I like to mention when it’s a book that I normally wouldn’t expect to contain detailed sexual encounters. The scenes are all well done and it is nothing over the top. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced reading copy of this book.