The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
The Girl Before
Author: J.P. Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
REVIEW: The Girl Before is one of those reads that fills the reader with a great deal of doubt and intrigue. It follows 2 tenants, the previous one being Emma, and the most recent being Jane. Their stories, choices, and both of their lives becoming intertwined. Two women on different paths are continuously connected. Emma is not as she seems, with secrets lurking in every corner. Jane reeling from a traumatic experience, has her own agenda in all of this as well.
Edward is the wealthy architect who sets all of this up. Bringing each of them to this place on One Folgate Street, where nothing is ever as it seems. Rules that would drive anyone crazy, that would make a sane person run for the door. Yet, Emma and Jane can’t help but take him up on the offer to reside within this methodically spotless abode. And one too many psychological issues involved.
While I was intrigued by a good amount of this read, there were many parts I could do without. References to “hood” slang, the whole “daddy” speak throughout this book, trying excessively to make this feel like a Fifty Shades of Grey book. Many more things just go wrong for me in this novel. The portrayal of both women throughout keeps changing course and in the most unpleasant way. While the male counterparts are welcomed to act as condescending and salacious partners.
Though all of that IS a part of the story-line, I kept reading because of the twists and turns involved, keeping me absorbed. The house and its story made this a fascinating read. How would someone choose to live in a place like that even with all the requirements put into place? Why would anyone put themselves through that? It keeps you asking these questions, wanting answers.
And then the story takes a turn I don’t personally care for. The one placed at fault for most of the craziness doesn’t make any sense. The continued need to make both female leads look like the problem instead of the wronged ones just doesn’t sit well with me either.
Although parts of this novel were interesting to me, and though I finished this book glad to know what really went on, I couldn’t see myself ever reading this again. There was so much here that had potential, loved One Folgate street, the involvement of the house in all of this, the Japanese lore spoken about in this read. I have read in many places that Ron Howard is working on a film based on The Girl Before. Hopefully it is adapted using only the best parts of this novel.
***I received this copy from Random House/Ballantine Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***