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The Girl Before
     

The Girl Before

4.1 26
by JP Delaney
 

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.

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)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/24/2016
In the pseudonymous Delaney’s riveting psychological thriller, first Emma Matthews and then Jane Cavendish take up residence at One Folgate Street in London. The house, a masterpiece of minimalist architecture designed by the enigmatic Edward Monkford, is let only to tenants willing to abide by his stringent rules, which reduce life to its basics. This setup appeals to people looking for order, like Emma, who’s trying to recover from a brutal attack that’s hastening the end of her relationship with a man who adores her. Later, it is Jane, grief-stricken by the stillbirth of her daughter, who seeks asylum within One Folgate’s walls. Both find themselves drawn to the house’s creator and its tragic history. Were the deaths of Edward’s family members accidental? Or were they murdered for not conforming to Edward’s obsessive need for order? Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed. That Emma and Jane act in often foolhardy ways hasn’t prevented rights sales in more than 30 markets and movie rights to Universal with Ron Howard directing. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists (U.K.). (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“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)

Library Journal
08/01/2016
A big hit at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Ballantine preempted world rights, this new work by a pseudonymous author of best-selling fiction features a fragile young woman who falls for the charismatic architect of her new home. But what happened to the previous tenant? Rights sold to over 30 countries; Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard will adapt for the big screen.
Kirkus Reviews
2016-10-19
A high-tech town house is leased by its control-freak architect to a series of women who look just like his dead wife."Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life." "A person close to you confesses in confidence that they ran someone over while drunk. As a result they have given up drinking for good. Would you feel obliged to report it to the police?" Agree or disagree: "I try to do things well even when others are not around to notice." These questions are part of the rental application for the house at 1 Folgate St., an ultramodern property that comes with "about two hundred stipulations": no books or magazines, no pets, no rugs, no cushions, no children, nothing on the floor at any time, and so on. Compliance is monitored by sensors and cameras, by a cleaning service, and by regular inspections. The entire environment is automated, with an application called "Housekeeper" controlling everything from shower pressure to internet access. Who in their right mind would want to live here? Emma and Jane, that's who. And if they were ever in their right minds, they certainly aren't after Edward Monkford, the architect and owner, gets hold of them. The two report their experiences in alternating chapters. Emma is "the girl before" of the title: she's moving in with a boyfriend named Simon after a burglary at their old apartment. Jane is solo, attempting to rebuild her life after a stillbirth. Little more can be said without destroying what little suspense Delaney has managed. About a third of the way in, it all seems so obvious. But wait—there's a twist! With hopelessly fake characters and far too many red herrings and reversals, 1 Folgate St. is a house with no load-bearing walls, collapsing under the weight of its own materials. Prediction: the Ron Howard movie, already in the works, will be much better than the book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425285046
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/24/2017
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
13
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

1. Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

Then: Emma

It’s a lovely little flat, the agent says with what could almost pass for genuine enthusiasm. Close to the amenities. And there’s that private bit of roof. That could become a sun terrace, subject of course to the landlord’s consent.

Nice, Simon agrees, trying not to catch my eye. I’d known the flat was no good as soon as I walked in and saw that six-­foot stretch of roof below one of the windows. Si knows it too but he doesn’t want to tell the agent, or at least not so soon it’ll seem rude. He might even hope that if I listen to the man’s stupid patter long enough I’ll waver. The agent’s Simon’s kind of guy: sharp, brash, eager. He probably reads the magazine Simon works for. They were exchanging sports chat before we even got up the stairs.

And here you have a decent-­sized bedroom, the agent’s saying. With ample—­

It’s no good, I interrupt, cutting short the charade. It’s not right for us.

The agent raises his eyebrows. You can’t be too choosy in this market, he says. This’ll be gone by tonight. Five viewings today, and it’s not even on our website yet.

It’s not secure enough, I say flatly. Shall we go?

There are locks on all the windows, he points out, plus a Chubb on the door. Of course, you could install a burglar alarm, if security’s a particular concern. I don’t think the landlord would have any objection.

He’s talking across me now, to Simon. Particular concern. He might as well have said, Oh, is the girlfriend a bit of a drama queen?

I’ll wait outside, I say, turning to leave.

Realizing he’s blundered, the agent adds, If it’s the area that’s the problem, perhaps you should have a look farther west.

We already have, Simon says. It’s all out of our budget. Apart from the ones the size of a tea bag.

He’s trying to keep the frustration out of his voice, but the fact that he needs to riles me even more.

There’s a one-­bedroom in Queen’s Park, the agent says. A bit grotty, but . . .

We looked at it, Simon says. In the end we felt it was just a bit too close to that estate. His tone makes it clear that we means “she.”

Or there’s a third-­floor just come on in Kilburn—­

That too. There was a drainpipe next to one of the windows.

The agent looks puzzled.

Someone could have climbed it, Simon explains.

Right. Well, the rental season’s only just started. Perhaps if you wait a bit.

The agent has clearly decided we’re time-­wasters: He too is sidling toward the door. I go and stand outside, on the landing, so he won’t come near me.

We’ve already given notice on our old place, I hear Simon say. We’re running out of options. He lowers his voice. Look, mate, we were burgled. Five weeks ago. Two men broke in and threatened Emma with a knife. You can see why she’d be a bit jumpy.

Oh, the agent says. Shit. If someone did that to my girlfriend I don’t know what I’d do. Look, this might be a long shot, but . . . His voice trails off.

Yes? Simon says.

Has anyone at the office mentioned One Folgate Street to you?

I don’t think so. Has it just come on?

Not exactly, no.

The agent seems unsure whether to pursue this or not.

But it’s available? Simon persists.

Technically, yes, the agent says. And it’s a fantastic property. Absolutely fantastic. In a different league from this. But the landlord’s . . . to say he’s particular would be putting it mildly.

What area? Simon asks.

Hampstead, the agent says. Well, more like Hendon. But it’s really quiet.

Em? Simon calls.

I go back inside. We might as well take a look, I say. We’re halfway there now.

The agent nods. I’ll stop by the office, he says, see if I can locate the details. It’s been a while since I showed anyone around, actually. It’s not a place that would suit just anyone. But I think it might be right up your street. Sorry, no pun intended.

Now: Jane

“That’s the last one.” The agent, whose name is Camilla, drums her fingers on the steering wheel of her Smart car. “So really, it’s time to make up our minds.”

I sigh. The flat we’ve just viewed, in a run-­down mansion block off West End Lane, is the only one in my price range. And I’d just about persuaded myself it was all right—­ignoring the peeling wallpaper, the faint smell of someone else’s cooking seeping up from the flat below, the poky bedroom and the mold spattered across the unventilated bathroom—­until I’d heard a bell being rung nearby, an old-­fashioned hand bell, and the place was suddenly filled with the noise of children. Going to the window, I found myself looking down at a school. I could see into a room being used by a toddler group, the windows hung with cutouts of paper bunnies and geese. Pain tugged at my insides.

“I think I’ll pass on this one,” I managed to say.

“Really?” Camilla seemed surprised. “Is it the school? The previous tenants said they rather liked the sound of children playing.”

“Though not so much they decided to stay.” I turned away. “Shall we go?”

Now Camilla leaves a long, tactical silence as she drives us back to her office. Eventually she says, “If nothing we saw today took your fancy, we might have to think about upping your budget.”

“Unfortunately, my budget can’t budge,” I say drily, looking out the window.

“Then you might have to be a bit less picky,” she says tartly.

“About that last one. There are . . . personal reasons why I can’t live next to a school. Not right now.”

I see her eyes going to my stomach, still a little flabby from my pregnancy, and her eyes widen as she makes the connection. “Oh,” she says. Camilla isn’t quite as dim as she looks, for which I’m grateful. She doesn’t need me to spell it out.

Instead, she seems to come to a decision.

“Look, there is one other place. We’re not really meant to show it without the owner’s express permission, but occasionally we do anyway. It freaks some people out, but personally I think it’s amazing.”

“An amazing property on my budget? We’re not talking about a houseboat, are we?”

“God, no. Almost the opposite. A modern building in Hendon. A whole house—­only one bedroom, but loads of space. The owner is the architect. He’s actually really famous. Do you ever buy clothes at Wanderer?”

“Wanderer . . .” In my previous life, when I had money and a proper, well-­paid job, I did sometimes go into the Wanderer shop on Bond Street, a terrifyingly minimalist space where a handful of eye-­wateringly expensive dresses were laid out on thick stone slabs like sacrificial virgins, and the sales assistants all dressed in black kimonos. “Occasionally. Why?”

“The Monkford Partnership designs all their stores. He’s what they call a techno-­minimalist or something. Lots of hidden gadgetry, but otherwise everything’s completely bare.” She shoots me a look. “I should warn you, some people find his style a bit . . . austere.”

“I can cope with that.”

“And . . .”

“Yes?” I prompt, when she doesn’t go on.

“It’s not a straightforward landlord–­tenant agreement,” she says hesitantly.

“Meaning?”

“I think,” she says, flicking down her indicator and moving into the left-­hand lane, “we should take a look at the property first, see if you fall in love with it. Then I’ll explain the drawbacks.”

Meet the Author

The Girl Before is the first psychological thriller from JP Delaney, a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. It is being published in thirty-five countries. A film version is being brought to the screen by Academy Award–winning director Ron Howard.

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The Girl Before 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous 20 days ago
At first I couldn't put down the book, but as another reader remarked, it started to lag, and the author seemed to lose steam. The ending was definitely strange. Well, actually the story itself was disturbing...I will never again look at a rental property in the same way!
Anonymous 21 days ago
I am undecided if I really like this book. There were so many twists and turns with the characters. Midway through the book I am became very bored. The jumping between the characters Emma and Jane was distracting. I felt the ending was thrown together by the author as if he lost sight of a good ending. As I said before, confusing
teachlz 25 days ago
I want to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine for the ARC of “The Girl Before” by JP Delaney. I was intrigued by the plot and various twists of this terrifying psychological thriller. JP Delaney uses the concepts of perfection, flaws, instability, strengths and weaknesses as part of her characters descriptions. She compares them to computer ratings,ideals, architecture and buildings. There are several murders that occur in the past and present in a specifically designed architects apartment. How are the murders connected? Who are the suspects?This novel had me second guessing and I would recommend this book.
Anonymous 1 days ago
This is England, past and present. Emma's home has been burglarized while she's there. Jane’s child is stillborn. Moving offers them fresh starts. Moving from past to present can make a story exciting; that doesn't happen here. First part of book is slow. Dialog drags. The action begins a little too late to catch my interest. The book is good, not great. Voluntarily read an ARC for an honest review.
feather_lashes 14 days ago
The setting in The Girl Before may be questionable and wholeheartedly ridiculous, but it created a very interesting backdrop to an equally interesting relationship dynamic between the female lead: Jane and her OCD/controlling landlord, along with the mystery of what happened to the girl before: Emma. Both of these women share alternating POV's which allows the reader some insight into the characters and various other elements within the story. The Girl Before has mixed reviews and I can see why. There are components that will be eye-roll worthy for some but intriguing for others...for me it was a tiny bit of both, but more of the latter. I appreciated J.P. Delaney's attention to detail when it came to developing Jane's and Emma's characters, although it was difficult at times to remember who's perspective I was reading. Overall, I liked this psychological thriller and am interested to seeing how it will be adapted to film. Like I said, the reviews are mixed so read a few from both sides and see if this one is right for you. My favorite quote: "You can make your surroundings as polished and empty as you'd like but it doesn't really matter if you're still messed up inside."
Bev_Ash 15 days ago
Reading this book took me through a range of emotions from excitment, 'oh my, this can't be happening!!! ', to despair, 'oh no, this can't be happening'. It was an enjoyable read and kept me reading way past my bedtime. The characters were well developed and I even liked the bad guys. I received this from NetGalley for an honest review.
LauraMHartman 16 days ago
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2017 Laura Hartman Two women. Two traumas. One home. One outrageous contract. One or two possible murders. The book begins with a house search. Jane has had something horrible happen to her and she needs to get out of her current flat to feel safe. The agent takes her to a home that is stark, sterile and has been empty for quite a while. She falls in love with the security so on a whim fills out the questionnaire the builder requires before she is considered a candidate for occupancy. At first she is unnerved by it, but soon realizes she can put up with the crazy rules and requirements if she is chosen. Surprisingly she is, giving up almost all of her possessions, she begins a journey that others have not lived through. Will she? The Girl Before was fascinating. I cannot imagine living without color, pictures of loved ones, or having to answer questions before the computer running my home will allow the shower to start. When things get sinister, Jane feels as though she needs to find out what happen to Emma, but this may prove to be fatal. Delaney’s book is creepy, engaging and thought provoking. I love the way in which it is written. Going back and forth from Emma to Jane the reader sees history almost repeat itself. Was it the choices both women made? Was it the home itself? You can tell when the characters start to live minimally and begin to lose themselves in the process. The author shows this by removing all of the dialog quotation marks. Oddly enough, I didn’t miss them for several chapters – quite possibly the same way these women didn’t miss their identity until it was gone. This is a fascinating thriller is full of surprises, twists and turns. I absolutely did not see the end coming, but was exceedingly satisfied as a reader when I finish. Just a note to those that may object, there is violence and sex in The Girl Before but I believe it is essential to the story.
mkdmom 26 days ago
I was given an ARC of this book from Net Gallery for an honest review. This book is difficult for me to review because I had such mixed feelings about it. One on hand, it was an excellent psychological thriller, thus the 4 star review. I loved how the chapters were short and the story alternated between the two women's stories. Definitely had me turning the pages to see what happened next. What disturbed me about this story is how manipulated the women in this story were by the men in their lives. They both seemed to enjoy being under someone else's control, and in fact, the girl before craved it. A good read, but I didn't particularly like the story if that makes sense.
Caroles_Random_Life 26 days ago
I really enjoyed this page turner of a novel. I went into the book without a lot of expectations. I decided to read this book based on the summary which sounded like it had the making of a good thriller. It turns out that I was hooked by the story almost immediately and found myself doing that thing where I promise that I will read just one more chapter and before I knew it, I had read half the book. This books tells two stories from two different timelines. Emma and Jane have both lived at the house at One Folgate Street. One Folgate Street is not your average house. It is a house with rules. Lots of rules. Rules that most people wouldn't even want to try to follow. If a potential tenant decides that they want to live in the house, the approval process is quite difficult and most are turned away. Emma and Jane were both approved. Emma moved in the house first with her boyfriend, Simon. Later, Jane moves in and learns that Emma died in the house. Both Emma and Jane were going through some very troubling issues when they moved into the house and hoped the move would give them the fresh start they want. Emma and Jane were both very interesting characters. I wouldn't say that I ever really liked them but I really became invested in learning what happened to Emma and wondered what would happen to Jane. The other key character in this book, Edward, was similar in that I didn't really like his characters but I couldn't help myself from wondering what he would do next. The way this book was laid out really worked well. The chapters alternated from Emma and Jane's point of view with Jane spending a lot of energy trying to learn what had happened to Emma. Sometimes the reader would see something happen to Emma just to have it happen to Jane in the next chapter. Instead of feeling redundant, it just added an extra layer to the story. The more that Jane became obsessed with finding out about Emma the more hooked I became. This was a book that was incredibly hard to set aside. My only complaint about the book is that I am not completely sold on the ending. I do like that the book took a lot of twists and turns that I didn't expect. For some reason the ending felt like a bit of a let down for me. I think that I had expected a bigger scene to help wrap everything up. I would highly recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers. This book grabbed my interest from the first page and never let go. I look forward to reading more from J.P. Delaney in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley.
sandrabrazier 26 days ago
The house on One Folgate Street is an architectural marvel. It is unlike any other house with its soaring ceilings, stark marble walls, and computerized monitoring systems. So is its creator. Before the house can be rented, the prospective renter must fill out an application booklet, send in photographs of themselves, and be interviewed. The house is stark beyond all normal conventions of the word. No books, no pillows, no knick-knacks, no pictures are allowed. To say that the house must remain uncluttered is an understatement. The architect created the house in order to change its occupant. Emma is one such applicant. Traumatized by a break-in in her home, she is looking for security, and One Folgate Street seems to provide that. Jane, another applicant, is suffering as a result of a personal tragedy. She wants something totally different, to allow her to get her mind on something new. In this story, we follow the terrifying experiences of both women in this unconventional house. This psychological drama is amazing! Not only are the characters realistic, albeit, a bit weird, but the house itself becomes another fascinating character. This book keeps you guessing and wondering, until the very last pages. If you like not being able to put a book down, this is the one for you! This amazing book was given to me in exchange for an unbiased review.
andi22 27 days ago
Touted as a Gone Girl, The Girl on a Train-read, the book kept me going. And it was well-written. I can see how it will appeal to a wide readership. BUT. A psychological thriller with a Now and Then format. Emma is then, Jane is now. They both "audition" to live in One Folgate Street-- a house that is an architecturally austere masterpiece that plays a pivotal role in the plot. Same for the house's creator, the manipulative Edward Monkford. Read to see the similarities [and discern the differences] between the two women. The book is well written and a page turner--at least through half the book. But I began to put two and two together and figure out some of the details. This detracted from the suspense. And the last bit, really not necessary IMHO. So if you want an easy and entertaining read, this book fits the bill. I think it's going to be a bestseller but not great for me. Read that Ron Howard has optioned this book/will direct the movie. Will want to see.
MusicInPrint 27 days ago
One Folgate Street - Hummm. Chapter titles are like the old learn to read books. Then: Emma Now: Jane alternating throughout the book as to whose life the reader is visiting. Emma resided at One Folgate Street Then and Jane resides there Now. What happened to Emma? What is going to happen to Jane? Edward Monkford, the architect of this building, is a very sinister man hoping to achieve a Utopia with rules of conduct for any who occupy this address. Very thought out read that flowed nicely and twisted and turned everytime I thought I had things figured out. Swift read and heart racing events. Loved reading and reviewing The Girl Before so thanks to the publisher and author via netgalley for this opportunity.
Anonymous 27 days ago
This book was very unusual. It’s unlike any thriller I’ve read. The story jumps smoothly between two beautiful, young residents of One Folgate Street in London. Emma, the tragic prior tenant, and Jane, the current resident, who is drawn into investigating the mystery of what happened to the girl who came before her. Jane seems to be walking in Emma’s footsteps and this concerns her. One Folgate Street is a character in its own right, a super high-tech house that can sense and respond to its occupants’ needs. It was designed to be a dwelling of serenity and calm, without clutter and a drastically minimalist style--no doorknobs, curtains, wastepaper baskets, even books! The interior décor is basically an open chamber of pale stone, stark and impersonal. It gave me an ominous feeling and created a sense of impending doom. Creepy! The writing style is ingenious and seemed to reflect the mood of the house, clean and flowing, divulging only the barest of information to keep you turning pages. Its characters are broken or struggling in some way, battling their demons, which gives the story a certain darkness. The pace really quickens throughout the last portion of the book with its many twists and surprises. I found this a very unique read.
Anonymous 16 days ago
This book I read in one day! It's creepy,scary as in you can picture yourself being in these situations. Loved it! Excellent thriller, kept me guessing throughout the whole book! Definately a must must read if you like this type of book!
Anonymous 16 days ago
The book was great and kept me on my toes. I could not but the book down. It was a little confusing end but would overall recdommend.
Myndia 27 days ago
Emma and Jane are both coming to terms with a recent trauma and in desperate need of change, a clean slate really, when they get the opportunity to rent a beautiful, one-of-a-kind house for a budget price. Of course, they have to pass muster with the very particular owner, and agree to some strange and very limiting rules, but for this house at this price? Why not? And in a strange way, the requirements are kind of refreshing, almost liberating. When Emma moves in with her boyfriend, she has no way of knowing how this house will change her life, and what happens to her will have a ripple effect years later, changing Jane’s life forever as well. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. And I really, really like stories that aren’t some variance on every other book in the genre. I understand there are a number of other readers who had a difficult time suspending disbelief, not finding the overall storyline plausible. Maybe this is where my penchant for sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal stuff impacts my overall consumption of books. Because the thing is, I don’t have a hard time “buying in” if the writing is good. As long as there aren’t any clear conflicts in the details, things that don’t match up or make logical sense, I can accept that anything is possible. And I actually enjoy it when authors push the envelope a bit, as long as it isn’t ridiculous. In this case, I think the overall plot was rather ingenious. The characters themselves were interesting, if not particularly complex. As Emma’s true nature unraveled, I was surprised, but then…not so much. Edward, well…I can’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away, but while I didn’t like him, I understood. Jane was another beast entirely. It was hard for me to understand why she would tolerate what she did in the relationship. The ending of the story was really unsatisfying. It went a little further than I thought necessary. Based on the acknowledgments at the end, I understand why the author ended it that way, but I think the point he was trying to make had been made earlier and didn’t need to be reiterated at the end. It took a story that would have been a strong 4 stars/A- to more of a 3.5 stars/B-. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
SimplySusan 27 days ago
Let's see: space age house, two timelines, unreliable narrators, obsessive landlord. Throw this all in a pot and you have The Girl Before, a book about women living in a house that is designed for perfection in living and from its occupants. I liked how it took something that is becoming reality now, the educated home, and turned it a bit on its ear. No major sci-fi take overs ala Hal in Space Odyssey, but the house becomes an integral character in the story just the same. Sadly, I never found any of the characters extremely likeable, even the ones I should have been sympathetic towards and wished at some points that the house would become deranged. This detachment made it hard to get drawn in to the story. I didn't care what happened to anyone. Despite this, the story itself was well thought out and involved a good level of deviousness. A preview copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Random House - Ballantine in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Told through "Then" and "Now" stories of Emma and Jane respectively, the story is of two women who are similar in appearance and similar in what could be perceived as their brokenness. Years apart Emma and Jane come to live in the same house with an unusual leasing contract. And the house itself inspires, enhances, and ruins the women in equal turns. But is it just the house? Or the brilliant but possibly sociopathic architect behind the contract and the building. From the description of the book you have to know that something bad is going to happen, but as the tension continues to ratchet up chapter by chapter, and you discover that our narrators may not be exactly who they seem, you wonder just how bad the final reveal will be. I'm not put off by characters that in real life would be extremely unlikeable. Their fictional flaws and terrible choices make for interesting and compelling plots. That being said there was a surprising confluence of remorseless people in this book.
onemused 28 days ago
"The Girl Before" is a haunting and mesmerising mystery/thriller about two women who lived in the same odd house years apart. The book alternates between "then" from Emma's perspective and the "now" from Jane's perspective. As the book continues, we learn that they share much more in common than living in the same odd house (a house with a lot of rules and a very picky landlord) and a great many parallels are drawn between the two. Emma died in the house years ago- will the parallels end before Jane dies? This book is hauntingly well written with incredible story telling prowess. Delaney captures you in each of the two women's lives and struggles. They have both experienced a traumatic event which serves not only to put them in the position where they are when the book begins and looking for the opportunities afforded by this house but which also shape their stories. Emma was the victim of a home break in and Jane had a still born baby. We begin to see how they cope with these situations and how it impacts the choices they make, sometimes differently. There are many layers to each of their stories and they grow throughout the book at the same time that the mystery of Emma's death grows. This book gave me chills and I kept making all kinds of guesses as to Emma's death, and every chapter gave new hints that made me change my mind. It was an amazingly developed tale with multidimensional characters who all begin to show more depth by the end of the book. It was simply mesmerizing. I couldn't stop reading it! Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Ratbruce 28 days ago
Using a unique premise, this psychological thriller delivers on all categories: character development, plot and surprising twists. Told from multiple perspectives, in multiple time frames it never feels forced or hard to follow. Highly recommended.
Deb-Krenzer 28 days ago
This was one very strange book. It's about a house and two women who lived there. At first, I thought the women were living there at the same time but in a different dimension. It is that strange. But then I realized that they were living there a year apart. Emma lived there first and then Jane. The house is all stone. The walls, the floor, the stairs, everything. You can only bring in certain things. The furniture, dishes, cookware, and most of the household goods are already there. You just bring in your personal items much like a hotel. There are pictures in the book to let you get a sense of what the house looks like. It's not for everyone. It's fully automated and it keeps track of your body to let you know what vitamins your needing, whether the air needs to be turned up or down. The shower is controlled for you. The gas stove is controlled for you. It's all done for you. All designed by this man named Edward something. What happens to these women after they move in to this house is definitely worth reading. And both of their lives change drastically. I've heard it's being made into a movie. It will definitely be a thriller I can't wait to see as this was a book I could not put down. Definitely an entertaining, thrilling and mesmerizing read. Huge thanks to Ballantine Books for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Chris721 28 days ago
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What a roller coaster ride of a book!!!! It is told from the perspective of Emma from the past and Jane from the here and now. There is a house on One Folgate Street that has many rules in order to live there. Emma is looking for a safe haven after being robbed in her old apartment. Jane is looking for a fresh start after suffering a tragedy. Both women live there and you follow their lives through out the book and it is quite the thriller! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and so many twists and turns I did not see coming!
ReadingwithPugs 28 days ago
I received an advanced copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book is on lists everywhere as one of this years "it" books for thrillers. I enjoyed the book, but I also had some problems with it. My husband is an architect so I could relate to much of the details in the story that were architectural and I appreciated that research went into those parts of the story to make it more authentic to the character. I liked the way that the story was told in alternating chapters between our two main female narrators. I thought it was very interesting and creative how the author would tell the stories that were parallel and different at the same time, without confusing the reader. The story itself was interesting and there were little easter eggs throughout the story that helped you figure out who the killer was. However you didn't really arrive at that until about 15% left in the book, although you may have suspicions you are never really quite sure who "done it." I also liked that there were multiple references to Breakfast At Tiffany's through the book, as that is one of my favorite movies. I found the story to be engaging and interesting. I did get to points where I did not want to put it down. There were only a few things that were off putting. The biggest was the author's overused phrase "he/she goes" when explaining about another characters talking to the narrator. Now, I read an unfinished copy so that could very well be edited out by the time this hits shelves. Another thing that bothered me is that when you get to about 50% the book suffers from a lot of repetitiveness. It seems that we keep hearing the same thing over and over for some time before the story finally starts moving forward again. That slowed the book down considerably for me. To me it didn't seem that there was a purpose for the story to keep repeating the same information continuously. However, once it started moving again, the story gripped you until the very end. Overall I did enjoy the story and would read more by this author.
Barb-TRC 28 days ago
The Girl Before by JP Delaney is a standalone psychological suspense thriller. The story alternates between two female two POV’s; Then: Emma, and Now: Jane. There is a two year period between Emma and Jane. The common bond between both girls is the house they lived in One Folgate Street, as well as the architect, who build it. Edward Monkford, is the architect, and he only allows someone who meets his criteria to live there. Each person who wants to move into this residence must first pass a huge series of strange questions, which includes many stipulations required in living there. I personally found the stipulations totally weird & creepy; that alone would make me pass on moving to this place. However, this is fiction. Then they would have to have an interview with Monkford. Needless to say, not many are accepted. Both Emma and Jane prior to moving to One Folgate Street, had tragedies that affected them badly, making this residence seem like a fresh start, even with these restrictions. The residence is also a beautiful different design, with high tech systems within. Normally only the very rich could afford the rent, but these women were allowed to live at a cheaper rate. This alone was a red flag right away. Emma was a victim of a burglary and sexual assault. Jane, when she moved in, was suffering from the loss of her stillborn child. Edward Monkford himself was a hunk, but he also had his own issues having lost his wife and son years before. As Emma’s and Jane’s story unfolds, we also learn they they both bear a resemblance to each other, as well as Edward’s wife. Each chapter goes back and forth between both ladies narrating their time of residence, and fairly quickly we learn that Emma died in what could have been an accident or a possible murder. There is also Emma’s boyfriend, who resided for a bit in One Folgate Street, until Emma broke up with him, and entered an affair with Edward. To this day, Emma’s death is unsolved. Jane finds herself obsessed with finding out more about Emma, and she too is in an affair with Edward. To tell too much more, and there is so much to tell, would be spoilers. Will Jane be able to resolve how Emma died? Will Jane get out of One Folgate Street or suffer the same fate as Emma. What follows is an exciting thriller, as we watch Emma come closer to her final days; and watch Jane reach out to those who knew Emma to find the truth, putting her own life in danger. I will say that there were a few things I did not care for. One being Emma, who was a strange and not very likable character. I was also not crazy about the flipping around each chapter on the two main characters, which at times was confusing, causing me to go back to see who was talking. Overall, this was a suspenseful exciting psychological thriller, which keeps you in suspense to the very end.
Anonymous 28 days ago
This novel is the story of Emma, Jane, Simon and Edward, a death that may or may not have been a murder and one woman's search for the truth that was best for her. It is complicated, complex and challenging for the reader, but very well written. Ron Howard has optioned the book and is planning a film based on it. This is one of those books that deserves such treatment. Thanks to Net Galley and Ballantine for an ARC for an honest review.