By: J.P Delaney
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
I received an email for this book and when I read the summary I was instantly drawn in! I was a bit apprehensive because every book I’ve read that’s been compared to Gone Girl is always a letdown, but this one sounded interesting regardless. I feel a bit iffy about the cover, but I probably would have picked it up from a table to see what it was about. It definitely isn’t a buy based on the cover type of book for me though.
What I thought
This was one of the better thriller/mysteries that I’ve read in a while! I couldn’t put it down and was intrigued from beginning to end.
The Girl Before revolves around the house at One Folgate Street. The house was built by a Edward, a minimalist architect. Not only is the house pretty much bare but for the essentials, but there are over 200 rules that one must follow in order to live there. In addition to that, there is an intense screening process of first filling out a questionnaire, and then if you make it past that moment, completing an in person interview. Emma and her boyfriend Simon are chosen as residents and then three years later, Jane is chosen. The book alternates between Then: Emma and Now: Jane. Both Emma and Jane have ended up at One Folgate Street trying to recover from a tragedy. Emma was recently the victim of a break in and Jane gave birth to a stillborn child.
The way that the story moves between then and now is pretty flawless in my opinion. I love the way that the stories parallel each other and overlap. The house is also a highly technological house which reminded me a bit of Smart House from the Disney channel. It is meant to learn about you as you live there and learn your preferences for light and temperature and even adjust based on your moods.
Edward, the architect is a bit of an odd duck. Not only does he require all of these rules for someone to live inhis house, but the reason he created the house like this was because his wife and son died while making the original property for this spot. When they died, he completely changed the plans for the house and built One Folgate Street. He’s also a bit creepily involved with the residents that live in the house.
In Emma’s story, she is dealing with anxiety from the break-in as well as her current relationship with Simon and how to deal with that after the break-in. In Jane’s story, she is dealing with the grief of a stillborn and leaving her job because of that grief. It’s interesting the both of the main women are dealing with past tragedies and showing how the house and style of living helps them compensate.
As for the mystery aspect of the book, without giving too much away, Edward and the house itself are super creepy. The whole situation is just a bit odd and I personally would never live in a house like that. Not only am I someone who finds comfort in clutter, but just knowing that someone else was dictating how I live would bother me. Anyway, the mystery is interesting as I read this book in a day because I wanted to know what happened/if I was right. While it didn’t surprise me completely, there were aspects of it that threw me and that I didn’t expect. I guess I would say, it was a decent mystery and an interesting story.
By: J.P Delaney