Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

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.

The Girl Before was getting a lot of buzz early this winter for its suspenseful plot and of course, Gone Girl comparisons. It tells the story about Emma and Jane, at alternating points in time, as they move into a mysterious house built by an even more mysterious architect. The house comes with more than a few “rules” for living there. You can’t have any personal effects, and nothing you don’t “need.”

This book was…strange. I liked it as I read, despite seeing some pretty negative reviews calling it a mashup of Fifty Shades and Gone Girl. Again, there was nothing Gone Girl about this one — there was a female main character, but that was really about it. I didn’t read Fifty Shades, but there was nothing like what I would imagine was in that book either. There are some affairs but nothing super crazy?

The biggest downside of this book for me were plot points that were brought up and never resolved, and then an ending that just falls a little flat. I think I gave this book 4 stars when I initially finished it, but it’s definitely more of a 2.5/3 star book now that I’ve sat on it for a little while. I’ve also been reading a lot of actual 4-star thrillers recently, which knocks this down in my mind.

Definitely a page turner, and I can see this being a gripping beach read for the summer time!

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  1. I know exactly what you mean about this book and sitting with it for a while. I read it so fast and felt like I was blown away but the more I think about it, the more underwhelmed I was by it.

    Definitely nothing Fifty Shades or Gone Girl about this!