The Girl Before: A Novel

Author: J.P. Delaney

Book from NetGalley and Publisher

Type: Mystery/Suspense

Reviewer: 2shay


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Book Blurb:

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.

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.


My first observation is about the book blurb. The only book of those mentioned that might be similar to this that I have read was Gone Girl. I didn’t like Gone Girl. I didn’t like the characters and I didn’t care what happened to them. At all.

In contrast, I loved the characters in this book. Emma and Jane are wonderful characters that I cared deeply about. They both had serious personal problems that led them to the safe haven of One Folgate Street, a beautiful and cheap alternative to other available rental property, and they needed to move. They had different, but equally compelling, reasons to accept the “rules” that were part of their rental agreement. They just had to leave their current homes.

Then there is Edward Monkford, the architect and owner of One Folgate Street, the man who wrote the rules. The rules are bizarre. Edward is a minimalist, and he wants whoever rents his house to abide by his minimalist rules. I couldn’t do it, but the women in the book needed to get their lives back in order and thought divesting themselves of the clutter in their lives would be a good thing.

This story goes from “then”, which is Emma’s story, to “now”, Jane’s tale. I’m not always fond of flashbacks, but this worked really well as the two women began to have similar experiences. I kept wishing that they could see through Edward’s charm to the possible monster behind the mask. Is he a monster? If you want to find out, pick up a copy and…




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