Sep 16, 2016

Book Review: The Girl Before

The Girl Before: A Novel by JP Delaney

This psychological thriller follows the narrative of two women, living parallel lives, in the same house in different points of time, each trying to rebuild their lives after traumatic events.  The narrative alternates each chapter between Then: Emma and Now: Jane. The minimalist, tech-savvy house takes on a character all its own and comes with a long set of strict rules that the landlord (very Christian Grey-esque) insists upon being followed.

I finished this book within one day, simply because I could not put it down. The chapters are brief enough that you sail right through them, thinking, just one more...

There are unexpected twists and turns in the story, and it's always refreshing to read a story that isn't predictable. Within the story line, I found hints of Gone Girl and elements of 50 Shades of Grey.

Although it was probably intended to do the opposite, the book had me continually contemplating the benefits of severely minimizing one's possessions in life. However, I would never be able to abide by the "no books" rule. That's just insanity.

The story kept me on my toes and held my interest the entire way through. You'll find that even the title leaves you with a surprise. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy psychological thrillers. I look forward to seeing what they do with the movie (to be directed by Ron Howard).

Side note: There were no quotation marks in the type, so sometimes it took a moment to differentiate between narration and dialogue. Yet there were a few pages in the entire book that did  have quotation marks, which was weird. I received an advance review copy, which was marked as an "uncorrected proof" so I can't be sure if the punctuation format will remain in the final printing.

My book rating for this would be R, due to graphic sexual situations.

Following is the description of the book which ensnared me into requesting a copy to review:

• • •

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.

The Girl Before is available for pre-order, and will be released January 2017.

Published by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Books