Emma, dealing with a traumatic break in, is looking for a fresh start. Jane, after a stillbirth, needs a place to start over. Both women find themselves at One Folgate Street, a house that is an architectural masterpiece and a minimalist’s dream. Years apart, each woman applies to be a tenant and each woman develop their own relationship with the man behind the design, Edward Monkford. When Jane finds out that years earlier, the previous tenant, Emma, died in the home, she begins investigating the death. Untangling a web of lies, she follows down a similar path and soon finds herself in the same danger as the girl before.
The Girl Before, by JP Delaney (a pseudonym), is a book that has been getting consistent amounts of buzz in the book blogging world; I was dying to read this one!
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy and I have to say, I have some seriously mixed feelings about this book. I found myself feeling equal parts mesmerized and strange while I was reading.
What I Liked:
The Narration: the novel is narrated with alternating viewpoints from tenants at One Folgate Street: Jane, the present tenant and from Emma, the woman who lived there previously. This technique kept me glued to this book. The segmented chapters are short and sweet and use the right amount of hook to carry the story along. As the women’s experiences begin to mirror each other, things become creepy really quickly.
Throwback to Gothic Literature: Fun Fact. I have always been a fan of classic gothic fiction and this novel certainly resonates with this genre. From the massive, sterile house to our female protagonists threatened by a powerful, tyrannical male, this one had moments where it read like Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. I really liked how this one gave a modern twist on the gothic novel and combined it with the domestic thriller genre that has swept 2016 by storm.
What I Didn’t Like:
Kind of gave me a Fifty Shades of Grey vibe: Edward Monkford was Christian Grey to me. The novel had moments where sexual domination took the lead and the actual story took the backburner. I have a very hard time taking a book seriously when the character, which is supposed to be the antagonist, is consistently referred to as “Daddy”. I feel like I would have enjoyed the book much more if this part of the book had taken on a smaller role.
Regardless of my feelings about that portion of the book, I cannot deny that this one kept me up, late into the night, to finish. I was consumed by the plot and need to find out what happened. It already has the movie rights sold so I will be intrigued to see how this will play out on the big screen.
If you are a fan of a dark, twisting thriller, then I would recommend this book. However, if you hated, like really HATED, the idea of Fifty Shades of Grey, then chances are, you will not appreciate this one either! I gave this one 4/5 stars on Goodreads.