The Girl Before

the-girl-beforePlease 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 by J.P. Delaney is told through the alternating voices of Emma and Jane, then and now. Both women with completely different backgrounds and experiences are chosen to reside at One Folgate Street, an award winning home designed by eccentric and minimalist architect, Edward Monkford.  In order to live in this house, a lengthy application process must be completed and if that passes you must agree to a face-to-face interview.  Very few people are chosen.

The novel begins in the past with Emma, a young woman, recently a victim of burglary and rape who is terrified to continue living in her apartment.  She and her boyfriend Simon seek a new place, hopefully one that will bring Emma relief and a sense of safety.

The next chapter introduces Jane.  Recently having lost a baby to a stillbirth, Jane looks for change.  Her realtor tells her about the house at One Folgate Street, and Jane is immediately fascinated.  She is invited to live at the residence and finds herself intrigued by Edward Monkford.  By accident, Jane learns about Emma’s demise and begins to investigate.

This novel is interesting, well told and I loved it.  Although the house is not a character, the descriptive writing gives it a haunting personality.  This book is fast paced with unexpected twists along the way that keep the reader satisfied and guessing.  This is a must read for those of you who enjoy reading psychological thrillers.

4.5 / 5 stars


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