Today I hand over the blog to my guest reviewer Mandie who gives her thoughts on The Girl Before by JP Delaney.
The Official Book Blurb
Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?
For all fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl comes this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller which takes psychological suspense to the next level
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.
The Girl before by JP Delaney is about two women from different times, both looking for a fresh start at One Folgate Street. Despite the long application process and multitude of stipulations they decide that this is the place that can give them what they need.
The story goes between the 2 women and tells the story of why they ended up living in the house designed by Edward Monkton. Emma is trying to get over a nasty break in at her boyfriend Simon’s flat and Jane is trying to recover from the stillbirth of her baby. While Jane is living there blue flowers keep appearing at the door. She eventually meets the man who is leaving the flowers only to discover that they were in memory of Emma and that he believes that she may have been murdered in that house.
Emma is not the person she first appears to be and her life starts to unravel as quickly as the lies she has told. Jane is determined to find out what happened to Emma and this puts her life in danger.
During her investigations she finds that both she and Emma bear a striking resemblance to Edward’s dead wife (who along with their child is apparently buried within the grounds of the house). She also finds that they both had a no strings relationship with him that would end when he decided that they were no longer being honest. She also connects with Emma’s ex-boyfriend and her therapist in a quest to find out about Emma and how she lived.
By the end of the book you find out exactly what happened to Emma and it was not what I had expected.
You do have to question why someone would want to live in a house that was basically run by the landlord, who could deem you had breached any one of the hundreds of rules that came with the house. It took me a while to get to grips with the change between the then of Emma and the now of Jane and a couple of times I thought I had skipped a few pages on my kindle and had to go back just to make sure.
Initially I felt sorry for Emma and what she had been through but as the story progressed, it was evident there was actually very little to like about her. Everything that happened after the initial break in was down to her and the web of lies she had spun affecting everyone around her. I couldn’t even feel sorry for the way her life ended as there was a part of me that thought she brought it upon herself.
Jane was totally different. Even though their lives took similar paths her personality was completely opposite to Emma. She genuinely wanted to find out what happened to Emma however I am not sure that I would go to the same lengths that she did to do so. I also had to question why both women would start an affair with their landlord who seemed to be a complete control freak that didn’t like to share his past and was someone they hardly knew.
Could you give up everything to live in a seemingly perfect house that was run on apps? Could you live by hundreds of different rules? Would you be happy to have to answer surveys at regular intervals that couldn’t be ignored? If I am honest the answer to all of those questions is a resounding no… I am naturally messy (ask my family) and to me a house should be lived in, I am a bit of a technophobe, and I hate answering questions on surveys as I think they can be a bit intrusive.
The book was billed as the next Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train and the film rights have apparently been picked up by Ron Howard, however being probably one of the few people who has not read either the books or seen the films then this comparison is totally lost on me. I don’t tend to read a book because it is the next such and such or that it might be made into a film. I go by recommendations from people I trust or from what I read on the back cover. After all every author is different, so comparing it to someone else’s work may not be doing the book or the author justice. I was intrigued by the premise of the book and then when I read the sample chapters I was hooked enough to want to read the whole story and find out what happened to Emma and ultimately Jane.
If you are willing to take this book on its own merits then you might just enjoy it.
I received a copy of The Girl Before by JP Delaney from Netgalley and publisher Quercus Books. It is available to order from the following sites: