The Girl Before

The Girl Before

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.EmmaReeling 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 mas...

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Title:The Girl Before
Author:J.P. Delaney
Rating:
ISBN:0425285049
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages

The Girl Before Reviews

  • Meredith
    Jan 09, 2017

    I am in the minority with my feelings about

    --this book has received excellent reviews, but it just didn’t work for me.

    The premise is intriguing: What if you had the opportunity to live in the perfect house designed by a famous architect for a low price? The only catch is that the house will record data, and track your every move. Also, the lease will have over 200 clauses, including such things as not leaving anything on the floor and no books allowed! There will be the occasion

    I am in the minority with my feelings about

    --this book has received excellent reviews, but it just didn’t work for me.

    The premise is intriguing: What if you had the opportunity to live in the perfect house designed by a famous architect for a low price? The only catch is that the house will record data, and track your every move. Also, the lease will have over 200 clauses, including such things as not leaving anything on the floor and no books allowed! There will be the occasional quiz, and if you don’t comply or do well, appliances will stop working. Some would run for the hills, but to others, it sounds like a dream come true! The perfect house will help people reach levels of perfection they never thought they could achieve. This is the house located on One Folgate Street.

    The Girl Before tells the stories of Emma and Jane, two occupants who lived in One Folgate.. Emma died under mysterious circumstances while living in One Folgate Street, and Jane is the current occupant. Both women look alike, and both were involved with Edward Monkton, the architect and mastermind behind One Folgate Street--both also happen to bear an eerie resemblance to Edward’s deceased wife. Jane begins to investigate Emma’s death, and by doing so, puts herself in danger.

    While the premise was interesting, it felt like the author was trying to cram pieces into a puzzle that didn’t fit. As a result, everything unraveled and it all became a little ridiculous.

    was just not my cup of tea.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Linda O'Donnell
    Dec 11, 2016

    I received a copy of The Girl Before through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Ballantine Books and to J.P. Delaney for the opportunity.

    To control or to be controlled?......now that is the question.

    The Girl Before has more wicked cogs in the wheel than a jacked-up Monster truck in high gear. And that wheel keeps turning and turning throughout the entire story. Some days that wheel grinds in the down and dirty. Some days it revs up speed and gains relentless traction.

    Emma Matthews live

    I received a copy of The Girl Before through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Ballantine Books and to J.P. Delaney for the opportunity.

    To control or to be controlled?......now that is the question.

    The Girl Before has more wicked cogs in the wheel than a jacked-up Monster truck in high gear. And that wheel keeps turning and turning throughout the entire story. Some days that wheel grinds in the down and dirty. Some days it revs up speed and gains relentless traction.

    Emma Matthews lives in the "once upon a gruesome time". Her spin in the wheel is entitled "Then". Emma and her boyfriend, Simon, are desperate for a safe haven after Emma is attacked in their present apartment. Fear makes you snap at quick decisions. Desperately, they apply for residency at a slick, state-of-the-art building. Even all the mind-blowing questionaires and restrictions don't deter them. No books (Ah, c'mon now!), no cushions, no placemats, no personal items left out. And they sign on the dotted line.

    Edward is the award winning architect and owner of this granite luxury edifice. He lost his wife and young son in a freak accident not long before. Living in Japan for a time afterwards, Edward returns to manage his property. And manage he does......quite to the nth degree.

    Jane Cavendish resides in the time slot entitled "Now". She will be the latest occupant of One Folgate Street. She recently gave birth to a stillborn little girl and has been devastated by the loss. Jane, too, is seeking solace behind the walls of this highly efficient building. Although this "covenant" seems highly imposing and limiting, Jane signs on the dotted line as well.

    Soon Jane begins to connect occurrences in her present situation to those of Emma in the past. Things just don't seem to add up. What actually happened to Emma?

    The Girl Before will be made into a movie by Ron Howard. It brings to mind a Julia Roberts movie (1991) called Sleeping With the Enemy. Remember how the canned goods and spices had to be stacked just so and the towels primly arranged on the rack? Oh, sweetheart, this is just the beginning......

    The Girl Before is one sharp-ended story that reaches deeply into the slightly tilted minds of its characters. Not everyone has a solid handle on their secrets in this one. Appearances can be deceiving. "No one who lives in this house should expect privacy." And privacy was left on the curb just footsteps from the entrance of that solid front door.

  • Melisa
    Oct 16, 2016

    : I just read that Ron Howard is going to direct the movie adaptation of this book. I can't wait!

    Wow! Book slump averted! A thriller has not made me this excited since Megan Miranda's

    .

    The story is told in alternating chapters between Emma, the girl before, and Jane, the current tenant of a very unique flat. While both women are searching for a living situation within their budgets in expensive London, their brokers both mention a possible solution. One Folgate Street

    : I just read that Ron Howard is going to direct the movie adaptation of this book. I can't wait!

    Wow! Book slump averted! A thriller has not made me this excited since Megan Miranda's

    .

    The story is told in alternating chapters between Emma, the girl before, and Jane, the current tenant of a very unique flat. While both women are searching for a living situation within their budgets in expensive London, their brokers both mention a possible solution. One Folgate Street has been designed by an architectural genius, Edward Monkford, but in order to live there, one must pass a series of vetting including a multi paged questionnaire and interview. This is where things just begin to get weird. I fear saying much more will give away the twists and turns within these pages.

    (As an aside, Emma's chapters are told without any quotation marks in the dialogue. While it takes some time to getting used to, it is very effective in differentiating between the two women's chapters. However I am completely curious as to why the author chose to use this device, if anyone knows, fill me in.)

    I thoroughly enjoyed how the author portrayed One Folgate - the apartment itself takes on a life of its own and becomes a central character in the story.

    There are multiple triggers within this book. I feel if I mention them here, they would be spoilers. So. Pretty much, if it's a trigger you can think of, it's here. Reader be warned!

    I've heard this author is writing under a pseudonym, and I am completely curious as to who masterminded this intricate story.

    If you need to have likable characters to enjoy a book, pass on this one. If you are very sensitive in nature and have some triggers, pass. If you want a wild roller coaster ride of ups and downs and rights and lefts, pick this one up! You won't be able to put it down.

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    Nov 08, 2016

    Would you move into a house that has pages and pages of rules? Where the questions ask you things that you couldn't live without? Questions about everything person? Also, you can't have kids/pets/make a mess?

    Don't be so sure, because those rents are expensive. This house, however has the latest and greatest gadgets going for it. Like lights that automatically adjust to you, the water temps remember those perfect settings, and lots of little stuff like an app for your phone that controls the hou

    Would you move into a house that has pages and pages of rules? Where the questions ask you things that you couldn't live without? Questions about everything person? Also, you can't have kids/pets/make a mess?

    Don't be so sure, because those rents are expensive. This house, however has the latest and greatest gadgets going for it. Like lights that automatically adjust to you, the water temps remember those perfect settings, and lots of little stuff like an app for your phone that controls the house.

    You just have to agree to be tested. To be monitored. Then there is that rich, super good looking architect landlord.

    Told from two different viewpoints, Emma from before and Jane from now..you see that certain things have a way of following just what has happened before.

    This was sooooo readable, I wanted to know so badly how the heck old lover/hot landlord was going to end up being the biggest baddie of all time so badly. (I'm not giving any secrets away for this one)

    And it is decent. I got a little yicked out with some "Daddy talk." Bleck.

    And the ending. Why can't authors keep up the momentum's in books? Why do they just get tired of writing at the end and throw whatever in? I want what I want!

    *sighs*

  • Paromjit
    Nov 14, 2016

    1 Folgate Street is no ordinary house, it is cutting edge and won the Stirling Prize. It is an example of extreme minimalism and incorporates the latest home technology. It was originally designed by the techno-architect Edward Monkton as his family home but his wife and son died there which means its now available for others to live. Only there is the slight problem of over 200 conditions that have to be adhered to by whoever lives there. And they have to be interviewed and approved by Monkton

    1 Folgate Street is no ordinary house, it is cutting edge and won the Stirling Prize. It is an example of extreme minimalism and incorporates the latest home technology. It was originally designed by the techno-architect Edward Monkton as his family home but his wife and son died there which means its now available for others to live. Only there is the slight problem of over 200 conditions that have to be adhered to by whoever lives there. And they have to be interviewed and approved by Monkton personally.

    The narrative focuses on Emma from the past, and Jane in the present. Both are troubled women. Emma was held at knife point by burglars and she is struggling to come to terms with this. This event drives her decision to apply to live in the house, despite her boyfriend, Simon's reservations. The conditions for residing there will turn her into a new person with more control, Jane has had a stillborn baby and grieving. This house will be her new start and she just happens to fancy the architect. She is receiving a flower delivery of gentians which she assumes is from the architect until she reads the card....and realises there is more to the house than she thought. Emma died in the house.

    A concerned Jane begins to investigate Emma, the girl before to ascertain whether she was murdered, and if so by whom. There are uncomfortable similarities between her and Emma. From both resembling Edward's wife, to having a no strings attached affair with him which runs a similar if not identical course, to both having risque sex. Jane meets the people in Emma's life including Simon, the aggrieved boyfriend, and Carol, the therapist. Meanwhile, the house appears to develop an entity of its own as strange and random things happen. Is the controlling and manipulative Edward a killer? Is Emma a reliable narrator? An air of menace hangs over the house as danger begins to close in around Jane.

    The writing is lucid, sparse and beautiful. Pretty much like the house, and there is an air of claustrophobia in the story. This is a house with tragic beginnings and a strong character that is destined to trouble those who live there, you can just feel this. It is a good psychological thriller that keeps you reading without ever losing interest. Thanks to Quercus for an ARC.

  • Melissa
    Dec 12, 2016

    I’m tossing this one on the heaping pile of books that led me to believe they were worthy of comparisons to

    or

    , but left me disappointed instead. Is this madness ever going to end? Why can’t a book be left to stand on it’s own merits? I guess it’s my fault for giving in and picking up yet another ‘Girl’ book. Have no fear though,

    , as the reviews I’ve seen have been overwhelming positive and apparently it’s being made into a

    I’m tossing this one on the heaping pile of books that led me to believe they were worthy of comparisons to

    or

    , but left me disappointed instead. Is this madness ever going to end? Why can’t a book be left to stand on it’s own merits? I guess it’s my fault for giving in and picking up yet another ‘Girl’ book. Have no fear though,

    , as the reviews I’ve seen have been overwhelming positive and apparently it’s being made into a movie. So,

    . It’s just one reader’s thoughts and feelings, after all.

    Point blank - I don’t get it.

    What sane person would agree to live in this situation? Forget sane - why would anybody sign up for this?

    Maybe I’m the crazy one, but there is no way I would ever agree to give up most of my belongings to move in to a minimalistic stone box of a house that comes with over 200 stipulations. Restrictive and ridiculous rules. Not to mention, answering a bizarre questionnaire and having my “amenities” shut down every time the perfectionistic control freak of a landlord feels like I need to answer yet another series of questions. All in an effort to gauge my “growth” or acceptance of the lifestyle the house demands. I don’t care how good looking or how famous of an architect the owner is; I wouldn’t do it. The author sells the idea by garnering sympathy from the reader for the two women and the excitement of top of the line technology - it's the ultimate smart house. Both women have recently experienced tragedies and need a fresh start. And, of course, the rent for this pseudo stone cell is quite cheap. Hmm . . . I wonder why?

    The story unfolds through the eyes of the two women - Emma, the previous tenant, and Jane, the current tenant. The story flip-flops between then and now, which takes place two years apart, at a pretty rapid pace. We get to see how their stories mirror each other and it’s a little convoluted at times. More than once, I had to go back to the beginning of the chapter to see whose head I was in because I was kind of lost. I liked the whole notion of getting caught up in a story or your past and recreating or reliving that same story over and over. But that’s were the likes kind of ended for me.

    The entire plot felt like a tangled mess and not one I particularly enjoyed unraveling. Albeit, there was something about it that kept me turning the pages. I can’t say I was wowed though - not by the characters, the scenario or even the twist.

  • Emily May
    Jan 20, 2017

    No. Please no.

    I feel like somebody noted the success of books like

    and the success of

    and thought: wouldn't it be great if we had a book that combined the two? No, actually. No, it wouldn't.

    failed on so many levels, and I say that as a reluctant fan of these "domestic thrillers". I've enjoyed everything from

    to last year's ridiculous but fast-paced

    . I expected I'd like this one too, but

    No. Please no.

    I feel like somebody noted the success of books like

    and the success of

    and thought: wouldn't it be great if we had a book that combined the two? No, actually. No, it wouldn't.

    failed on so many levels, and I say that as a reluctant fan of these "domestic thrillers". I've enjoyed everything from

    to last year's ridiculous but fast-paced

    . I expected I'd like this one too, but all I got was a

    , another guy called

    , and

    .

    The book alternates between the perspectives of Emma (Before) and Jane (After) as they move into the techno-minimalist apartment at One Folgate Street. Though beautiful, there is almost no furniture, absolutely everything is digital, and most bizarre of all - the landlord and famous architect, Edward Monkford, requires that his tenants follow some very strict rules. Both women soon find themselves caught up in a love affair with Edward, but when Jane discovers that Emma died in the apartment, she can't help investigating further.

    Jane's digging uncovers some disturbing facts about Emma - she expressed concern over Edward's controlling ways to her psychiatrist, her death may not have been an accident, and strangest of all, she looked eerily like Jane herself.

    Firstly, I don't know what is wrong with these women. Without giving away twists, their behaviour is often outright ridiculous. Warning bells are going off left, right and centre, and they're completely oblivious. At worst, Edward is a murderer, but even at best, he's a creepy weirdo. It's almost comical how much he resembles Christian Grey - not just sexually dominant and prone to "losing control" but also strict about Emma and Jane's eating and exercise habits. Ick. Get out. Also, lots of people have a "type", but it's just plain weird if your "type" are all women who look virtually identical.

    Secondly,

    . I feel like the author tried to create a "creepy house with a dark history" feeling, but it didn't come through because so much of the book was nothing more than a weird romance. I also see how Delaney was trying to create a "ghost of past lovers" vibe, but this ain't no

    . The writing wasn't strong enough to make you scared for the characters, to keep you metaphorically looking over your shoulder.

    It is often really difficult to distinguish between the two perspectives. I had to keep flicking to the beginning of the chapter to find out whether I was on Emma or Jane. This is partly because the

    and doesn't deeply connect you with the characters, but also partly because their stories are very similar. As we soon see, Edward takes them to the same places, gives them the same food, treats them the same ways - it was like reading the same perspective twice.

    And there's a whole bunch of subtle racism going on, as well as a bunch of other distasteful issues. If you insist on only writing about white, middle class people, don’t make the criminals/rapists black and working class. How do you not see what's wrong with that? And casual comments like this (made by a psychiatrist):

    I can think of a whole lot of relationships where that definitely isn't true.

    Plus, there's a really poor and insensitive

    . Without giving away spoilers, someone who was seen to be orally raped is then making jokes about preferring human sperm sacs (to fish sperm sacs - it's a long story, Japanese restaurant, blah blah). Firstly... gross. And secondly... gross.

    But maybe, even after all of this, I could have been persuaded to up my rating if the ending had provided us with an interesting and satisfying reveal. Unfortunately,

    . The list of suspects is too short; the list of suspects who we'd actually care about it being is even shorter. I'm sorry, but I can't even find anything good to say about it.

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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    Feb 01, 2017

    3.5 stars

    Really fast paced and captured my attention from beginning to end, but it tried a little hard to be too many different things. I kept getting whiplash over all the "But this! And this! Now this! Jk this! Look at me; I'm being shocking and twisty!" Unfortunately, this took away from what could have been a 5 star read for me. Still enjoyable and would still recommend to the right reader. Full review to come.

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Jan 15, 2017

    This book is very manipulative and, clearly, deceptive.

    If that bothers you – and if you generally dislike far-fetched cases – I suggest you read something less convoluted.

    By ‘‘manipulative,’’ I mean you’re more than pushed into liking specific characters and disliking others. So you do that. But despite having your thoughts about characters shaped by the author, you’re still manipulated some more as the story progresses.

    I don’t exactly like when that happens. I prefer to be exposed to all face

    This book is very manipulative and, clearly, deceptive.

    If that bothers you – and if you generally dislike far-fetched cases – I suggest you read something less convoluted.

    By ‘‘manipulative,’’ I mean you’re more than pushed into liking specific characters and disliking others. So you do that. But despite having your thoughts about characters shaped by the author, you’re still manipulated some more as the story progresses.

    I don’t exactly like when that happens. I prefer to be exposed to all facets of someone’s personality and then be able to decide for myself who deserves justice and who doesn’t.

    This mystery novel is engrossing, despite it not giving us the liberty of making our own opinions on the protagonists and antagonists until the very end. The short chapters surely had their role to play in my being unable to put this book down.

    It’s slow, partly because it’s a mystery novel. If you’re familiar with the genre, you know that these types of novels take time to pick up because it’s all about the building part. It takes time for Jane to discover someone died in the house and it takes time for Emma to feel scared. That’s when things really become interesting.

    The death thing confused me, since I thought real estate agents were supposed to disclose info like that – especially when the previous tenants have died. But I guess there are places where no such law exists. Bummer, but it worked in the author’s favour.

    I enjoyed seeing this book shift from mystery to psychological thriller. I’m definitely the type to enjoy action in my plots, so I couldn’t do anything else but welcome the darker side of THE GIRL BEFORE, even if it takes time to reach that point.

    The characters also take time to become important in the reader’s eyes; most likely because they seem so normal, but that’s probably done on purpose to give the effect that this kind of story could happen to you or me. Anyone at all.

    But don’t worry; it’s very, very unlikely. Sleep tight now.

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  • Deanna
    Feb 21, 2017

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    The Girl Before is a psychological thriller that is getting a lot of attention. The movie rights have even been sold to Universal with Ron Howard to direct. I didn't know any of that when I first read the description for the book. I just thought it sounded like an entertaining read.

    One Folgate Street in London, is a high-tech minimalist house with s

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    The Girl Before is a psychological thriller that is getting a lot of attention. The movie rights have even been sold to Universal with Ron Howard to direct. I didn't know any of that when I first read the description for the book. I just thought it sounded like an entertaining read.

    One Folgate Street in London, is a high-tech minimalist house with so many cool amenities and features that you would figure the rent would be sky-high. But the rent is actually very reasonable.

    So what's the catch? Well there's no catch really...

    Except for THE RULES!!

    Tenants are required to follow very a list of very strict rules. Things like no pets, paying rent on time, no loud noise after 11pm, take out the garbage. You know, things like that...

    NOPE...not at all like that.

    There are over 200 rules that tenants MUST be abide by in order to live in the house.

    To say that the owner/landlord of One Folgate Street is picky about who lives in the house is an understatement. To say that he's a bit particular about his rules for the tenants is putting it mildly. The rental application is extremely long and includes many bizarre (and impossible) questions.

    Is it worth it to live in such a beautiful high-tech home? This home with its awesome hidden gadgets. A house cleaner comes weekly. The lights, heat and cooling will set to tenants personal preferences. The shower will also adjust to their personal settings. Even the air in the house makes you feel better with its ultrasonic - mood enhancing waveforms.

    Just don't forget.....the RULES. The main one? NO CLUTTER! Everything has its place, usually out of sight. So no pictures, no plants, no ornaments, no books....wait NO BOOKS???? (OMG!!! that's just wrong!)

    The owner, Edward Monkford is the architect who built the house. He also lives a minimalist lifestyle. He will not rent unless he finds the perfect tenant. But his need for control goes so much farther than that. And yet... some people are drawn to the "tormented genius". But who is Edward really? What happens if someone does break the rules?

    Emma and her boyfriend, Simon are looking for a safe place to live after a recent break-in. However, their budget is a bit tight and everything is either horrible or too expensive. Then the agent shows them One Folgate Street. She explains the lengthy process for application. Simon is hesitant but Emma feels like the place might be exactly what they need. The rules make her feel secure. She wants to reinvent herself, bring order to her life, to change and be a better person.

    The house may change her, but will it be for the better?

    We then meet Jane. After a devastating loss, Jane is looking for new place to live. She wants to make a new start and hopes that One Folgate Street is the place to do it. But it's not long before some strange things start happening. Jane learns some of the dark history of the house and is determined to find out more, especially what happened to the previous tenant.

    The house may be inexpensive and full of high-tech gadgets, but the walls of the house are also full of secrets. Where is the previous tenant? and is Jane in any danger?

    This book may not be for everyone. There is a lot of sex. I will definitely say that some of the characters "turn-ons" may be "turn-offs" for some readers. It wasn't really my thing and I could have done without those parts. However, it didn't really interfere with my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

    The chapters alternate between THEN and NOW and are narrated by Jane (NOW) and Emma (THEN). I flew through the pages. Occasionally I had to flip back to double-check whether it was Emma or Jane but most of the time I was able to keep up. The story may have been hard to believe and far-fetched at times, but I decided to try to go with the flow and enjoy it...

    In the end I really liked this novel. I was pulled and it got right inside my head. I had to know what was going to happen! A thrilling story about a house I would NEVER want to live in, (seriously I could not handle any of the rules) but I sure enjoyed reading about it.

    P.S Put your shampoo away

    Thank you, Ballantine Books for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.