Genres: Adult Fiction
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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.
There’s something fresh and twisted about The Girl Before, something I can’t put my finger on. You’d think that this genre, now exploding since Gone Girl, was somehow over baked, but not. The Girl Before is interesting, grabbing the reader as a mystery and a thriller all in one.
The POV are told alternately between Emma (then) and Jane (now). As their stories unfold, Jane and Emma each wonder about the girl before. Jane obsesses about Emma and Emma obsesses about the architect and her new lover’s deceased wife. While I didn’t enjoy or like either of the characters, main and supporting alike), the plot keep try attention as each new morsel of information was carefully doled out to the reader. The best part of the book? The modern, clean and menacing modern home of 1 Folgate Street, that each girl lives in. The house was the perfect setting as well as villain, supporting Emma and Jane and then turning on them in an instant.
Also while I didn’t really like either character, it was WAY better for me than Girl On The Train, in which I loathed all of the main characters and hoped they all died.
Early on I did figure out what had happened, but this did not detract me in my enjoyment. I did feel like a lot of the “clues” and other misleading evidence was laid on pretty thick, (subtle mastery this is not). It kept me interested in the drive to work and while each narrator read the book beautifully, I have to admit that they sounded a little too much like each other.
Overall, The Girl Before is a well paced, if not predictable, thriller. If you enjoyed other books in this genre, you should give this one a try. They are making it into a film so read it before you see it.