Oh, there was lots of buzz around J.P. Delaney's new release The Girl Before. Did it live up to the hype? Yes it did - I raced through it in two days.
One Folgate Street in London, England, is a architectural wonder. It is minimalism to the extreme. Stone, glass, white on white, no doors. And much is controlled by the Housekeeper - a computer program that takes its cues from the bracelet that the inhabitants wear.
And who lives there? Only those chosen by the architect - after undergoing a rigorous application. And acceptance of the many rules of the house - no mess everything must be out of sight, no photos, no colour and much more.
"Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life."
After a break-in, Emma see living in the house as safe, a sanctuary against danger. After her divorce, Jane sees the house as a clean slate, a new start. Emma lived at Folgate before Jane.
The Girl Before is told in alternating chapters from Jane and Emma - now and then. When Jane learns of the previous tenant's death, she becomes consumed with finding out more - even though she is discouraged by the enigmatic Edward, the architect/owner. The reader is privy to the events during Emma's time in the house. And knowing what we know, the tension ratchets up as Jane seems to be following in her footsteps - and into danger......
I felt like I should be on Emma and Jane's 'side', if you will. But as the book progressed and more of their personalities and their (questionable) choices are revealed, I found I didn't overly like either of them. But I still desperately wanted to know what next. Edward - well, he's in his own category. And I'm not too sure why either of them find him so appealing, but hey, this book wouldn't be the same without him being this way. Control, it's all about control with this guy. In his life and in his house. Super creepy.
Gentle readers be warned - there are a few somewhat graphic sex scenes.
Just get yourself past accepting that anyone would actually move into a house such as this with crazy rules and you are in for a deliriously addictive, psychologically twisty turny read with a nice little gotcha in the end. Read an excerpt of The Girl Before. The Girl Before has been optioned by Universal Studios with Ron Howard to direct.