About the Book
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.
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.
I was really intrigued by the synopsis to this book and simply had to request it as soon as I spotted it on NetGalley. The initial sentence of the synopsis about making a list of all the possessions you consider essential to your life just made me want to read more!
This is such a fast-paced read, I flew through the first half of the book when I’d only intended to read a couple of chapters to decide whether this would be my next read. I love how the book is told in a dual timeline – the girl before Emma in the past and then Jane in the present day. It’s really well put together that we see Emma view the house and then we see Jane doing the same thing but each time we switch character the story advances a bit more and it really hooks you in. You want to know what happens to Emma and whether Jane will suffer the same fate.
The house in this book is a character in its own right, which was really interesting. I could picture the house so clearly and even though it sounded very cold and sterile the way Jane and Emma felt safe there made me intrigued. I’m not sure that I would have felt safe having every aspect of my home controlled by an app… having said that it did make me think about how much of my own home is wifi dependent.
A lot of the premise of this book is down to control. The house is controlled by the owner, and therefore whoever lives there is at his mercy. There was elements of control in some of the romantic relationships the women were involved in. That was all great and I love the way the story hinged on control. The downside for me was the sex scenes; it all just felt a bit unnecessary. It actually seemed like Edward was written the way he was in a deliberate attempt to gain comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey and it felt a bit gimmicky.
On the whole though this was a really good read. It did keep me hooked; you can’t beat a twisty thriller with unreliable narrators! I worked out what was going on before the characters did but I still wanted to keep reading to see exactly how it all panned out. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves a fast-paced thriller.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Girl Before is out now and available here.