The Girl Before by J P Delaney

“And it’s smart. It learns who you are and what your usual routine is, but anyone else, it’ll check with you to make sure they’re authorised.”

I like minimalist and the fact that the house had a lot of rules intrigued me. Plus a mysterious thriller to read, I was so keen to read this book. I imagined white rooms with stainless or brushed steel fittings and bare floors. I’m wondering about the rules though, what are they?!

The book follow two timelines, one for Jane and one for Emma. It is easy to follow as all the sections start with either “Then:Emma” or “Now:Jane”. Both Emma and Jane have had trauma in their lives (as have many people, but in their case, it is relatively recent) and need to move on. Finding somewhere suitable to live at an affordable price can be a challenge, when you need to feel secure in your home environment. Their estate agents offer to show them One Folgate Street as a final last ditch attempt to find them somewhere that fits their requirements. Both Emma and Jane are advised that the terms of the lease are strict, and unusual. Plus there is an involved application process with no guarantee that they will get through to the final hurdle, a personal interview.

Having completed the form and gone through the hoops, the tenants are introduced to the house and it’s systems. The house looks after its occupants, the occupants keep the house clutter-free and clean, and “obey the rules”.

Over the course of the book Jane’s story unfolds and Jane, in turn, unravels Emma’s story as she settles in to her new home. In doing so Jane begins to wonder if her own life is in danger and races to find out what happened to Emma in order to save herself.

I read this book in one day and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has stayed with me as snippets have popped into my mind from time to time. It reminded me ever so slightly of an old film I’ve seen, where the technology of the house comes alive and wants to stay that way.

This book is worth taking time to read. Book some time out in your diary.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
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.

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