Publisher: Ballantine Books
A psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception—and the hottest title at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair.
A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.
The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season.
I try really hard to stay away from reading Goodreads reviews until after I’ve read a book as I don’t want to be influenced beforehand and have preconceived notions. I love reading reviews from my fellow book bloggers because I trust their opinions and know they won’t spoil anything for me, but on Goodreads/Amazon you just never know. All that being said, I had heard that The Girl Before was getting mixed reactions so I checked things out for myself and it seems people either love this book or they hate it. I happened to love it, but just know that it seems like it’s not for everyone.
You have dual perspectives here, Emma is Then, Jane is Now. This style never fails to reel me in and by ten percent I was totally hooked. Emma and her boyfriend Simon move into One Folgate Street together, then two years later Jane moves in alone to start fresh after a tragedy. As the chapters flip back and forth, the similarities between the two women are frighteningly uncanny.
One of the biggest complaints that I’ve seen about this book is that no one finds the premise believable. One Folgate Street is owned by an architect named Edward who is a rigid perfectionist to put it mildly. He’s created a sterile, modern home with new technology that’s amazing but also creepy. No house keys are needed, the shower remembers what temperature you prefer, etc. The application prospective tenants must fill out in order to be considered has two hundred questions. That’s right, TWO hundred and they are anything but typical. They require the applicant to answer moral dilemmas and they’re just very odd. He also requires a picture which is just bizarre. Would I ever want to live in a place with a tyrannical control freak as a landlord? No thank you. But as a premise for a book I thought it was fabulous and it didn’t bother me that it wasn’t exactly believable.
Beyond what I’ve already discussed I won’t say more about the plot. This was a highly addictive and provocative read for me, a real page turner about the quest for perfection and the obsession that goes hand in hand with it. I was blindsided by one of the major twists and the smaller ones threw me for a loop as well. I can’t wait to see this play out on the big screen as Ron Howard is directing, I think it’ll be fantastic! Again, this seems to be a really polarizing read, you’ll either love it or hate it. If you’ve read it I would love to see which side of the fence you fall on!
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to Ballantine Books for my review copy.