Published: 26th January 2017 (Quercus)
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.
Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, The Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.
One Folgate Street – minimalism to the extreme! This property is a stunning house in a desirable area of London therefore it seems to good to be true for both Emma and Jane that they could possibly rent it at such a reduced price. However there are rules, 200 of them to be precise as to how the house should be lived in down to the possessions that its inhabitants can bring with them.
The Girl Before is told in the past by Emma and the now by Jane, both women are seeking security and peace when they are invited to apply to live at One Folgate Street.
Edward Monkfield is a famous architect and One Folgate Street is his flagship property – designed to actually change the lives of the people who live there with its ultra-minimalism. Edward likes to be in control of everything in his life and this property is a reflection of that – the data that both the house and tenants provide is constantly monitored with its inhabitants being expected to complete questionnaires whenever the ‘housekeeper’ system requires it. This is cutting edge technology!
Emma and her boyfriend, Simon, come across One Folgate Street when they are searching for somewhere to live to make Emma feel safe again following a robbery at their home. Emma is instantly attracted to the security that the property offers – Simon isn’t as keen but will do anything to make Emma happy again. When Jane moves into the property, she is grieving for the loss of her daughter who was born sleeping – since that day Jane has changed jobs and is working for a still birth charity therefore is attracted by the simplistic nature of One Folgate Street. However, Jane then discovers that Emma died at the property and becomes determined to find out what happened to her as there are conflicting stories as to what happened.
I loved how this story was told, from alternating perspectives by Emma and Jane, with short sharp chapters. The Girl Before is certainly a cleverly crafted novel with a tight plot, allowing the characters to almost join up despite being in different timelines. I really liked Jane’s character, she was instantly likeable and whilst she fell for Edward’s charms, she still keep her personality and sass! Edward is an interesting character and I found his personality fascinating, uncovering his obsession for perfection.
I thoroughly enjoyed the psychological elements of The Girl Before, struggling to trust anything that I was reading. However, at points it got a little too Fifty Shades of Grey for me personally, not what I want from my psychological thrillers; I found it gratuitous and personally I don’t think these scenes contributed much more to the plot – Edward’s control and attraction were evident already.
A great psychological thriller featuring state of the art technology and the search of perfection through minimalism.
J. P. Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best-selling fiction under another name.