The Girl Before

June 13, 2017

Read from: 28th January
To: 31st January
Format: Audiobook

One Folgate Street is a minimalist, high-tech epitome of a house that offers a reasonably cheap rent for the amenities included, however there is a catch: tenants must abide by rules. Over 200 of them, including taking the bins out, no loud noise after 11pm, no clutter and taking questionnaires frequently.

And that is only if you are successful through the rigorous application and interview by the home’s owner and architect, Edward Monkton.

JP Delaney writes about how Emma and Jane move into the house, years apart, only for Jane to learn of the similarities between herself and Emma and some of the dark secrets of the property, but will she learn the truth about Emma and the house too late?

I bought this book using one of my Audible credits only a couple of days before I started listening to it – I was instantly drawn to the idea of a gripping thriller and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint.

  1. The book is very easy to listen to – to the point that I listened to this entire book (all 10 hours and 5 minutes of it) in 4 days. I do tend to listen to books at double speed (so this book would only take me 5 hours to listen to) so that means my 4 day consumption of this book is a little less impressive but that still works out at over 1 hour of listening per day!
  2. It alternates between two perspectives set years apart – we have Emma from the past and Jane from the present. Two different voice actors meant it was fairly easy to work out whose story we were listening to, though at times it did get a bit tricky for me to keep track because of the rapid chapter changes.
  3. The set-up for the home is a bit unrealistic – as mentioned above, there are over 200 rules to abide by if one wants to live in the house in question. Some of the rules are understandable (such as taking the bins out) but at times I felt it was a bit too far-fetched, not only because of some specific rules (including allowing strangers to view the architectural qualities of the home every so often) but also because of the quantity of rules. However, both Emma and Jane are in tough situations when they acquire the keys to the house so perhaps it’s not too far-fetched given their desperation for a home and the reasonable pricing for the amazing house.
  4. There are a lot of triggers in the book – burglary, rape, still birth and abortion to name a few, which I feel address some real problems people are faced with today but also adds to the density and weight of the novel.
  5. It gets a bit predictable towards the end but the twist was very unexpected – for the majority of this book, I felt unaware of what was going to happen until a certain turning point, where I started to piece it all together and guessed (to an extent) the end. However, the turning point was a very unexpected twist.
  6. The book has an air of magnetism – I simply could not get enough of this book. I was so drawn to it and finding out what happened, which helped drive me to finish the book in 4 days.
  7. The sprinkling of questions throughout the book were very thought provoking – these are designed to ask you the questions that Emma and Jane were asked on their application, for example “A person close to you confesses in confidence that they ran someone over while drunk. As a result they have given up drinking for good. Would you feel obliged to report it to the police?” While I think I have a very strong moral compass, some of the questions asked did make me think about the answer that I would give and, to be frank, I couldn’t answer some of them!
  8. It’s not a light book – meant in terms of the plot and the pace. The plot made me think and the pace was such that I felt I couldn’t put the book down. The book – with the plot and the pace – held me captive for the days that it took me to consume it and it is definitely one I would consider re-listening to.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While it may not be one that I remember in as much depth in a few months, the fact that Universal have bought the movie rights means I’ll be reliving the story again in a few months/years, and I will definitely have to consider listening to the book again when the film comes out!

Overall rating: 9/10
Entertainment: 9/10
Predictability: 6/10
Density/weight: 7/10
Writing quality: 8/10
Inspiration: 4/10
Characters: 7/10
Spark: 8/10
Feel good: 3/10
Plot: 8/10
Reading: 9/10

Recommend: I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those who love crime and want to get consumed in a psychological thriller, though I’d perhaps recommend having at least several hours – if not days – free to be able to read the book. While there are some people who have said they don’t like the book as it simply doesn’t work for them, a 3.7/5 from over 16,800 ratings on Goodreads definitely proves the book is worth its weight!


Rebecca ♥

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