Wow! I really loved this story, it was so twisty! I enjoyed how we learnt about Emma and Jane and their relationships – three years apart – with Edward, the architect of The House. Similarities between Emma, Jane and Edward’s first wife are pieced together through the narrative.
1 Folgate Street London is a special house, and only a certain type of person can live there. There are exhaustive and exacting rules to follow, an iron clad lease to be signed and each tenant must be approved by the architect before anyone is allowed to move in. After traumatic events in the lives of both Emma and Jane, they each find refuge and initially feel safe at Folgate Street. Emma had been threatened with a knife during a burglary at a previous house while Jane had recently had a stillborn baby girl at full term. 1 Folgate Street is very secure, with biometric scanning built in and very minimal décor. Both girls needed The House to feel safe and whole again.
All the way through the novel it was stated that the architect Edward was a controlling perfectionist, and it was alluded to that he was trying to re-create a perfect relationship. It was almost creepy how Edward gave each woman the same gifts, and said the exact same words to each. Edward appeared to love Emma and she tragically died in The House. Three years later Jane is accepted as a tenant. She is curious and finds out small details about Emma, yet Edward refuses to speak about her. Going behind Edward’s back and speaking to people who knew Emma; a retired policeman, her previous boyfriend Simon and her therapist, Jane starts to worry for her own safety.
I loved how the characters were written in this story, they really came to life for me. I thought I knew what had happened to Emma, but I was surprised. Jane also surprised me with her strength of character, and how she dealt with her emotions and choices was really well written.
The denouement at the end of The Girl Before was another brilliant twist – who ends up controlling who? I loved this story, definitely a recommended read.
~ Kerryn, QBD Northland