This is the story of Emma and Jane…and a house. Emma is the girl before and Jane is the current occupant of One Folgate Street. Through alternating POV, we learn the tale of obsession, control and murder, while finding out just how closely these two young women’s lives intersect and parallel one another.
I was drawn to the description of this book. “In the tradition of Girl on the Train…and Gone Girl,” had me hooked. Yet, I found very few similarities…the first one being that they all have the word “Girl” in the title. As with Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, there are some pretty dysfunctional characters involved. Honestly, I didn’t like any of them. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the writing and plot. In fact, I found the plot to be quite unique – a control freak perfectionist who designs the perfect house and expects only perfect people to live there.
Unfortunately, there were several things I didn’t like about the book. I found that some of the characters seemed to change far too abruptly. Not wanting to give away any spoilers, I can only say that it was a little too Jekyll and Hyde for my taste. It was as though the author suddenly changed things up to suit the plot.
I wasn’t a fan of the way the book was arranged. For one, I didn’t like the format in Emma’s POV. There were no dialogue quotes, which made it confusing at times. There was a lot of “he goes” instead of “he says”, which I found irritating and juvenile. Also, each chapter was either labeled “Then: Emma” or “Now: Jane”, which made things somewhat monotonous and confusing as well, since I found the women so similar.
My other issue was the wishy-washy women involved. Both Emma and Jane had endured life-changing events that brought them to One Folgate Street, yet they were quickly able to become controlled by Edward. The ending was a letdown and lukewarm at best.
The Girl Before is a quick and easy read. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I’d hoped.
3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.