Published January 24, 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Girl Before is a psychological thriller that is getting a lot of attention. The movie rights have even been sold to Universal with Ron Howard to direct. I didn’t know any of that when I first read the description for the book. I just thought it sounded like an entertaining read.
“Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.”
One Folgate Street in London, is a high-tech minimalist house with so many cool amenities and features that you would figure the rent would be sky-high. But the rent is actually very reasonable.
So what’s the catch? Well there’s no catch really…
Except for….THE RULES!!
Tenants are required to follow very a list of very strict rules. Things like no pets, paying rent on time, no loud noise after 11pm, take out the garbage. You know, things like that…
NOPE…not at all like that.
There are over 200 rules that tenants MUST be abide by in order to live in the house.
To say that the owner/landlord of One Folgate Street is picky about who lives in the house is an understatement. To say that he’s a bit particular about his rules for the tenants is putting it mildly. The rental application is extremely long and includes many bizarre (and impossible) questions.
“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?”
Is it worth it to live in such a beautiful high-tech home? This home with its awesome hidden gadgets. A house cleaner comes weekly. The lights, heat and cooling will set to tenants personal preferences. The shower will also adjust to their personal settings. Even the air in the house makes you feel better with its ultrasonic – mood enhancing waveforms.
“Imagine a hospital where the structure itself becomes part of the healing process, or a home for dementia sufferers that actually helps them to remember. This house might be simple, but it’s ambition is extraordinary.”
Just don’t forget…..the RULES. The main one? NO CLUTTER! Everything has its place, usually out of sight. So no pictures, no plants, no ornaments, no books….wait NO BOOKS???? (OMG!!! that’s just wrong!)
The owner, Edward Monkford is the architect who built the house. He also lives a minimalist lifestyle. He will not rent unless he finds the perfect tenant. But his need for control goes so much farther than that. And yet… some people are drawn to the “tormented genius”. But who is Edward really? What happens if someone does break the rules?
Emma and her boyfriend, Simon are looking for a safe place to live after a recent break-in. However, their budget is a bit tight and everything is either horrible or too expensive. Then the agent shows them One Folgate Street. She explains the lengthy process for application. Simon is hesitant but Emma feels like the place might be exactly what they need. The rules make her feel secure. She wants to reinvent herself, bring order to her life, to change and be a better person.
The house may change her, but will it be for the better?
We then meet Jane. After a devastating loss, Jane is looking for new place to live. She wants to make a new start and hopes that One Folgate Street is the place to do it. But it’s not long before some strange things start happening. Jane learns some of the dark history of the house and is determined to find out more, especially what happened to the previous tenant.
The house may be inexpensive and full of high-tech gadgets, but the walls of the house are also full of secrets. Where is the previous tenant? and is Jane in any danger?
“That’s all anyone’s looking for really, isn’t it? Someone to take care of the mess inside our heads?”
This book may not be for everyone. There is a lot of sex. Some of the characters “turn-ons” may be “turn-offs” for some readers. It wasn’t really my thing and I could have done without those parts. However, it didn’t really interfere with my enjoyment of the rest of the book.
The chapters alternate between THEN and NOW and are narrated by Jane (NOW) and Emma (THEN). I flew through the pages. Occasionally I had to flip back to double-check whether it was Emma or Jane but most of the time I was able to keep up. The story may have been hard to believe and far-fetched at times, but I decided to try to go with the flow and enjoy it…
In the end I really liked this novel. I was pulled and it got right inside my head. I had to know what was going to happen! A thrilling story about a house I would NEVER want to live in, (seriously I could not handle any of the rules) but I sure enjoyed reading about it.
P.S Put your shampoo away
Thank you, Ballantine Books for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.