Review: The Girl Before by J P Delaney

girl beforeWhat I thought:

Despite my growing aversion to anything with “Girl” in the title (or sister, husband or missing, come to that), The Girl Before has proved that I was wrong to judge a book by its cover (or title in this case). It was a big hit!

Narrated in turn by Emma (Then) and Jane (Now), the story is centred around a unique home at 1, Folgate Street in London. Jane moves into what she thinks is her dream home (beautiful, uncluttered and a pittance for what it is) to help get over a tragedy she has just suffered. Desperate to start a clean slate, she isn’t put off sending in her application for the most beautiful house where everything is controlled by an app, despite a list of 200 psychometric questions that have to be answered. Most people, the Agent says, don’t get a look in. Only a select few ever make the cut. But once Jane is settled she finds out that Emma, the girl before, died in mysterious circumstances right there in the home.

I had many reservations about this book before reading, and having Girl in the title was only one of them. I had seen mixed reviews, with many stating that it was Fifty-Shades-of-Gray-esque which was enough to put me off all on its own. Now, I haven’t actually read Fifty Shades but I did sit through the most excruciatingly boring 2 hours of my life once when I was persuaded to watch it with a friend. I can see the parallels alright – the controlling, emotionally stunted, control freak who is the Landlord and women who apparently fall at his feet. These bits I didn’t particularly like, and in fact, I had a hard time warming to most of the characters, but yet I was gripped from the start and compelled to keep reading on.


I found this to be a real page-turner and  I thoroughly enjoyed it. The chapters are short, there are unreliable narrators so you’re never really clear on what’s real and what’s not. It was pacy and entertaining and I give it a big thumbs up.

Have you read this yet? What did you think?


8 thoughts on “Review: The Girl Before by J P Delaney

    • The Book Whisperer says:

      Good question. I guess because there are SO many of them. If a book is branded “the next Girl on a Train” or “the next Gone Girl”, I began to view them as jumping on a bandwagon and so many of them disappointed me with their mediocrity. I guess I don’t have an aversion, I’m just cynical 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ocean Bream says:

        Well it is rather to be expected. I find books with ‘Girl’ in them to be intriguing – mostly because of the ambiguity that entails. That being said, however, I have not read any disappointing books with that word in the title. 🙂 So you wouldn’t recommend ‘Girl on a Train’? It’s all over the place but I haven’t read it.


  1. Donna says:

    I so wish I could get back those hours watching 50 Shades, too. Never am I letting friends choose movies again,haha! I’m glad you enjoyed this story despite the similarities. I admit I was very interested in the book before reading about this 50 Shade comparisons and this has been a real turnoff. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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