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The Girl Before
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Archive - Group Reads > The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (with spoilers) - June 2018

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Gem  | 1339 comments Mod
Hello fellow Crime, Mystery, and Thriller readers! This discussion is about The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney and your host is Nguyen.
Information about Spoilers

Please note if you have not finished reading the book spoilers are permitted in this discussion from the start.
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney


Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive - and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.


Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant - and it does.


After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street, she is instantly drawn to the space - and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror as the girl before.

Nguyen Xuan | 16 comments As I Read It
A young woman who described herself as efficient, high achieving and successful had been leading an uneventful life when "giving birth" to a stillborn baby caused her to put an end to a comfortable career in public relations and get a part-time job with a charity that campaigned to improve research in stillbirth.
Looking for affordable rent, she stumbled across an unusual house, a showcase for a new architectural concept. Situated in a fashionable quarter, it looked more like a fortress with stone walls, stone floors, no visible doors and sparse furniture.
A notable feature was a dangerous-looking staircase made of stone slabs set into the wall and devoid of ramp or carpet. Electronics controlled everything. Tenants were provided with digital keys and digital bracelets and a virtual housekeeper monitored even their body functions and stress levels.
Aspiring tenants had to go through a drastic procedure complete with application form, an exhaustive questionnaire and an interview with the landlord; a tenant-landlord agreement listed over two hundred rules and breaking anyone of them meant breach of contract.
The award, however, was worth the sacrifice - a surprisingly low rent. Even so, there had been no tenant for a year. It definitely looked as if a twisted perfectionist was looking for a soulmate.
Actually, the house was the property of Edward Monkford, a famous architect and the leader of a construction company which had a long list of realizations in several cities worldwide. Originally planned by himself and his then wife and associate to serve as their family home, it had been completely redesigned by and for himself when his wife and their son died In an accident. The home was for rent because he eventually preferred living in hotels.
Jane fell in love with both the house and the landlord and became his tenant and girlfriend.
Their relationship had a bad start. Soon after she moved in, Jane discovered that the previous tenant, a young woman named Emma, who bore a strong resemblance to herself and was Edward's girlfriend, had been found dead at the age of twenty six at the bottom of the staircase a year earlier, presumably a suicide.
Varied information, mostly from Simon, Emma's boyfriend and fellow tenant before they separated, pointed to Jane's dismay at the possibility that Edward had killed Emma and even his wife and son. Her doubts only subsided when she found out that Emma was subjected to physical abuse by Simon just before she fell off the staircase. Then she narrowly escaped death at the bottom of the same staircase when a deeply grieved and somewhat deranged Simon tried to physically abuse her - he fell to his death instead.
Edward refrained from comment when Jane told him she was pregnant. Trouble came, however, when the baby arrived - with Down syndrome. Edward gave her the choice between keeping the baby and keeping the house and their relationship. "[Y]ou have to give him up," he said. "There are people who adopt such babies. People who choose that to be their life. Not people like you."
He erred. She kept the baby.
The Girl Before is a thriller about a brave young woman facing an imperfect world. However heartless or inscrutable they may seem to be, the likes of Edward Monkford exist in real life, as do their antics' collateral damages. I only regret that the mind-boggling two-necklace imbroglio that worried Jane so much at a time was not thought out more thoroughly.
Regarding multiple first-person narration one may wish, when the narrator was to meet with violent death as was the case with Emma, that her testimony, for the sake of plausibility, would not be allowed to go on up to the blow that killed her instantly. Surely "[T]he pale stone floor comes to meet me and my head explodes" must sound a bit eery !

Jonathan | 4 comments I havent finished the book yet, but am about 75% done. Does anyone else find it completely ridiculous that Jane has all these questions and evidence of Edward being a murderer and all around shady character yet she refuses to leave him and continues to defend him to everyone when they bring up oddities in his past? This just seems totally unbelievable to me....

Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1288 comments I finished this afternoon and I found that what Jane found out to be disturbing but not that she was defending him. I think that the more she found out the more she didn't want to believe.

Nguyen Xuan | 16 comments Jonathan, I am pretty sure you would change your mind when you finish reading.

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