The Girl Before

Review From User :

Update: I just read that Ron Howard is going to direct the movie adaptation of this book. I can't wait!

Wow! Book slump averted! A thriller has not made me this excited since Megan Miranda's All the Missing Girls.

The story is told in alternating chapters between Emma, the girl before, and Jane, the current tenant of a very unique flat. While both women are searching for a living situation within their budgets in expensive London, their brokers both mention a possible solution. One Folgate Street has been designed by an architectural genius, Edward Monkford, but in order to live there, one must pass a series of vetting including a multi paged questionnaire and interview. This is where things just begin to get weird. I fear saying much more will give away the twists and turns within these pages.

(As an aside, Emma's chapters are told without any quotation marks in the dialogue. While it takes some time to getting used to, it is very effective in differentiating between the two women's chapters. However I am completely curious as to why the author chose to use this device, if anyone knows, fill me in.)

I thoroughly enjoyed how the author portrayed One Folgate - the apartment itself takes on a life of its own and becomes a central character in the story.

There are multiple triggers within this book. I feel if I mention them here, they would be spoilers. So. Pretty much, if it's a trigger you can think of, it's here. Reader be warned!

I've heard this author is writing under a pseudonym, and I am completely curious as to who masterminded this intricate story.

If you need to have likable characters to enjoy a book, pass on this one. If you are very sensitive in nature and have some triggers, pass. If you want a wild roller coaster ride of ups and downs and rights and lefts, pick this one up! You won't be able to put it down.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true . . . wasn’t?

Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.

In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name – Diana – and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew, to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.

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