The Sunday Times best-seller.
The New York Times best-seller.
The Radio 2 Book Club Choice - February 2017
Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection...but can you pay the price?
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules.After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.
Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, The Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.
©2017 JP Delaney (P)2017 Random House Audio
"The tension is built up subtly, leading to a devastating climax. A really clever thriller... [the film] will no doubt become the third big 'Girl' film." (Daily Mail)
"I was instantly gripped and held captivated by the pace and elegant writing. I devoured it in two straight sittings." (Peter James)
"A deeply addictive literary thriller that deserves to be one of this year's biggest successes." (Daily Express)
"Original and entertaining." (The Times)
"A guaranteed best-seller." (Red Magazine)
Others compare this to the "girl on the train" but I preferred The Girl Before. I found the lead characters in this far more compelling and the structure of this book far more readable.
Edward is really another Christian Gray and the 2 girls in the book are a lot like Anna. Couldn't listen past ch 5 - disappointing
History repeats, making for an edgy and mysterious domestic thriller.
Set ‘then’ and ‘now’, J P Delaney mirrors the life of two women who take up residence at the same address. Jane is the ‘now’, coming to terms with her still born baby. She’s attracted to the minimalist design of No. 1 Folgate Street, Hendon, and the sanctuary it may provide. It is a technological and architectural masterpiece designed by celebrated architect, Edward Monkford.
To take up residence, there are a series of questionnaires and tests, beginning with the request: Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life. For the few who pass the tests, there are house rules that must never be broken.
Before Jane, was Emma, a victim of a home invasion who moved into Folgate Street with her boyfriend Simon, attracted by the security of the house.
As the two women’s lives run parallel, Jane becomes increasingly aware of Emma’s legacy and begins investigating her death in the house. As she delves deeper, against the express wishes of her domineering lover, the mystery thickens not only about how Emma died, but of the house itself, and its history of death and deception.
The Girl Before is very rightly compared in some ways to E L James' erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. The relationships that both Emma and Jane form with their landlord are controlling and manipulative with Emma, in particular, relishing her master’s voice. That’s not to say this novel is erotica, but comparisons will always be made against popular literature.
Narrators Emilia Fox, Finty Williams and Lise Aagaard Knudsen provide the voice of the two central women, interspersed with a quiz of ethical questions that separate some of the chapters. It’s difficult to distinguish the voices of Emma and Jane at times, but this works in the audiobook’s favour, strengthening their connection as look-alike women. Despite similar voices, their characters are distinct, and each of the main readers draw the listener into their dysfunctional world.
Without a suspension of disbelief, it may be a challenge to relate to the central characters, particularly with the narrators being so nuanced in their representation of what amounts to two women struggling to let go of their past. The writing however, is precise and gripping, drawing the listener into their worlds. With so few players, it’s not difficult to work out whodunnit and what the story’s climax will entail, but the anticipation of it makes the story worth the wait. There’s some nice, unexpected twists along the way.
The Girl Before has been listed as a Sunday Times best-seller, New York Times best-seller and the Radio 2 Book Club Choice for February 2017. It’s no surprise given how enjoyable J P Delaney’s writing is. A full copy of this review and other audiobook reviews can be found under the entertainment section of glamadelaide dot com dot au. There's so many good stories out there that it's hard to stop at just one!
I'm not convinced that narrating a story in a past and present works.
The narrators were superb.
some of the story was well written but in the end the main male character was a one-dimensional i idea ralther than a fully realised and plausible carrier of the plot.
The main bloke was a dollar store Christian Grey and the girls were just as silly and weak as Anastasia what's-her-name. At the very end one of them seems to pull her head in, but as far as i was concerned it was too little too late, i already had zero respect for her character and was rolling my eyes at every second sentence that came out of her mouth. The twists were good, and were the only reason i kept listening.
I didn't enjoy this at all. I tried for a couple of hours but it was just too creepy. difficult to follow who was in the past and who was in the present as the stories of the characterless women taken on the same dating journey just seemed pathetic.
I found this a gripping story and having different people read the parts was terrific. The house is as important as the people in this story and while it has shades of 1984 the technology is believable. At first I thought there might be redemption of sorts for Edward, but not so although he was not as bad as he first appeared. Highly recommended.
'The Girl Before ' was the most poorly written book I have ever experienced. This was not so much a psychological thriller, so much as the most pathetic piece of "chic lit" I have ever read/listened to.
"50 Shades of Girl on a Train"
Imagine Hitchcock's Vertigo, sexed up and then described by some very unreliable narrators then you've got The Girl Before.
Not a bad book - in fact it's quite an an addictive page turner - I liked the (somewhat glamourised) architectural context and the deliberate repetitive scenarios, but all too 50 Shades in the sexy alpha male depiction (and husky female narrators).
Talking of which, I found the two female narrators almost impossible to distinguish between which did become confusing - the book is probably clearer.
From the beginning this book grips you. Just when you have think you have it figured there is another twist. Finished it in 24 hours as couldn't stop listening.
"Overall a bit of a let down"
A real page turner but with some major deficiencies for me. I found the characters too predictable and not particularly likeable. The relationships that the two main female characters have with the architect is just far too ''Shades of Grey ' to be believable.
One of my other gripes is some of the language that is used thoughout the book is very poor e.g. he goes/she goes instead of he says/she says. Better editing would have been a bonus.
"had hopes for this but daft formulaic nonsense :("
'the concept was & is fine but the characterisation & dialogue in this squished all potential.The narrator sounds like a(ny) adolescent schoolgirl; couldn't recommend /save your credit/cash.
It took me a while to get into this book, the story was pretty good but it missed the mark somehow. I struggled to find empathy with any of the characters and the last hour seemed to drag. not for me!
"An Impressive Debut by an Old Hand!"
The competition in the psychological thriller category just got that bit hotter with this first book written under the pseudonym JP Delaney. It is a hugely engrossing book which has near-perfect pacing and excellent construction.
I have to confess to being put off normally when publishers try to entice us by using blurb like "For all fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl " as they did with this one because it's all too often misleading. Luckily I've not read either of those much vaunted tomes yet so was able to read it with no pre-conceptions.
The book has a dual aspect point of view, that of an old tenant of a quite remarkable house and the current incumbent. It's cleverly done building the story with alternating chapters "Then" and "Now", efficiently constructing without any feeling of repetition. At times it does switch frequently so possibly just a tad more attention than normal is required. The idea of splitting the narration is a good one though the effectiveness is reduced in that Emelia Fox and Finty Williams do sound reasonably similar. They both give high quality performances though.
Although it's a psychological thriller rather than full of action a lot of tension is generated and it dips into some really tough real-world subjects. I don't do spoilers but for anyone currently sensitive to issues around pregnancy and childbirth it won't be any kind of relaxing escapism I think it's fair to say. This becomes obvious very early on. The book is also very contemporary. Working in the industry myself the idea of the "Connected House" is very much on trend. One Folgate Street possibly isn't the advertising we're looking for but it is well done.
Totally ignoring my opening paragraph I would have little hesitation recommending this to those who enjoy authors like Clare Mackintosh. Similar levels of believability and strong characters. If my understanding of who JP Delaney is is actually correct then this could be one of the best female POV novels I have ever read written by a man. Even if I am wrong it's a damn good listen!
"What am I missing?"
It didn't help that author was clearly obsessed with the belief that using the verb "to go" is an acceptable alternative to "to say" in the narrative, but in the grand scheme that was just a minor irritant.
This was without doubt one of the most ridiculous, dull and predictable books I've ever read.
Characters you can't care about, in a plodding plot line, using a confused "now and then" device in a poor effort to build tension was bad enough.
The patronising post-denouement "dilemma" however, was the final straw.
Whoever thought that you could shoehorn Downes Syndrome so ham-fistedly into a 'thriller' - and then to try to use the same subject to create a 'mystery' ending, deserved their P60.
The only mystery is that Ron Howard is planning to make a movie out of this pile of poo.
Seriously. What am I missing?
"Couldn't bear the narrator's voice"
The narrator's shrill, monotone voice made this book near impossible to listen to. In fact in the end I gave up and didn't finish listening to it. Having listened to The Girl on the Train, which I enjoyed, this smacked of more of the same and there are better stories out there to spend my time listening to.
Unfortunately, I had to leave this book half way through - the plot is so predictable and the characters don't come to life at all in my opinion. Many dialogues, especially the ones involving the male main character, are just cringe. If you are looking for a similarly dark - but beautifully crafted - novel I recommend Apple Tree Yard a thousand times over this book.
"Terrible portrayal of women"
I was excited to get this book and I did enjoy the twists and turns of the story but hated the way both women were portrayed as deceptive and duplicitous. I also struggled with the author's constant use of "I go"/ "he goes" rather than "I said"/ "he said".
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