The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

And here we are with another thriller with “Girl” in the title. But I decided to ignore that when it came to this book, in an attempt to not be biased in my opinion. This book has been getting a lot of attention and I’ve been recommended it multiple times. So I finally decided to give it a go! Here is my review:

Emma
After a traumatic break-in, Emma is desperate to move into a newer, safer place. But nothing seems perfect – until she comes across One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece with its minimalist design…. but it also comes with many rules. The architect who built this house retains full control of it and only his word goes. The space is meant to transform its occupant completely – and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start – and she finds it at One Folgate Street. But it isn’t just the house she’s fallen for; the seductive creator keeps coming into her mind. Once she moves in, Jane soon learns of the untimely demise of the previous tenant, a woman who resembles Jane. As Jane tries to make sense of the truth, she unwittingly begins to make the same choices and experiences the same terror as the girl before.

I’m surprised by how much I liked this novel. The story was addictive and while I didn’t like everything about it, I can’t deny that it had the thrill and the twists that I was hoping for. The two perspectives were quite interesting and the author did a really great job of making them match up and integrate. Emma’s character gave me a lot of warning signs, and it became more and more clear that she was not what I expected as I kept reading – but that’s what I loved about the book. I love that the main characters didn’t conform to my initial assessment, and I liked to see how they acted in similar situations. This book is all about depraved characters, each who have their own mental issues. They’re very twisted and I like that the author kept them true to that trait throughout the book. I wasn’t very comfortable with some of the ways that the author handled sexual consent and rape … but it worked in the context of this story because the story itself is all about individuals who don’t really conform or believe in those norms. A lot of people are saying that this novel is a bit of a combination between 50 shades of grey and Girl on the train …. I kind of agree with the first part of that. There is a lot of sexual stuff going on in this novel and even though I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, I can see where people can draw the parallels. However, this aspect didn’t make me as uncomfortable as I expected, as I still quite enjoyed the story. Overall, this was a very interesting thriller that had me hooked from the start!

Happy reading ~

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The Children by Ann Leary

Charlotte Maynard is a recluse, rarely leaving her family home in Connecticut, a lake house that has been in the family for generations. Technically, Charlotte and her sister, Sally, are not part of the “family”; their stepbrothers are true Whitmans, and they are the owners of the house. Charlotte and her mother, Joan, however, continue to live there by the grace of the boys – and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite brother, brings his fiancée home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued by her. Laurel Atwood is beautiful and accomplished and perfect in every way. But as the wedding date looms closer, the family’s polite veneer begins to chip and an array of resentments and unsettling truths are exposed.

When I first heard the premise of this book, it reminded me of The Nest, which I really did not like at all. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I quite enjoyed this novel. The writing style was really great, and kept me engaged throughout the story. It wasn’t filled with useless details, and everything was connected. I loved the characters. They were all so eccentric and funny and just lovable. The story was told from Charlotte’s perspective, and she doesn’t shy away from any of the craziness that surrounds her. But through her account, we see the different facets of each child’s personality that come together to make them the way they are. The story began to really pick up pace at the midpoint of the novel and it moved quickly until the end. It isn’t a happy ending, but it is one that I feel is realistic and genuine. I wasn’t expecting this novel to win me over but it did. It really really did. And in order to appreciate this novel for its worth, you just have to read it!

Happy reading ~