Review: The Girl Before by J P Delaney



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

One Folgate Street is a minimalist house built by the mysterious, controlling and handsome Edward Monkford. To be granted the lease, you must fill in a laborious questionnaire and attend a face-to-face meeting with Edward himself, and even then, you’re unlikely to be approved. There are a large number of rules you have to abide by when you live in the house, such as no books (?!?!?!), no rugs, no curtains, and no leaving things out, such as clothes, toiletries etc, to name a few. You must also open your home for tours every so often and complete various questionnaires/assessments throughout your stay.

So, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “who the hell would agree to that?” but as it happens, two women choose to live at One Folgate Street. Thanks to its low rent and dishy architect, both Jane and Emma are happy putting up with all the rules. Jane is the girl from now, and Emma is the girl before. Both women are troubled and both begin a relationship with architect Edward.

What follows is a novel full of mystery and sex, a lot of sex. If you’re not into unnecessary filler sex in books then this won’t be for you, if you’re also not into the whole “daddy” thing… then again, this won’t be for you.

Starting off this book, I was very worried I was going to hate it, because I’d seen a lot of people say the focus on kinky sex as a bit left field and overpowering to the plot. But, I managed to get over that when it started to appear in the story. In my opinion, it wasn’t as bad as many people had made it out to be and in any case, you can always skip over it. I thought it was going to go full 50 Shades at some moments, but it managed to avoid any of the scenes becoming too tactless.

The mystery of “the girl before” is certainly intriguing and kept me hooked (for the first half, at least). I liked the way this was set out as Emma (before) and Jane (now) and how the chapters often mirrored each other so we could see the similarities in each of the tenant’s lives and relationships with Edward.

What I didn’t like about this book was the characters, which I’m kind of assuming was the goal by Delaney? If not, then he/she (does anyone know and can inform me on their gender?) is pretty terrible at creating characters. Although Edward is set up to be our “villain”, I found Emma to be the most dislikable character, even after all was said and done. She was manipulative, unnecessarily forward, obnoxious and total putty in Edward’s hands. Women who can’t act on their own accord because of a man infuriate me, which is probably why I didn’t get on with this novel that well, as it’s kind of what the whole plot is about. I like my women strong and independent!

The ending of this novel, no word of a lie, infuriated me. What a total cop out. People are comparing this to Gone Girl, LOL. The conclusion to this novel is the most overused and uninspired “twist” you can ever imagine. What a way to ruin a perfectly OK novel.

Buy it here!

Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

P.S this is not to be confused with the other The Girl Before by Rena Olsen which was a stunning book! Here is my 5 star review. I also did a Q&A with Rena herself, here!

6 Replies to “Review: The Girl Before by J P Delaney”

  1. I’m really on the fence about this book, the sex thing is not my thing, and the references to 50 Shades have made me putt it off my reading list. Maybe when I’m looking for a whhy-not book, I’ll pick it up 🙂 Nice review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only read this because it was in my Netgalley otherwise, after I found out about the sex stuff I would have taken it off my list too. For me, this is definitely going to be one of the most disappointing reads of the year cause I’d been waiting to read it for MONTHS! I had such high hopes n it let me down 😕


    2. Oh, also, on my Sunshine Blogger award I’ve nominated you in the tags! No pressure to do it though, ofc. Sorry I hadn’t mentioned it sooner, still in Sweden so not had much time to do this whole blogging thing 🙂


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