[710]: The Girl Before by JP Delaney

A modern suspense that echoes the gothic secrets of Jane Eyre.

The Girl Before
by J.P. Delaney

Last year, I’ve developed an affinity for the minimalism movement. I’m not a pack-rat by any means, but it was still hard to get rid of stuff. I am infinitely in awe of the people who practice this lifestyle. Not only do they live the uncluttered life in physical terms, but their way of thinking is streamlined as well. They’re focused, determined and disciplined.

In this book, you’ll meet a person whose practice of minimalism goes to extreme – borderline insanity, to tell you the truth. Initially, I was like, yes, a man who speaks my language! But that slowly dissolved into horrified reaction as the novel progressed. His ability to distance himself from thoughts and feelings with which he felt bore no significance made him cold and calculated. He’s a controlling man who hates a deviation from schedules and plans. Everything in his life has a place and a meaning. You’re discarded if he considers you an excess. And yet, for all the clean lines and openness of the house he built, there was no place in which he could keep his secrets.

Edward Monkford is a genius; a much-sought-after architect notoriously known for combining minimalist and technologically smart construction. One of those builds is the house on One Folgate Street. The house has been empty since the death of his wife and son and has become a revolving door for renters, whom in one way or the other, found the house’s oddities just too strange for their liking. The story unfolds in alternating chapters between Emma and Jane. Emma, the former tenant, and Jane, the present. The first sign of trouble was their uncanny physical resemblance. Weirder even, that they looked like Edward’s dead wife.

Edward has an irresistible magnetism; he’s attractive, filthy rich, and mysterious. As you get to know him further, you’ll find that Edward shares the same need to control his women with one popular control freak, Mr. Christian Grey. They got the same “I don’t do regular relationships” speech; they were given pages-long rules and regulations. Then pearl chokers to complete the look. Both women knew what they were getting into when they entered the relationship but with one glaring difference: one pushes her boundaries, and the other pushes his. Arguably, Christian Grey was redeemed by love – as cheesy as that may sound. Edward, on the other hand, wasn’t dictated by any romantic notions and was as realistic a character as one can be. There was not a cuddly bone in his body even if some of his actions proved otherwise.

But if you think the novel is cut and dry, you’ll be wrong. The mysteries that unravel is nothing short of surprising. It’s easy to consider Monkford as the guilty party here much like we immediately wrote off Rochester in Jane Eyre. This book is just as mysterious as the owner of One Folgate Street and the crumbs we were given were the perfect follies for the amateur sleuths trying to solve all its mysteries. Overall, this is one of the best mysteries I’ve read this year. It’s morbidly sexy, frustrating at times, but holy hell, I could not put this down.


  • I got introduced to this book at the publisher road show last year, but having just moved into my new house then, I was way too creeped out to read it. I think I’m ready to pick it up though, it sounds fascinating!

  • This book received such a huge marketing campaign, and I’ve been intrigued ever since. However it did fall off my radar for a bit but now your review has peaked my interest again! Ahhh I’m loving the sound of this mysterious thriller, can’t wait to pick up a copy!

  • SO HAPPY YOU LOVED THIS ONE! You know it’s one of my fave thrillers of the year so far, followed by Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (you should get it). It also couldn’t put it down. It’s just that good!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  • If he’s so cold, why did he have a wife? I wonder if the circumstance made him so, or his wife must have a warm heart enough for 2.

  • This sounds fascinating. I haven’t heard of it before, but again I don’t read many adult thrillers. I do think I should maybe check this out sometime because I like the sound of the creepy mystery aspect.

  • An interesting mix and it’s great to hear your thoughts about it ainly if it’s one of your best mysteries. It’s the first time I see it but I’m curious.

  • Tikes, this would mess with my head! Still sounds like a good read!

  • Greg Hill

    Wow that does sound pretty good. and a bit creepy as well! I’ve been wondering since I saw a review for this a few weeks ago. I’m definitely intrigued now- and I’m wondering what’s going on with that house!

  • I liked this book as well but not quite as much as you did.

    I have reached a point in my life where I want to get rid of so much stuff. Why did I ever buy this crap in the first place? If I could get my husband and daughter to join in, I could proably make some progress.

  • Why I adore you:
    1) I am an aspiring minimalist who is always looking for Jane Eyre retellings. Thanks!
    2) Thanks also SO much for helping me remember the Goldfinch for my trends post!! I knew there was another torn paper cover but I gave up trying to remember the book. I downloaded the Goldfinch to kindle so I didn’t really see the cover.

    You are the best, Joy!!!!!
    xo Jen

  • Lovely review Joy 😀 So glad you loved this book a lot. <3 Yay. It looks so pretty. And sounds interesting too 🙂 I love that you are doing the minimalist thingy. I could never, lol. I have too much stuff, I guess. And I buy more even though I have no room at all : A bit crazy of me, hah. But can't stop 🙂 Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3

  • shootingstarsmag

    Wow, I’m glad you thought this one was a great mystery. It seems like it would be too straightforward, but I’m glad it wasn’t.


  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    You are on a run with the mystery novels these days! This sounds so different and unusual, though, I have to say, especially with the romance element. I hate Christian Grey but the Rochester parallels have me curious. I’m definitely adding this to my TBR as well. Wonderful review, Joy!!

  • Ooh, this one looks like a good one. It’s going on my list. Thanks for the great review, Joy.

  • Did someone say Jane Eyre?! Helllooo, I need to get my hands on this book. Like other commenters, I’m very intrigued by the description “morbidly sexy.”

  • Oooo, this book sounds fantastic. I must have it. I think it was the “morbidly sexy” that got me 😉

  • I am glad you could like this mystery so much. I have to admit, I’ve been watching the fifty shades of grey movies lately (not reading them) so I know what you’re on about here. But his way of thinking sounds scarily scary, if I can even say that!

  • I like the sound of this one! Especially if you say it’s one of the best mysteries you’ve read this year. I’m going to check if they have an audio version. Wonderful review, Joy! 🙂

  • “morbidly sexy”
    Hahaha, that sounds very disturbing, but I’m in. He sounds like an interesting fella to read about – definitely don’t want someone like that in your life. Let me see if the library has this one!

  • I’ve gone back and forth so many times on reading this one. I trust your judgement, and if it’s one of the best mysteries you’ve read, then I’m gonna try it again.

  • Wow, this one sounds really good!

  • Morbidly sexy? Lol