I have been on the waiting list for a while for The Girl Before against all my better instincts about reading another book with the word “girl” in the title, obviously trying to ride that money train. I picked it up this morning and bumped it to the top of my reading pile because other people are still waiting for it.
The book follows two timelines, then with Emma and now with Jane, so essentially there two girls in the book. The chapters alternate between the two women as their stories run in parallel centered around them both signing an extremely
controlling restrictive lease to live in an uber minimalistic technologically advanced Architectural Digest type home in London for minimal rent. Obviously no one told either of these women the old adage “if something seems too good to be true…” .
The house that anchors the story was built and designed by the narcissistic controlling, Fifty Shades of Grey style character, Edward Monkford. Both women seem attracted to his particular brand of paternalistic bullshiz but at the same time seem surprised by it. Seriously, I am amazed that either one of them could walk and chew gum at the same time. THat is my biggest issue with the book. The protagonists, particularly Jane just made the reader want to smack her upside the head to wake her up and that is within the first 15 pages or so.
There are some plot holes in regards to the technology use and the investigation of Emma’s death. I think that was a weakness that needed to be addressed and wasn’t. The Transitions from Jane (present) to Emma (past) were clear and easy to follow. I didn’t like dropping the punctuation for dialog in Emma’s chapter. It made it annoying to read. The pacing was good for a thriller, the story kept moving forward. There was no lagging or filler chapters. Every conversation had a purpose in moving the plot forward and filling in details for reader.
Major themes addressed here are obsession and control. Technology is used as a tool of control. It is interesting that it is men wielding technology against women, while women use emotional/sexual manipulation against the men.
Two out of five stars.