The Girl Before

Emma insists to her boyfriend that they can no longer stay in their apartment after her traumatic assault during a break-in. Their realtor mentions a special house: One Folgate Street. It's a fantastic property, but the owner is not your typical landlord.

Jane can no longer afford her current flat. Her realtor mentions a promising option--an amazing place, really. The catch? It's not a typical lease agreement, which is especially fitting since One Folgate Street is not a typical rental.

Each woman is so taken with the apartment she is willing to accept the roughly 200 stipulations of the minimalist covenant--no pictures, no potted plants, no books, no ornaments--and meet with the owner, Edward Monkford, for a face-to-face interview.

The Girl Before is told in alternating points of view, with the chapters rotating between the voices of Emma and Jane, each residing at One Folgate Street, several years apart. The integration of high-end technologies contributes to the eerie atmosphere--the house constantly watches and monitors its inhabitants. The two women are dramatically different personalities, but their experiences in the home--including an affair with Monkford that works to weave a darkly erotic element into their stories--begin to mirror each other's.

Intense and entertaining, this a satisfying read for fans of domestic thrillers, and minimalists may find some new decorating ideas. Either way, shuck off the unnecessary commitments and settle in for a wild stay in an innovative house packed with mystery. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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