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 The Girl Before -Book Club Reading Guide

The Girl Before

by JP Delancey

PBR Book Review:

This book is intriguing right from the start. Mainly because of this curious house at One Folgate Street, which plays a big role in the story. I thought it took a huge imagination to conceptualize this house and found everything about it fascinating right to the end. I was rather reminded of the “Big Brother is Watching” concept. The house and to a great extent it’s occupants, were totally controlled by a computer program referred to as Housekeeper. Housekeeper knew everything about you but not in a creepy way, at least at first. Housekeeper made sure you followed the hundreds of rules that went along with the house.

The story follows two girls who lived in this house at different times; Emma in the past and Jane in the present. They have one thing in common, the architect and owner of the house, Edward. Edward is successful, controlling and dominating. Is he the dominant, sexually deviant, and erotic Christian Grey, as has been suggested? Not even close – you have to read 50 shades of Grey for that. But, the book is great just the same. I liked the characters and trying to figure out the mystery, which kept me guessing. And there are a few surprises, and I love it when I get caught off guard. Ron Howard has bought up the film rights, so you may want to read this one before it hits the big screen – books are usually better than the movie. Recommend.


Book Club Talking Points:

Dominance and control are a major themes in this story. The minimalist life style and giving up possessions is another. The intriguing house is a major character and deserves some discussion – so does the man who conceived the idea. Threads of trust also run throughout.

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*Author Website: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2144555/jp-delaney

*Other Books by Same Author: JP Delaney is the pseudonym of an author who has previously written award-winning fiction under other names.

*Discussion Questions



1. As you were reading, did you engage with the survey questions alongside Jane and Emma? How would your answers differ from theirs? Were there any questions in particular that stood out to you? Did you surprise yourself with any of your responses?

2. Emma and Jane have a lot in common, but there are also striking differences between the two women. Compare and contrast these two characters, and discuss some of the ways in which their differences and similarities influenced their relationships.

3. How does living at One Folgate Street impact each of the women? In what ways do our environments shape our experiences? If you could make one change to your current living environment that would have an impact on your behavior, what would it be?

4. Describe your personal style when it comes to home décor and architecture. How does that style shape or reflect your personality? Would you want to live in a minimalist space like One Folgate Street?

5. On page 235, Jane finds Edward’s discarded sketch—the pentimento image with two overlaid versions of her face. What did you make of that moment? What do you think the image meant to Edward?

6. Discuss Emma’s relationship with Saul. What do you think really happened there?

7. Could you forgive Jane’s deceptiveness, as revealed at the end of the novel? Were you surprised by her confession?

8. What do you think of Edward’s dream to create a community of homes like One Folgate Street? Could such a project ever really work successfully? Why or why not?

9. Which character did you relate to the most in this novel? Why?

10. Describe Simon’s relationship with each of the women. 11. Emma inspires passion and obsession in many of the men who fall into her orbit. What quality or qualities make her so compelling? Have you ever known someone like Emma? 12. Make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

Book Summary
Jan 24, 2017 | 352 Pages | Ballantine Books | 352 pages | ISBN-10: 0425285049 |ISBN-13: 978-0425285046
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

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

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
 
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