The house where so much of The Girl Before takes place is a minimalist’s dream; a testament to how we can get by with barely any material goods. The latter may seem impossible to those of us who carry our many belongings with us wherever we go. Yet, reading this book, I can see the lure of an uncluttered life.
The house, in fact, becomes a character in the story. More than just a backdrop, the house affects the main characters and seems at times to be an extension of Edward Monkton, the architect of this rule-bound home.
Two women, separated by time, are deemed worthy by Monkton to live in his tightly controlled masterpiece. Emma and Jane seem to be very different people, yet their appearance is just the beginning of the similarities that manifest as they each adjust to their unique living experience. What at first seems like a haven, turns into a nightmare. Will either of them escape or is the house doomed to see an endless line of women pass through and become trapped?