The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney – book review

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The blurb….

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.

Book Review

 

My review….

Wow! What a read! haven’t enjoyed a book since than Girl on a Train.. this kept me gripped so much that I completed it in 24 hours! I really enjoyed it – the tension continued throughout – and I liked the double narrative – ‘ Then’ – Emma’s story – ‘Now’ Jane’s story. The two women had very distinct personalities; they each went through similar experiences but their reactions were different. One example is the Sushi restaurant they are taken to by Edward – I found I related much more to Jane’s reaction than Emma.

Both women were recovering from a recent trauma – Emma having an intruder in her flat in the middle of the night and Jane – after losing a still birth.

The house appears to offer a place of recovery – the clean lines and uncluttered space is reflective of a monk’s cell – austere but with its own sense of serenity. The technology in the house is designed to intuitively support the needs of the occupants – shower settings are automatically adjusted each time to the person’s preferences.

However, the technology becomes oppressive – Jane finds services are withheld until she completes on going psychological tests – each of the questions are moral debates and add to the tension as the questions become more intrusive. The house also completes health checks and monitors overall wellbeing into a quantifiable score – Jane is expected to adjust to improve her scores.

The book blurb linked this with Girl on a Train (which I also loved) and Fifty Shades of Grey… (which almost put me off – I despised that book because it was so awful!) Yet, Edward Montford is a controlling character – JP Delaney understands dominant controlling behaviour and uses it very effectively. Edward has power – his designs have made him wealthy, he is good looking and he is also a perfectionist – which makes him quite an interesting character. I agree that there are also similarities between Girl on a Train… but I don’t want to spoil the read for you – so I won’t say why here.

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The story unravelled at quite a pace – I loved the way the two characters experiences were similar and the way they engaged in a relationship with Edward – kept the tension. Edward had exacting standards – the conditions of living in the house were a huge list of rules – and the women sought to meet those exacting standards.

The plot twists were interesting – and the tension built nicely – I could not put the book down! The conclusion was satisfying – I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil it for you!

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I hate it when they use Americanisms… this is set in London, the story is English why then, does Jane refer to her bangs rather than her fringe? Surely American readers would be able to look it up – if they don’t know what a fringe is?

J.P Delaney is a skilful writer, although Good Reads describes them as

J. P. Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best-selling fiction under another name.

I also note there is another book written under this name… which is great news! Clicking on Amazon as soon as I have finished this review.

The book is going to made into a film.. please leave it in London not New York like The Girl on the Train… !

Overall – five gold stars – ten out of ten -quite brilliant!

 

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Darling buds of May – Sunday Sevens 14 May 2017

Saturday Sewing

I am sewing again… maybe it is spring fever – but it is good to feel inspired to stitch again. The last 6 months has been difficult for many reasons: my sewing room being packed up into boxes was one of them.  I haven’t yet sorted space in the flat – but this pattern inspired me so much that I raked through the boxes to find what I needed. It is sad but I will re-organise and get my sewing room back together – it is a promise I have made to myself and I have taken some time off in order to do it this month.

Lemon, ginger and honey tea

On Saturday night I went to see The Catfish Kings in Hayling Island – and met up with the friendly bunch from Jive and Boogie group. It is such fun – we all dress up in 1950s style (including the guys!) and dance swing jive. I had a great time – after an absence of almost three years! There is nothing quite like a good dance to raise vibrations and feel great! However,  I was out of condition – so it was not surprise that I woke up on Sunday morning in need of a little physical restoration.

Lemon, ginger, tumeric and honey tea recipe

Herbal teas are quite pricey – Tea Pigs give the most flavour and they are convenient, but sometimes it really is worth making your own – the flavour is deeper and you know exactly what has gone into the infusion. My version of lemon and ginger is anti-viral and a great restorative.

Zest the lemons – it is where most of the flavour comes from it makes a big difference. Add the juice of a lemon, together with a spoonful of honey – (I buy local honey from a Sussex beekeeper) I find the sweetness is necessary to counteract the lemon and it gives a little bit of energy – but you can leave it out if you wish.

Peel an inch of fresh ginger root; either grate it (which is best) or chop it finely – and add it to the pot. Then sprinkle quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric, this not only gives the tea a beautiful yellow colour – but it is being hailed as a wonder herb for many things including antivirals.

Pour over boiling water and allow to seep – I pump the plunger of my beautiful tea pot (a mother’s day gift from my daughter) a few times to really circulate the ingredients. For a truly sensuous experience – drink from a bone china tea cup, or your favourite mug.

We decided to take a walk, despite the rain (a novelty here in the last month of sunshine!).  This is the view from the Parish Church in Walberton; a pretty little chapel. These lovely churches have some beautiful kneelers – they are works of art and small dedication in canvass. This tiny  church was full of beautiful examples. I am not sure how well attended the church was, but to me they are a sign that someone loves and appreciates their church.

Kneeler Binstead church

Work has been busy – I am also trying to de-clutter – one of the advantages of having everything in boxes is that it makes culling things easier. It is shocking to see just how much I have accumulated – and it is all the small things, drawers full of bits and bobs that frankly look as if they are handy – but they have been there for years! The great step forward this week has been creating the pantry with new shelving. It is sublime!

Forgotten Skills of Cooking

I have a passion for all things domestic -this is a delightful read – not just full of recipes and old fashioned baking/home steading skills that have been largely forgotten. It is the stories that make this book a treasure – alongside recipes for scones is the connection with eating them after school! If you have ever wanted to be more self sufficient then this book will guide you along – cheesemaking, cordials, chicken keeping, jam making, salting and smoking!

Bloom where you are

I have discovered a great level of comfort in the joys of home making and savouring good things – so this quote is apt for what I am manifesting right now. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel – not only to have such a delightful job, a lovely home but great friends and family.  of course that also includes the lovely Barney.

Barney staffie

 

 

 

The Dress Shop of Dreams – Menna Van Praag book review

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This is the second book I have read from this author – she creates such cosy worlds full of kind people. The dress shop in question is magical – when a woman tries on one of the beautiful silk dresses – she is clothed in the confidence and beauty to attain her dreams – which mostly revolve around finding love.

This book is about love and loss and finding your way. It is full of kind hearted people who for many reasons are lost. Cora – a scientist has closed off her heart after the tragic death of her parents – begins to remember what happened that night and decides to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Walt – the owner of the nearby bookstore – makes the most delicious cherry pies – has been in love with Cora all his life – but Cora seems immune to his advances. He reads books on the local radio – and his deep voice draws may admiring letters which Walt has no interest in responding to. Dylan – the radio producer begins to write back to some of the ladies – and finds love.

dress shop of dreams

The shop owner – Etta – who is also Cora’s grandmother – is pining for a lost love years ago – and while she can stitch magic into the dresses that bring out confidence and beauty in every woman – she can’t help herself.

All these lovely broken people – somehow navigate their way through the book to a satisfying ending. This is a tale about love, loss and recovery and finding the courage to love again.

These books are a great escape and enjoyable to read – I intend to read another of her books soon.