I’ve been meaning to write the review for «The Girl Before You» by Nicola Raynor for a very long time. I read it back at the beginning of May, and have been trying to come up with some words to describe this book ever since.
The Observer compared this book to «The Girl On The Train» by Paula Hawkins but in my opinion, it didn’t live up to this comparison. It’s definitely not The Girl On The Train and it’s definitely not a book I will reread at any point.
The reason why it took me so long to finish this review was that I didn’t have anything to say about this book, which is sad because I always try to find something to talk about in every single book I read.
Alice has always been haunted by the women from her husband’s past. As an MP and now a TV personality, George Bell’s reputation as a ladies’ man precedes him. But when Alice falls pregnant, her unease becomes an obsession.
And there’s one ex in particular she can’t get out of her head: a beautiful student George dated in his first year, who went missing before they finished university. Ruth.
When Alice sees a woman who looks just like Ruth, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to her disappearance than George has been telling her. But does she really want to know what her husband has been getting up to behind her back all these years?
Thank you Netgalley and Avon Books UK for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way
The structure of the book takes us from the present time, where Alice is happily married to George and expecting their first child, back to college where George was enjoying the attention of every girl in college, slowly unraveling the story of Ruth’s disappearance.
It all begins with Alice seeing a woman on the train who looks very similar to red-haired Ruth, the girl she used to be friends with in college and who disappeared under very mysterious circumstances.
I really like the “now and then” writing style as well as the combination of present and past. This technique makes me very excited to find the truth, to find out who did what and how it actually all happened. I was so excited to see the twists, but I wasn’t satisfied when they actually happened.
My first complaint is that this story is very forgettable. It’s been 3 months since I’ve read the book, and I don’t even remember the twists anymore! When these are usually those elements that are very hard to forget- «The Girl on the Train», «Gone Girl» – I’ve read these books over 3 years ago and will forever remember how dumbstruck I was by some of the revelations of these stories!
Another miss for me was the poor characterization. I know that most of mysteries / thrillers are primarily plot-driven, but I still need at least one character to care about. In «The Girl Before You» I didn’t connect to any of them, I didn’t really what would happen to any of them. There was no risk element to keep me on the edge of my seat.
The characters were very stereotypical and bland – some popular guys, some popular girls and someone who inspired to be someone else.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad read, that’s why I gave it 3 stars. It just wasn’t anything special, it didn’t stand out from the bunch of other mysteries and thrillers, and I easily forgot it as soon as I finished the last chapter.