To Be Published Jan 24, 2017 by Ballantine Books
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.
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.
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
I almost didn’t add the Goodreads Blurb because I think it’s misleading in a couple different ways but nothing I can really address without giving away spoilers; suffice it to say I don’t find the blurb totally accurate. Also, this might be the hardest review I’ve wrote since I started blogging as my feelings are just very mixed. There are things I really liked and some that just don’t sit well with me.
I’ll start with what worked for me. The story is told in short, quick chapters that alternate between the viewpoints of Emma and Jane. This technique worked brilliantly for keeping the pace fast and the pages turning quickly. It was like consecutive mini cliffhangers because just when I got to a certain point with Emma it switched to Jane. And let me tell you, I stayed up late Saturday as I kept telling myself I’d stop when I got to Jane’s chapter but then I’d have to keep going because Emma’s life seemed to be unraveling and I had to find out why. A big reason this was so intriguing is because Emma and her boyfriend Simon moved into the house on Folger Street a year before Jane so you’re left wondering what happened to Emma? Little by little we get to know the train-wreck that is Emma and her life of dysfunction. Jane, on the other hand, seems to be an intelligent woman who’s still grieving after a very traumatic loss in her life. She’s looking for a change of scenery, has a tight budget and along comes One Folger Street which I have to say was really too good to be true and you know how the saying goes about that!
Let me back up a bit. One Folger street is a modern, technologically advanced house built by Edward , an aloof, handsome architect with control issues. He has many, many rules for whomever rents One Folger Street such as: No pets, no children, no rugs, no photos, etc and a very lengthy contract that the renter must follow. The women find all this out after they have submitted photos of themselves and filled out long, ridiculous questionnaires riddled with inappropriate personal questions in the hopes of possibly being asked in for an interview. And this is all just to rent a house. I found it to be unbelievable that neither of the women were bothered by this, saw no red flags and were willing to go along with living like that. Especially for Jane’s character who I thought was intelligent and level-headed. The character motivations were just off for me. On another note, is Edward reminding you of anyone? (umm..Christian Gray?) I would’ve preferred a more original main character.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I could’ve kept turning the pages so fast, finishing it within a day but then feeling ambivalent about the whole thing. One thing I can say is that I really liked Jane and almost think the book could’ve went in a different direction with her and her story. I was rooting for her even though it didn’t make sense that she agreed to those terms of living and then continued staying in that house, especially after she started questioning Edward’s possible (criminal) past and his current motivations. There were a couple twists at the end, one I wasn’t surprised by and the other I was and thought was a good way to end that particular storyline. Overall, I think the ending was just a little too neat and tidy with things falling into place too easily. All that being said, I think this is going to be a big hit in 2017 as it has already been optioned for a movie by Ron Howard.