Watching sunrises together should have been romantic.
But you were always inside with your wife, and I sat in your garden, in the shadows.
I thought you’d never know how I felt about you.
Until one night, I witnessed a terrible crime.
I wanted it to bring us closer together.
But now the secrets are tumbling out.
And they could tear everything apart…
This was my first time reading one of Rayner's books and I loved it! Already I am adding The Girl Before You to my 'To Be Read' list.
Initially I found the book started off a little slow and it was hard to know where it was going but quite quickly we start to see through the layers of deception and lies that have encompassed the lives of the characters and you are completely hooked in unraveling this disturbing and chilling story.
Fran has to be one of the strongest characters I have come across in a long time. She reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant in the way that she isn't really the leading lady in her own story and lurks in the background. The level of loneliness that she feels in throughout the book is so raw and real. Feeling emotion like that through a story is so powerful and a true indication of how great a writer Rayner is. I felt a huge range of emotions towards Fran throughout the whole story; frustration, pity, empathy, impatience, and I think it is a testament to how well she was brought to life by Rayner.
The story itself, as I said started off a bit slow but as soon as it gains momentum you embark on a rollercoaster of twists and turns and you don't see many of them coming. From the description of the book, I imagined this to be a standard enough story of someone with an obsession over another person but there is so much more to this story. There were times where I thought I had figured everything out and just when it would be revealed, Rayner would present us with a whole new twist and the ride would continue.
In the end, I flew through this book. It had the right level of suspense, eeriness and mystery that is so hard to find these days. I can't wait to see Rayner's path takes her!
Big thank you to Net Galley for allowing me to read this before its publication.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
'...I think of the power of three. That's what we had - Mother, Ellie and me. Three makes a shape in the way that one never can. Or even two. But three - that's a story.'
Fran (you probably guessed that from the review); such a strong and complex character.