3 1/2 Stars
Emma and Jane are drawn into a web of deception when they both end up as tenants at One Folgate Street. Emma was there before Jane, and both stories unfold through the course of the book. What they have in common, in addition to being tenants, is their relationship with its designer.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. But, it was hard to care about the main characters. In fact, more than once I had to skip back to the beginning of each chapter to remind myself which character was narrating? Jane or Emma? Nothing about their voices registered to me as individuals.
Even after they both expressed a desire to give up their freedom to the “housekeeper” (and to the mysterious Edward Monkford) they weren’t terribly interesting. They both have their reasons for surrendering, and those reasons made me less sympathetic to them.
Unfortunately, I only kept reading to see if my theories about the resolution would be correct. They weren’t. So, I can honestly say the book wasn’t predictable. But I still didn’t like the characters and didn’t feel invested in them.
The concept of a house that is programmed (and also conditions its inhabitants to behave in a certain way) is compelling. But that turns out to be just a backdrop for the lies and deceptions of everyone involved.
I think comparisons to Gone Girl and 50 Shades are apt since this book does come across like a mash-up of the two. I just wish there had been more to make me really enjoy it. (Received a review copy.)