4.5 star

Review: The Girl Beyond the Gate by Becca Day

Welcome to Kensington Grove, the safest place to call home….

Jodie Madison can’t think of a better place for a fresh start than the exclusive, gated community of The Grove. But from the moment she passes through the wrought iron gates, she starts to suspect she’s made a mistake.

Despite her vow to keep apart from the other residents, Jodie can’t help but feel drawn to her unnerving neighbour Norah Williams and terminally ill daughter, Lacey. Jodie knows she should stay away, but something draws her in.

When a murder shocks The Grove, Jodie vows to do everything in her power to save Lacey from her mother. But as more secrets emerge from Norah’s shadowy past, Jodie is faced with the unthinkable – Norah’s not so different to herself, and neither woman is innocent.

The past won’t stay hidden forever. And The Grove will be an unforgiving witness.

Another long wait at the library, so I picked up a quick copy to read through to see what the fuss was all about. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and I will definitely be looking for more from this author in the future. As far as mystery/thrillers go, this has been one of the better ones that I have read recently!

The Girl Beyond the Gate takes place in a typical “idyllic” gated neighbourhood, where people have come to live a nice life…or perhaps a secret life? The story revolves around the newest neighbour, Jodie Madison, who moves into the neighbourhood and gets to know the various characters who form the little town. As usual, before we know it, problems start to arise, and it appears that many people have secrets in this little community. The story takes place all in the timeline of “x number of days before the murder” and the suspense starts from the prologue all the way to the very last page.

The characters were all very well crafted and interesting. Although we do not get to follow the perspectives of many of the characters, even the foil characters were crafted and developed in a way to keep them interesting (and suspicious) while keeping them firmly in the background. The main characters were developed well and it was hard to tell who was the “good” and who was the “bad,” which I found engaging. Even from the very start the characters all have their flaws, and their acts (and even thoughts) are all suspicious at best.

The suspense was by far the best part of this book. Although this, of course, also depends if you like this gossip/drama/interrelational type of suspense of a closed-gated community. But I enjoyed the way it was executed, whether it was Whatsapp messages in certain chapters or the way gossip can spread from person to person, creating even more confusion even for the readers, it was definitely tense as it felt like it was building towards something. The whole time I was wondering what it would be and how it would play out, and the middle events along the way were also adding to the suspense.

Unfortunately, for me, the ending fell a bit short. It wasn’t bad or even anything egregious, but it just wasn’t quite satisfying for me. It was suspenseful and appropriately tied the ending, but I suppose it wasn’t the ending I wanted. Nevertheless, I guess some might actually enjoy the ending, so I won’t judge too hard for that. This book was definitely more about the journey rather than the climax or denouement. If you enjoy the roller coaster of emotions, you may enjoy this one!

Overall Recommendations

The Girl Beyond the Gate revolves around a small gated community and its newest member. Although at first seeming to be an idyllic haven for those running from the past, who is to say the past won’t come catching up to them. Does everyone have something to hide? As the suspense builds up to the big day of the murder, it is unclear who will be left unharmed by the end. If you enjoy small community drama and complex interpersonal relations, this may be the one for you!


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