The Woman Next Door - Sue Watson
Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley
I suppose everyone has their reasons for living here. Who knows what lies behind the pretty curtains and the well-groomed lawns of Mulberry Avenue? Lucy has a kind and adoring husband, a job she loves as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue with floaty curtains and the softest bed linen. After her troubled childhood, she knows life will never be perfect, but it’s pretty close. She’s also got Amber, right next door. They never run out of things to talk about. Even if Amber’s life – with her high-profile job and handsome, wealthy boyfriend – is more glamorous than Lucy’s, they share a down-to-earth sense of humour. But then Amber starts to hint that her life isn’t all it seems, and when she comes to Lucy, terrified, saying that she’s getting threatening messages, Lucy promises to protect her. The closer Lucy gets to anyone, the harder it’ll be to keep her past to herself. But Amber doesn’t have anyone else, and Lucy welcomes her into her home. Lucy knows all too well that people aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes they have secrets. And they’d do anything to keep them. Yet when Amber settles in a little too quickly, Lucy’s still sure: she can trust her friend... can’t she?
This book was just average for me; I found it quite slow going, and the characters weren’t likeable. I’m not sure if this was the intention, I don’t think we are supposed to like Amanda. However, I didn’t even like Lucy or any of the other periphery women that were in it. Lucy seemed manic in her obsession with Amanda, and I’m not sure what either of them saw in each other as they weren’t very good friends. Lucy was pushy and clingy, and Amanda standoffish and selfish. Lucy didn’t gain anything from the friendship, so why she was so adamant about defending Amanda and pushing all her other friends away just didn’t make sense. There needed to be some redeeming qualities there. It took me a while to get into this book; however, it does pick up slightly after the middle. We start to get other people’s points of view and not just Lucy’s. I thought I had the identity of the ellipsis chapters figured out, but the reveal surprised me. It was good to have the twists and turns at the end; it made the book worthwhile sticking with. It wasn’t a terrible book, just too ploddy for my liking, and I need to feel like I am invested in more likeable characters or more redeemable characters at least. The book is well-developed and does build up to the unanticipated ending. There is nothing left hanging; we get all the answers to the questions we have asked throughout. I do like a book that ties up all the loose endings. So not a bad book but not the best I have ever read either. It was just a slow and simple read.
This was previously titled 'All Her Secrets'.