Be careful what you let in...
When the neighbours from hell move out, Minette and her husband, Abe are delighted when new neighbours, single mum Cath, and her two children move into the house next door. Very soon, Cath and Minette become friends and start to share confidences, well, Minette is probably far more confiding than she should be, but Cath is so good at listening, and Minette is a little bit lonely and even as she loves Abe and baby daughter Tilly, she's a just a little bit bored and craves excitement.
What then follows is a cleverly constructed novel which is told in three very different voices. Cath, the beleaguered mum of Davey and Lola, seems to have boundless energy, but sometimes there’s a sense that she’s struggling to cope. However, there’s no doubt that she is fiercely protective of her children, particularly her disabled son, Davey, and she guards all their privacy with something close to obsession. Minette, we learn very quickly is a little bit frustrated and craves excitement but at what cost to her own little family? And, then there's Davey an enigmatic eight year old who is wise beyond his years ,and who has a stoicism which is commendable.
It’s a carefully manipulated story about the minutiae of family life with lots of convoluted features and a good many surprises, and I think that the author does a good job in bringing all the multi layers of the story together. There’s lots to take in and some fairly interesting clues, which, as the story moves on starts to make sense. I won’t reveal more as that would spoil things as this is one of those stories which is better revealed layer by tantalising layer. But what I will say is, that, regardless of how well we think we know someone, life has an uncanny knack of throwing a few spanners in the works, so that we never truly know what secrets are hidden behind closed doors.
It’s a good second novel and well worth a read if you like family dramas with a bit of a twist.
You can read an extract from The Good Neighbour here.
My thanks to the author and Ebury Publishing for my review copy of this book.