5 June 2023
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to the tour
Laura is watching the world go by without her.
Unable to leave her house since suffering a trauma, Laura is stuck gazing out of her window at Willow Crescent, relying on husband Jim and best friend Debbie for help.
Then one day, Jim doesn’t come home.
A day becomes two, days become a week, and still no sign of Jim. And with the police half-hearted in their efforts to look for him, Laura is forced into a decision. She’s going to have to face the world outside and find her husband herself.
But what Laura hasn’t realised is that Willow Crescent is a community, eager to help. From Arthur and Carol next door ready to rally the neighbours, to Marjorie and her daughter Faye at number nine looking for their own reasons to engage with the world. From Sonja at number seven who thinks she may have seen Jim in London, to widower Ben at number four who understands all about being lonely. Laura has a world ready to embrace her if she can just find the nerve.
And when it slowly dawns on them all, that the Jim they thought they knew, may have been hiding some unfathomable secrets, Laura has a choice – retreat back behind her window, or start living the life that was waiting for her all along.
This is Clare Swatman's tour de force. At the same time emotional, uplifting, page-turning and breath-taking, Laura is a character you will never forget.
📖 My Review..
When Laura's husband fails to return home after working away she is devastated as Jim is her absolute lifeline because, you see, Laura is desperately afraid of the outside world and she relies on Jim for absolutely everything. Laura's only close friend is Debbie who has a family of her own and yet she does all she can to help Laura through this traumatic time. With Debbie's help Laura tentatively starts to emerge from the shackles she has placed around herself and as the story progresses we start to see a very different Laura emerge. There's a lovely community feel to the story and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the neighbours in Willow Close who rally round to help Laura and Debbie solve the mystery of Jim's disappearance.
I'm not going to spoil the story by saying much more except to say that I was engrossed in Laura's story and enjoyed the forwards and backwards in time element as we got to learn more about Laura, and Jim, and of the events which have caused her to be so afraid of the outside world. The author explores the nuances around unresolved trauma and also looks at the nature of coercion and control which brings Laura to life in a believable way so that our sympathy very much side with her.
The World Outside My Window is not so much of a mystery, as pretty early on in the story I had my own view about what had happened to Jim. It is, however, very much Laura's story, her indecision, her mental health struggles and her absolute fear of almost everything is written about with a sensitivity which resonated throughout the whole of this lovely, immersive story.
About the Author
Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire. Before We Grow Old, was published in January 2022.
Twitter @clareswatman #TheWorldOutsideMyWindow