‘Two suburban women.
Two dark secrets.
The almost perfect murder.’
The Woman Next Door is a novel by Cass Green. Published at the end of this month, I was lucky to receive my copy from writing.ie and HarperCollins. Continue reading to check out my review and let me know what you think!
‘Melissa and Hester have lived next door to each other for years. When Melissa’s daughter was younger, Hester was almost like a grandmother to her. But recently they haven’t been so close.
Hester has plans to change all that. It’s obvious to her that despite Melissa’s outwardly glamorous and successful life, she needs Hester’s help.
But taking help from Hester might not be such a good idea for a woman with as many secrets as Melissa…’ (via Goodreads)
Claustrophobic – Not a word I would often associate with a novel but it best describes The Woman Next Door. Cass Green has delivered Psychological Suspense in a manner I have not read before.
Hester and Melissa are neighbours.
Melissa is married to Mark with one daughter Tilly. Mark is a doctor, specializing in IVF. with a recent, very successful, foray into TV. Melissa and Mark have had their issues but are slowly working through them.
Hester has buried her husband Terry a few years previously and now lives with her dog, Bertie. Hester is rather a strange character who is extremely preoccupied with Melissa’s life.
‘It’s not that I’m spying on Melissa. It’s just a way of keeping in touch with what’s going on in her life.’
Hester was part of Melissa’s life when Tilly was a baby. She became a ‘grandmother’ figure in their lives, but as time passed her behaviour was border line obsessive, turning up unannounced etc and Melissa took a step back.
Hester is now very lonely and Cass Green portrays this so well at the beginning of the book, you almost feel empathy with Hester.
‘For one awful moment, I think I am going to go mad. I’m so very sick of being lonely.’
Hester attempts to wriggle her way back into Melissa’s life and so begins a journey that neither woman had anticipated.
At the beginning of the novel I found Melissa’s behaviour toward Hester quite rude and took a dislike to her, but this feeling was to change…
Hester has always had difficulty establishing relationships with others in her life. Her marriage to Terry didn’t work out as she had dreamed. She needs Melanie to fill a hole in an otherwise empty life.
Both Hester and Melanie have a secret to tell, a past they both wish to be forgotten. Melanie’s life is thrown into disarray and through ‘unusual’ circumstances, her life becomes intertwined with Hester’s in a way she had never imagined possible.
‘Time seems to move strangely in this new reality, like a liquid that turns without warning from fast-flowing water to something muddy and listless. Last night seems like another lifetime. Yet four o’clock this afternoon seems to have only just passed but now it is almost eight. In just a few hours, everything has changed.’
Hester’s character changes as the book progresses and we are painted a picture of a very different, rather unstable person.
This is a difficult book to review without giving away too much of the plotline but be prepared for an almost ‘Thelma and Louise’ type ride!!
There are characters both innocent and creepy, insidious and lonely. Strange, uncomfortable people with stories to tell.
As the book progresses we meet the characters, we see into past lives and we are introduced to some extremely erratic behaviour.
You will have to pick up a copy yourself of this absorbing tale in crime fiction to see what happens when secrets are revealed and pasts uncovered.
Please let me know what you think.
A little bio of Cass Green:
Cass Green is the pseudonym of Caroline Green, an award-winning author of fiction for young people.
Her first novel, Dark Ride won the Rona Young Adult Book of the Year and the Waverton Good Read Award. Cracks and Hold Your Breath garnered rave reviews and were shortlisted for eleven awards between them.
She is the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School and teaches Writing for Children at City University. Caroline has been a journalist for over twenty years and has written for many broadsheet newspapers and glossy magazines.
The Woman Next Door is her first novel for adults. (via Amazon.co.uk)