Author: Leah StewartSummary: In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life. Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond. Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her. In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own. ~amazon.com
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Bottom Line: Intriguing look at the secrets we keep and who we tell our secrets to
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Review: The New Neighbor is a riveting novel that will have you turning the pages to find out what it is that Jennifer and Margaret did because you know they both did something. Margaret is a 90 year old woman who lives by herself in a small mountain town. When a younger woman moves into the house across the pond, Margaret finds her curiosity peaked.
Jennifer is escaping her past. We don't know what she's escaping but we know it's something that she desperately wants to move away from. In order to support herself and her young son, Milo she puts up fliers to get work as a massage therapist. This is how her and Margaret get acquainted. What Jennifer can't possibly know is that this business relationship will change her quiet existence.
Margaret is an interesting person. She's very callous and yet she wants to be liked. She also has a secret she wants to unburden but refuses to acknowledge this fact. Instead she enlists Jennifer to record her personal history. This is also her way of trying to get Jennifer to open up about her past. The thing is that Jennifer has built a pretty big wall and she's not too quick to fall for Margaret tricks.
Neither of these women is particularly likable but that didn't stop me from wanting to know what happens to their stories. Ms. Stewart does a great job of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs along the way with both of their stories. I really liked how the story was told from both Margaret's and Jennifer's POVs. I don't think you would get a full picture if only one of them were telling their side of the story. I also liked how she included another point of view at the very end that adds another dimension to the storyline.
If you are looking for a great summer mystery, then look no further than The New Neighbor , it will hold your attention no matter where you are reading it.