The Girl Next Door – Elizabeth Noble

Title: The Girl Next Door
Author: Elizabeth Noble
ISBN: 9781439154830
Pages: 352
Release Date: December 22, 2009
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

The Girl Next Door is the story of a group of people living in a co-op in New York City.  There’s Eve, the recent transplant from the UK, whose husband Ed seems to be working more and more, leaving Eve all alone.  She finds friendship with Violet, the eccentric, withdrawn older woman living in the building.  There are two couples Noble focuses on, Rachael and David, who seem perfect in every way, and Kim and Jason, who don’t seem to have anything in common anymore except their daughter Avery.  All these, and many more, different storylines come together to show how people’s lives are actually intertwined, and that people can influence one another.

Review:

The Girl Next Door is a touching and heartfelt book about the lives of a group of Manhattan-ites.  There are a lot of people in this book. enough so that Elizabeth Noble decided to include a list of characters at the beginning of the novel.  It’s actually quite necessary for the first quarter of the book or so.  It takes Noble awhile to establish these characters, but she eventually succeeds well enough that the reader stops having to flip to the front of the book every few pages.

Indeed, you would think that it would be very difficult to effectively develop the sheer number of characters that are in The Girl Next Door, but Noble accomplishes it well.  She only spends a couple of pages at a time on each character, so at the beginning to seems like the reader will never get to know these people and the prospect seems frustrating.  But without the reader even realizing it, Noble manages to insinuate the reader into these characters’ lives.  It’s masterfully done and makes the novel difficult to put down.  Admittedly, some characters such as Tod and Gregory aren’t well fleshed out, casualties of the other, better developed characters in the book.

The characters that resonated the most for me were Kim and Jason.  Their marriage was falling apart and they had absolutely no connection anymore.  What made it even worse is that Kim made it so that Jason didn’t even have a relationship with their daughter, Avery.  She used Avery as a weapon against him.  It was really sickening, yet Noble wrote the storyline in such a way that the reader is hooked, hoping beyond hope that Kim will see the error of her ways and be able to save her marriage. 

The Girl Next Door is a well-written novel that fans of women’s fiction will enjoy.  Though it is reminiscent of Candace Bushnell’s One Fifth Avenue, the endearing characters will definitely win readers over.

Comments

  1. Not every author can pull this off, no? With this many characters, they all need to be distinct and memorable, but if done well, it is enjoyable.

  2. Not every author can pull this off, no? With this many characters, they all need to be distinct and memorable, but if done well, it is enjoyable.

  3. I seem to be collecting Elizabeth Noble’s books and never reading them. This sounds like another good one plus I am a sucker for books set in my own city. It’s fun to read about places that I know about.

  4. I seem to be collecting Elizabeth Noble’s books and never reading them. This sounds like another good one plus I am a sucker for books set in my own city. It’s fun to read about places that I know about.

  5. I think I’d enjoy this one especially if it reminded you of One Fifth Avenue!

  6. I think I’d enjoy this one especially if it reminded you of One Fifth Avenue!

  7. I’m glad you enjoyed this, but I wonder if the number of characters would bug me.

  8. I’m glad you enjoyed this, but I wonder if the number of characters would bug me.

  9. I’m not sure how long I’d stick with a book that made me keep flipping to the cast of characters page.

  10. I’m not sure how long I’d stick with a book that made me keep flipping to the cast of characters page.

  11. Sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I love it when authors successfully juggle multiple characters, and these characters sound interesting. Thanks for the review!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  12. Sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I love it when authors successfully juggle multiple characters, and these characters sound interesting. Thanks for the review!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. Wow, this seemed like a really light book when I saw the cover and title, but then you said there’s a cast of characters at the front, so I can’t imagine it is all that light!

  14. Wow, this seemed like a really light book when I saw the cover and title, but then you said there’s a cast of characters at the front, so I can’t imagine it is all that light!

  15. Noble is synonymous with huge, heavily-populated novels for me! I read The Reading Group last year and enjoyed it, but there were just way too many characters… I was constantly overwhelmed trying to remember who belonged to who and did what and… it was exhausting! This one sounds good, but I worry that I’d have the same problem again!

  16. Noble is synonymous with huge, heavily-populated novels for me! I read The Reading Group last year and enjoyed it, but there were just way too many characters… I was constantly overwhelmed trying to remember who belonged to who and did what and… it was exhausting! This one sounds good, but I worry that I’d have the same problem again!

  17. This is on my shelf, from the same source as you (actually I’ve sort of misplaced it — does that ever happen to you???). I was waiting to read it until I read some that had already come out, but I was wondering what you thought as well.

    I enjoyed Things I Want My Daughter to Know when I read it last year.

  18. This is on my shelf, from the same source as you (actually I’ve sort of misplaced it — does that ever happen to you???). I was waiting to read it until I read some that had already come out, but I was wondering what you thought as well.

    I enjoyed Things I Want My Daughter to Know when I read it last year.

  19. Elizabeth Noble says:

    Hi – Elizabeth Noble here! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book – thanks for reading it. I like a full cast, I have to admit, both as a reader, and as an author, and I agree that the biggest challenge is making each character vivid – and quickly. I hope I’ve succeeded! I’m doing a reading at Barnes and Noble on East 86th Street tomorrow night at 7pm, and I’d love to meet you there if you happened to be free…and just a note – I’m working on a sequel now, and some of the characters that had walk on parts in the Girl Next Door get more central roles in the follow up..! Thanks again!

  20. Elizabeth Noble says:

    Hi – Elizabeth Noble here! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book – thanks for reading it. I like a full cast, I have to admit, both as a reader, and as an author, and I agree that the biggest challenge is making each character vivid – and quickly. I hope I’ve succeeded! I’m doing a reading at Barnes and Noble on East 86th Street tomorrow night at 7pm, and I’d love to meet you there if you happened to be free…and just a note – I’m working on a sequel now, and some of the characters that had walk on parts in the Girl Next Door get more central roles in the follow up..! Thanks again!

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