Book Review: The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

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Synopsis from the book:

A gorgeous and unforgettable novel set in a turn-of-the-century brownstone on New York’s Upper East Side, The Girl Next Door follows the stories of the building’s residents, showing their lives, their loves and the way they live together.

Meet Eve Gallagher in Apartment 7A, newly moved to New York from London with her ambitious banker husband. She’s lonely and lost…until she meets elderly neighbour Violet, who’s concealing a tragic story of her own. The Kramers and the Schulmans in Apartments 6A and 6B are about to find their lives intersecting in a most unfortunate manner when Jason Kramer falls head-over-heels for Rachael Schulman.

Jackson Grayling III in Apartment 5A is 26, fantastically wealthy and a directionless layabout. He’s attracting the attention of a gold-digger in 2B even though he’s far more interested in the beautiful and hardworking Emily Milanowski in 3B. And finally, plain, dull and self-conscious Charlotte Murphy rents 2A and works in the Public Library. She lives in a dream world and is desperate to be anyone but herself. Will any of her neighbours ever take enough notice of her to help her?

To be honest I don’t think that synopsis does the characters in this book justice but how do you sum up a book in three paragraphs when it has such a large cast of characters?

The Girl Next Door isn’t the type of book I would usually choose for myself but one of the benefits of book reviewing is you find gems like this that you would otherwise have overlooked. I haven’t read any of Noble’s previous work but she does a great job of making each character come to life – not an easy task considering the large cast. The characters are interesting and most have a lot of depth. With so many characters there is a lot going on – love, loss, hope, redemption, Noble covers it all. I found peeking into their lives fascinating and there is so much going on that I wanted to read the entire book in one go. Even days after I finished The Girl Next Door I found myself wondering about the future for so many of the residents of this New York apartment building. It isn’t that Noble left many loose ends but in a novel where the author is examining everyday life and relationships, as they unfold not everything can be wrapped up in a neat little package. If have found myself wishing for a sequel to further examine some of the characters I grew to care about.

This is definitely a woman-centric novel but I wouldn’t label it with the chick-lit tag which, to me, means books where the author thinks shopping and shoe brands make for an interesting read. While The Girl Next Door isn’t earth shattering it is a good read and has made me curious to check out some of Nobles other work. I will give one spoiler though – if you are a Mum – especially a new Mum – this book is going to make you cry cry cry. Take it from the non-cryer here – tears were shed. That’s all I’m going to say.

I give The Girl Next Door a rating of: E as I definitely lost myself in the story and enjoyed it.

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