Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Girl Next Door - Elizabeth Noble

As is common with a number of Noble's books, in The Girl Next Door she takes almost a short story 'Love Actually' approach where we see snippets of intertwining lives. The reason for it in this book is people living in an apartment block in New York, and hence impacting on each other.

The main drive of the story is Eve and Ed, an English couple who move across from England when Ed starts a secondment in the New York office. Eve suffers due to the move, feeling lonely and needy, and eventually decides that having a baby would solve the issues she has, both with her new life and her relationship. The conclusion of their particular story brought tears to my eyes.

Other characters include Kim and Jason, a couple who are struggling through the aftermath of IVF; Rachael and David, who have to come to terms with a huge shock to their relationship; and the sweet love story between Emily and Jackson.

There are other stories that gently touch these more central narratives as well. Unusually, I found all the stories equally absorbing in their own way - although a couple of the characters annoyed me. These included Madison, because of her jealous and manipulative nature, and Charlotte, because of her naivety (although we leave her having had an epiphany of sorts and therefore can hope she'll change).

I enjoy Noble's warm and gentle writing style (that could be compared to other chick lit giants such as Marian Keyes), but also appreciate the fact that she is willing to touch on real life issues and tell sadder stories rather than keep everything light and frothy.

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