I finished reading one more book by Elizabeth Noble on my holiday – The Girl Next Door. And I am happy to say I loved this one too just as much as I did her other books.
The Girl Next Door is the story of an upmarket apartment in New York; the stories of the residents of that apartment, to be precise. The book speaks of how the residents came to be what they are, and how they find friendship, love and solace in each other. It is the apartment that brings them closer.
Violet – my favourite character in this book – is an aged but gregarious woman, much loved by all the residents, but who seems to be shut off and does not allow anyone to get close to her beyond a certain point. Eve and Ed are a couple who shift to New York from England, because Ed gets a new job. Eve is an English girl at heart, and the big, wide, and new world of New York frightens her, making her feel small, sad, and lonely. Much to the wonder of the building residents, Eve and Violet become close friends.
Jackson is the spoilt brat of extremely rich parents, who does not value money and does not believe in holding down a stable job. Madison – a snotty beauty from the building – believes Jackson to be a catch and desperately wants to grab his attention. Jackson, though, is head over heels in love with Emily, a beautiful runner who is wary of guys like him. Emily’s best friend in the apartment is Charlotte – the dull-looking romance novel addict, who is too shy to have any romance in her own life.
Rachael and David seem to be the ideal couple who have it all. Jason and Kimberley live next door to them, but their marriage is exactly the opposite of Rachael and David’s. Jason lost the lively and active Kimberley he fell in love with, after the birth of their daughter Avery. And he resents it big-time. Jason is fast falling for the yummy mummy Rachael and can’t wait to get into bed with her.
I loved the way the individual stories of all of these people unfolds in the book. As usual, Noble has done a great job with narration. I have come to love Elizabeth’s style of story-telling – each chapter is narrated by a character from the story, adding meaning to the stories of the other characters. I could imagine the characters in my head – as if a movie were playing out before me – and I believe that’s what a good book should do to you.
The language is simple and easy to read, but the book is not just a flowery romance. It is quite thought-provoking as well. I quite like the way the author puts forth serious issues like infidelity, the thought of infidelity, the loneliness at finding oneself in a new city, and breaking out of your mould in such simple terms that it is delightful to read. This book too has everything in the right proportions – warmth, romance, humour and sadness. I found the book very engaging and couldn’t put it down till I had finished it.
All in all, I would say that The Girl Next Door is a delightful read. Go for it if you are looking for some light but thought-provoking reading.
Now, I want to read the last two books by Noble – The Way We Were and The Friendship Test. Elizabeth Noble has got me hooked!