The Girl Next Door

| 7 July , 2009 | Reply

Guest editorGuest Editor, Emma Andrews

Imagine being swept away to live in New York City in a fancy apartment, drink cappuccinos at your leisure, shop at Tiffany’s, stroll through Central Park or travel to the Hamptons for a romantic getaway. What a perfect Sex and the City moment that is!
For Eve Gallagher, the central character of The Girl Next Door, it\’s not so perfect when she’s whisked away to New York with her husband who\’s off to start his dream promotion.  Eve is a little daunted about leaving her English country lifestyle behind as well as her family and friends.  Her husband, Ed, on the other hand is not quite sure what the fuss is about.


Eve and Ed find the perfect apartment and settle into their new home.  The problem is, Eve is left to roam the streets of New York alone while Ed persistently works overtime.  Her only comfort is her elderly neighbour in apartment 4B, Violet Wallace.  While Eve is thrilled to have a new friend who she can confide in, she soon discovers that Violet is hiding a few secrets of her own and needs a friend more than anyone.  What comes to the forefront is a story of unbearable pain and heart wrenching sorrow.

Elizabeth Noble takes her readers on an intricate and sensitive journey by delving into the lives of the residents in a modern New York apartment block.  Not everything is as it first appears. Jason and Kimberly in 6A have fallen madly out of love; David and Rachel are happily married but harbour a dark secret; Charlotte is a single girl with low self-esteem and a desire for love; Emily is successful and pretty but isn’t ready to commit to a relationship; Madison is a confident fashionista who has a jealous streak; and Trip is a procrastinator who is sponging off his wealthy parents.  This unusual mix of people being swept into common ground is what makes this book enthralling.

Eve is so desperately unhappy that she is determined to turn things around by trying for a baby. She falls pregnant almost immediately, and things seem to look up.  She and Ed look forward to their future together until a traumatic event changes their lives forever.

Jason and Kimberly have a demanding daughter who is their only common interest.  Their unhappiness intensifies and Jason forms a crush on his neighbour, Rachel.  When this backfires, Kim makes a drastic decision which will make or break their marriage.  Rachel is in love with her loyal and devoted husband David.  David however is hiding a terrible secret that could rip their family apart.

Emily and Trip form a close bond and embark on a complicated and turbulent relationship.  Trip is forced to reassess his life and Emily must decide if Madison, her jealous neighbour, is right about Trip’s infidelity. Charlotte on the other hand is more than happy to see the doorman, Che whom she’s secretly fallen for.  Surely he feels the same way and she will find true love at last!

The beauty of this novel is that Elizabeth Noble uncovers new twists and turns in the residents’ lives which intertwine and leave you wanting more.  While she only touches very simply on some of the characters, she develops her main characters beautifully.  You can’t help but feel a sense of attachment to the people who\’s lives are so intricately played out.  I know I wanted to fly straight to New York and experience this for myself.  The city is painted as a wonderfully interesting, exciting and colourful place where your life could be changed for better or worse.

I recommend The Girl Next Door as an easy winter read when all you want is a bit of ‘you’ time.

Available now: Penguin, RRP $32.95.

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