If you’re looking to read more suspense in 2018, look no further. While I predicted most of its twists and turns, I also thought The Woman in the Window was an page-turning addition to the current unreliable girl narrator trend and an homage to classic suspense movies. Read my review of The Woman in the Window below!
To be published on January 2, 2018 by William Morrow
Source: eARC for review
Synopsis (adapted from Goodreads): What did she see? It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she haunts the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside. Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
Review of The Woman in the Window
So, first off, yes. The Woman in the Window is part of a long (okay just a few years but seems longer) trend of unreliable girl narrator books. First we had Gone Girl and then Girl on the Train. Of course, Hitchcock’s Rear Window (about someone who watches a crime through a window and isn’t believed) also clearly inspired Girl on the Train.
The Woman in the Window is even more clearly an homage to that classic movie, and to Hitchcock films in general. Like the protagonist in Rear Window, Anna Fox is confined to her townhouse (though by agoraphobia, not a broken leg) and, like Jeff Jefferies in the movie, Anna is a photographer who passes the time watching her neighbors. Anna also watches and references Hitchcock films in the story.
So this book answered a question of mine:
Can a suspense story that’s completely predictable also be completely enjoyable? For me, the answer was yes. In some ways, this book felt very similar to Girl on the Train. Both feature heroines who struggle with alcoholism. In The Woman in the Window, Anna also – against medical advice – mixes her wine with prescription medication. Which makes her grasp on reality even more unreliable. Both GotT and WitW feature heroines who have been left by their husbands and/or family and seem very alone. Both feature heroines who see a crime committed and, because they both are unrealiable/impaired/paranoid, can’t get anyone to believe them.
While I enjoyed both books, in some ways I think that The Woman in the Window was more successful. While GotT’s Rachel is able to stagger around spying on people, Anna is completely trapped. Her agoraphobia really added to the suspense and also made her a much more sympathetic character.
Though I was able to predict pretty much every twist and turn in the story (I do read a lot of suspense),that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book. (I discuss my predictions and the reveals under spoiler protection in my Goodreads review if you’re interested.)
Bottom line: if you loved The Girl on the Train and/or are a Hitchcock fan, I definitely recommend checking this out.
Have you read this or are you going to? Tell me in comments!