What did she see? It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted 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?
“A scream, raw and horrorstruck, torn from the throat”
Loved it, loved it, loved it! As a huge fan of Hitchcock and Hitchcockian films, The Woman in the Window was a must-read for me in 2018 and, in my opinion, totally holds up under the expectations placed upon it. From the tantalising opening to the thrilling climax, it is a completely compelling read that drew me in, wrapped me up and held me down until I was as much a prisoner of circumstance as Anna!
The book absolutely gripped me from the off and I could barely put it down: lunchtimes lengthened, bath water cooled around me, TV shows got rewound, paused and eventually switched off as I raced through it. There’s a constant drip drip drip of something not quite right throughout the story and you are constantly looking for clues to…well, you’re not even sure to what at first!
“…Les Diaboliques tonight. A rat-bastard husband, his “little ruin” of a wife, a mistress, a murder, a vanished corpse. Can you beat a vanished corpse?”
The plotting is fantastic and each chapter, while not necessarily ending on a cliffhanger, leaves you wanting more. I loved the structure and the deft style of planting the clues. I may have worked out one or two of the twists along the way but the final one was a kicker and the overall effect still floored me.
The book is also beautifully written, with a rhythmic style – almost poetic in places – and I highlighted lots of great lines on my Kindle. The descriptions, both of Anna’s feelings and of her surroundings are very artfully brought to life. My heart regularly broke for her on her emotional rollercoaster and I could absolutely envisage every inch of the beautiful but stifling town house, as well as her limited view of the world beyond.
“I remember dropping a glass onto the patio once; it burst like a bubble, merlot flaring across the ground and flooding the veins of the stonework, dark and bloody, crawling toward my feet”
Anna is a great character and a wonderfully unique narrator – vulnerable, fragile and fallible but also resolute, determined and decent; surprisingly, she is also frequently dry and often hilarious. I must admit that I was not expecting that from this book.
I lost count of the number of times I actually laughed out loud, re-read a perfectly constructed line and once again, highlighted it on my Kindle. Here are some choice examples, but there are dozens more:
“Second half bath, this one blued in ‘Heavenly Rapture,’ which is ambitious language for a room with a toilet.”
“Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. DSM-5 for short…it sounds like a movie franchise. Liked Mental Disorders 4? You’ll love the sequel!”
“I scan my legs and torso with my hand, like I’m presenting a prize on a game show. You too can win this disused thirty-eight-year-old body!”
“I’m trapped in a police car fondling my fat. This is a new low.”
In summary, this book was pretty much everything I hoped it would be: thrilling, mysterious, exciting, dramatic and Hitchcockian. There are references to loads of my favourite films – Rear Window, Vertigo, The Lady Vanishes, they’re all in there, plus Gaslight, Charade, even shades of the more modern Copycat – but it is so much more than that.
With the added bonus of some witty lines, a marvellous lead in Anna and brilliant supporting characters, this is an incredible book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollinsUK HarperFiction for the ARC of The Woman In The Window.