After hearing about this book through a fantastic Facebook group called Book Connectors, I was super excited to receive a review copy via NetGalley and wasted no time getting stuck in!
The Good Neighbour follows the lives of two women, Minette and Cath. Cath moves in to the house next door to Minette and they strike up a friendship that is based on a mutual need for companionship. Minette is a lonely new mother who spends her days with her young daughter, wondering if this is the life she really wants. Cath is a single mother with two children, her son unable to walk and wheelchair bound and her daughter with severe allergies. They begin a friendship that seems to fulfill the needs of both women and soon start sharing secrets with each other. Minette fancies Liam, the hunky man across the street and Cath is quick to encourage the desire. When Minette starts to find out more about Cath’s life however, she begins to wonder if the woman who moved in next door really is who she says she is.
This book was really compelling. It started off being pretty innocent and quite friendly in tone but as the plot progressed a whole host of quite frightening and sinister secrets started cascading from the pages turning the novel into something altogether more dark. I felt betrayed because characters who I placed trust in started to become characters I really didn’t like at all and it only got worse from there!
Minette was a very interesting protagonist, there were moments when I really felt for her but then equally moments where I wanted to shake some sense into her. Her actions sometimes felt a little incongruous but as the plot progressed I started to warm to her more and feel sympathy towards her. Cath on the other hand was a character I wanted to keep at arms length. From the misplaced trust I had in her at the beginning, I started to feel very angry and frustrated at the way she behaved. Even when we are given a reason, or reasoning behind her actions, I almost couldn’t garner any sympathy for her because her actions were just so vile and cruel.
Without giving too much of the plot away, Miller deals with some really interesting and sensitive issues surrounding mental health and physical health in The Good Neighbour, looking at the effects of both on a family. She also touches upon abuse, divorce, cheating and the true meaning of friendship.
The only issue I had with this book was the ending. It felt far too simple and ‘happy’. I’m all for a happy ending but the way Minette’s husband reacts to certain news was just almost unfathomable. I can’t think of anyone who would behave that way but maybe his character was just a whole lot more forgiving than I could ever be.
Miller’s writing style is really addictive and as mentioned before, the novel was completely compelling from the get go. I managed to read this book in just a few sittings and was a little gutted once I’d turned the final page, I almost wanted more from the characters.
It’s hard to place this book into a genre. It’s not quite a thriller but then it’s more than just a ‘contemporary novel’. It has been compared to books such as Daughter and has been pegged for fans of Liane Moriarty and I think I’d agree. Whatever genre it does or doesn’t fall into though, it’s the perfect book to snuggle up in bed with and lose yourself for a few hours. Definitely worth picking up!