The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan

Georgina’s little boy has a new imaginary friend. But there’s something wrong about this friend. For a start, he calls her New Granny, which is strange and uncomfortable because Georgina is still reeling from the death of her mother. She is also under a lot of pressure with work, study, and some relationship problems. When things start to get weird, we wonder, is she fixating on something because of stress or is something really, really wrong?

Oh boy, I really enjoyed this one. The book has a strong opening, with Cody, the little boy, telling his mother that a lady in the bushes gave him a lollipop. It’s really creepy. This is a domestic thriller, but it definitely is spooky too. It sometimes has an almost haunted house horror movie feel to it, which is really good. It makes you wonder what’s really going on, and what if it’s all in Georgina’s head? I really like the way that worked.

It’s not a really long book, and it’s moves along really nicely. Each chapter gives us either a little clue, or an intriguing fact, a little twist. It keeps you interested and keeps you turning pages. I read this one in almost one sitting. I thought part-way through that I knew where it was going, and then there were twists and turns that made the book go in another direction. I often guess the ending of books, but I really didn’t know what was going on until almost the end.

I also think that the author has a great grasp of character and setting. The story takes place in Dublin, and some of the book is distinctly Irish, which is great. It feels different to a lot of other books in the same genre. But it’s also really relatable because of the domestic setting. This is like my neighborhood here, where I live, which makes it more spooky. I really liked Georgina. She’s smart and feels very real. She’s vulnerable but not a doormat. She has problems that anyone could have, and she feels really well written and complex. I felt like all the characters were like that. The author creates them and gives each one a unique voice, and shows us who they are through their feelings and the things they do, rather than just telling us. It’s really good. I loved Georgina’s father, who is so lovely and just exactly like people his age are. I also really didn’t like her husband, Bren, who seems so nice but isn’t exactly. She creates him so well that he feels just like people I know. Through her characters, the author creates drama and friction, but the book isn’t soapy or melodramatic at all (I mean, until the last chapters, where you want it to be). It’s relatable, but heightened. It’s the perfect tone to hit for this.

This book is so good. It did not read like a first novel at all. I hope that Rachel Ryan writes more, I really enjoyed this. It takes in themes of infidelity, postpartum depression, community, fixation and obsession, manipulation and “little woman”, gaslighting and a little bit of Irish history too. There are a lot of domestic thrillers out there, it’s a big genre lately. They’re fairly light reads, and this one is too, but while a lot of them are predictable or trope-y, this one is so good.

Read It If: If you want something perfect for this time of year, a page turner that’s a little spooky and very intriguing, this one it for you.

Thank you Simon Schuster Canada for this ARC for honest review. All opinions are my own honest thoughts and feelings.

The Woman Outside My Door is out November 24th.

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