by Barbara Delinsky
The Woman Next Door
Simon and Schuster, July, 2001.
Hardcover, 368 pages.
In upscale suburban Connecticut, four houses form a lovely cul-de-sac. Three couples and one beautiful widow named Gretchen form the small community. When the virtual shut-in Gretchen becomes pregnant, it throws the three marriages into a shambles, as each wife wonders if her husband could be the father of the unborn child. Each marriage seems to be happy, but each couple is dealing with their own problems. Amanda and Graham O'Leary are undergoing the rigors of infertility treatments, which are putting a terrible strain on their marriage. Karen Cotter has endured her wealthy husband Lee's numerous infidelities, and is near the breaking point. And high-powered CEO Georgia can't help but wonder if her stay at home husband and dad Russ hasn't found a way to liven up the boredom of being at home all day long with the kids by having an affair with their lovely neighbor. When a crisis erupts at the local high school, events are brought to a head in the seemingly serene neighborhood that actually hides a simmering unease and distrust.
No one can get into the psyche of today's woman quite like the talented Barbara Delinsky. In The Woman Next Door, she expertly explores the themes of love, suspicion, betrayal, hope and compassion. The story of Graham and Amanda's struggles to have a child is poignant and moving, without ever disintegrating into sentimentality, and working mothers are sure to empathize with Georgia's struggles to balance a home life with her career. Gretchen, the catalyst for the crisis is an interesting and somewhat mysterious character. But she too has a moving story that is gradually revealed as the suspense mounts towards the end of the book. This is Barbara Delinsky at her finest. Highly recommended.
The Woman Next Door is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the August, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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