Book Club - Review - The Woman In The Window

In February we launched a book club here on This Welsh Mother. We posted over on Facebook and asked interested parties to help us select our first book and the winner was “The Woman In The Window” by AJ Finn.

I was pretty happy, I must confess. I love a thriller and have wanted to get back into reading for some time so I was happy to sink my teeth into a genre I knew I would love and that would be great for keeping me interested.

I tried not to do too much reading about the book before I started because I didn’t want to find any spoilers but I knew it had been very popular and was also already in the process of being turned into a film starring Amy Adams - So I had high hopes for this first read.

What was it about?

I’m only going to type the blurb because I don’t want to spoil it.

It’s been ten months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits, watching her neighbours. When the Russels move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture perfect family, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something horrifying. Now she must uncover the truth about what really happened. But if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

First thoughts?

I was really drawn to the book because of it’s genre. I love to watch a crime thriller movie or TV series so I thought this book would be right up my street. New York is also one of my favourite places in the world so It’s nice to revisit it by way of literature.

An easy read?

I make no bones that I had fallen out of love with reading. Three years of sleepless nights had left my concentration capabilities in tatters and I just couldn’t stick with any book no matter how interesting. I made a real effort with this book though and set aside an hours reading time before bed each night. I was hooked instantly. I actually found myself creeping upstairs to get further along in the story in the quiet moments of the afternoon.

Characters

The protagonist, Anna Fox was difficult and I love that in a leading lady, The book made me love her, feel sorry for her, question her sanity and motives and sometimes dislike her. She’s not always loveable, she’s not a straight forward heroine. She was mixed up, and bright, driven and impaired all at the same time. A J Finn writes Anna as an unreliable narrator. By that I mean you can never quite tell if the story she is giving you is the truth. Anna struggles with faulty memories and alcoholism. One of my favourite things about the book was the way A J Finn plays with our perception of what is true and what is imagined.

If you liked Gone Girl or The Girl on the train - YOU WILL LOVE THIS

My thoughts… for what they are worth…

I loved that the book was structured in really short and snappy chapters. I mentioned above that I really struggle to concentrate when reading these day’s so I was able to get through chunks of this book quite easily. It also set the tone for the type of story you are reading and each chapter was a little snapshot. The plot was very quick paced, The book is set in the present day and the story unfolds over a very short space of time.

I thought that Finn did a really great job of capturing the mental state of Anna. I really felt able to ‘feel’ with her, the descriptions of how her head felt, the effects of alcohol and medication. I was captivated by Anna’s confusion with herself! ( unreliable narration at it’s best ). The descriptive writing when Anna dears she cannot even trust herself were great.

I loved the inclusion of film references, it gave a brilliant extra layer to the book and her as a character. I also found it added to the atmosphere of a lot of the scenes.

I found the book to be an easy read, I sussed some but not all of the steps myself. I genuinely needed to know what would happen next which kept me interested and also kept me up far later than I needed to be.

I’d give it a really great - 8 out of 10

Ceri Gillett

Ceri is a seriel entrepreneur, overthinker and occasional wine drinker.

Most often found in the Monmouthshire countryside with Fred (2.5 years). Likes Rap and Red nails in no particular order.