#Review The Woman In The Window by @AJFinnBooks 4* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @fictionpubteam @HarperFiction

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The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn
Synopsis:

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?

My review:

I have seen the online hype for this novel and read the synopsis. It was a novel I HAD to HAVE! After several trips to the book store and returning empty handed. I finally found a copy. This novel is described as in the style of Hitchcock and certainly has a synopsis that is reminiscent of one of his most famous movies.
I was very intrigued!

Due to a chronic pain condition, I spend most of my time indoors. I rarely leave and even rarer socialise. This is the how/why to my never ending TBR pile. I devour novels to starve off the boredom.
I had to learn more about this fabulous bestseller, everyone is raving about.

The novel is told in diary style, opening in October and the following weeks. Our protagonist Anna, is a nosey neighbour. She is more on the scale of obsessive nosey neighbour. She knows who everyone is and has even taken to googling the neighbours for further details. But when new neighbours arrive at number 207, it will unravel Anna’s carefully organised little world.

Anna is a lonely woman, in a huge four floor, New York house. She has a womanising tenant named David and a cat named Punch. She clearly has some form of trauma or emotional pain in her background. But we must wait for Anna to tell us.
Anna is on a long list of medication, drinks wine by the bottle daily and has a wild imagination. Which makes her one hell of an unreliable narrator. But she is unbelievably addictive.
I was hooked to the page and desperate to know how the plot unravelled.

Anna is separated from her husband Ed and he has custody of their daughter Olivia. She speaks to them daily via the telephone and through the novel we learn more of their history as a couple. I found Anna to be very self-destructive and desperate for company. She spends hours in her home, watching old back and white movies or absorbed in her online community Agrora, for fellow suffers of agoraphobia.

The new family in the neighbourhood are Alistair and Jane Russell, with their teenage son Ethan. Anna’s house directly looks onto theirs and she becomes obsessed with watching them at the window, through her Nikon camera lens.
I had a feeling this would end badly. But for whom?
When Ethan makes attempts to befriend Jane, she lets down her guard. He’s just a kid and she is a trained child psychologist. She sees a lonely vulnerable child and he probably sees a lonely vulnerable adult. In one sense it is a meeting of minds.

When Ethan’s mother Jane pops over one day, they begin talking and drinking, as women often do. It isn’t long until Anna and Jane have confided in one another. Anna of her PTSD and agoraphobia and Jane of her controlling marriage. They play chess and drink more wine and I wondered if Anna had finely found a real friend. That is until one night, shortly after, a scream is heard, and Anna becomes convinced Jane has come to harm.
What follows is revelation upon revelation.

As Anna’s past and present collide in a dramatic and well woven plot. I trusted her less and less. Her backstory only makes you empathise with her struggles and in turn you begin to make excuses for her irrational behaviour. I found myself trying to pick apart the narrative to fathom the truth, I was at an absolute loss. Anna is complex and strong minded, yet she draws you in and won’t let go.

Q&A with @olivertidy #Author of The Prole Soldier #RainbowCity #Dystopian @CarolineBookBit

The Prole Soldier - Oliver Tidy - Book Cover
The Prole Soldier by Oliver Tidy

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) Is it OK if I just give you the blurb for the book? I’m worried that if I start going on about me or this book most of the people reading this won’t get to question two.
Theo lives and works in the Blue Zone of Rainbow City. He is almost sixteen at which age he will begin four years conscription – military or mines. He wants neither. He hates his life and despises the cruelty, injustice and inequality that prevails. When the opportunity arises for Theo to be involved in the fight for change he grabs it, knowing that failure will cost him everything.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) Generally, I have an idea. I give it some thought. I start writing. And then, usually, it pours out of me like a broken pipe. That’s the way most of my books get written. On the Creative Writing MA courses I believe they call it ‘making it up as you go along’. That’s me. I think through my finger tips as I type.
I’m essentially a self-publisher. But I’ve always wanted to be traditionally published. I really believed The Prole Soldier was a book that was worth touting to literary agents. So I did. Three of them. And then I got fed up waiting three months not to hear back from anyone and decided to self-publish. Because life is too short and I could get killed by a bus next week and then no one would get to read my story.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) As the title of this novel suggests (I hope) the story is strongly influenced by George Orwell’s 1984. I read other books that encouraged me for this one: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. The Iron Heel by Jack London. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. There were also films, notably The Hunger Games trilogy. I was going through a phase. Actually, I’ve been rather susceptible to a good dystopian tale for as long as I can remember.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I cannot remember the title of a single book I read as a child/teenager. I did read but it’s all a blur. I can say that my earliest reading memories are of when I was a young man and devouring Wilbur Smith, Dick Francis, Desmond Bagley and others like them.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I can’t say that there has been one special experience about being a writer. But I consider that my greatest achievement as a writer involves The Prole Soldier. I had a real and well-known literary agent ask me for the full manuscript for the book after I’d submitted it for consideration. (Yes, one of them got back to me.) That was amazing. She wasn’t interested in taking it any further, which wasn’t so amazing. Apart from that, every time I hear from a reader who has enjoyed one or more of my books is a very special moment. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It’s a ray of sunshine in my day.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) Undoubtedly it’s my readers, most of whom I have never met. The encouragement and ongoing support I’ve received from a good many regulars has been touching and motivating and among the most rewarding aspects of being a writer. There are a number who have gone the extra distance in their support, but I shan’t mention any names for fear of embarrassing them and missing out others. If you’re reading this, you know who you are. My sincere thanks for everything.

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Oliver Tidy
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Author bio:
Crime writing author Oliver Tidy has had a life-long love affair with books. He dreams of one day writing something that he could find in a beautifully-jacketed hard-cover or paperback copy on a shelf in a book shop. He’d even be happy with something taking up space in the remainder bin, on a pavement, in the rain, outside The Works.

He found the time and opportunity to finally indulge his writing ambition after moving abroad to teach English as a foreign language to young learners eight years ago. Impatient for success and an income that would enable him to stay at home all day in his pyjamas he discovered self-publishing. He gave it go. By and large readers have been kind to him. Very kind. Kind enough that two years ago he was able to give up the day job and write full-time. Mostly in his pyjamas.

Oliver Tidy has fourteen books in three series, a couple of stand-alone novels and a couple of short story collections. All available through Amazon (clickable link to Am Author Page). Among his books are The Romney and Marsh Files (British police procedurals set in Dover) and the Booker & Cash novels, a series of private detective tales set in the south of England and published by Bloodhound Books. Oliver is back living on Romney Marsh in the UK. His home. He still wakes in the night from time to time shouting about seeing his books on a shelf in Waterstones

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