HarperCollins | January 2018 | 448 pgs
Source: Purchased

The Woman in the Window has been all over the blogosphere lately and it was hard to ignore giving all the hype surrounding it. I dived into this book blind and with high expectations, after all a few of my favourite authors have praised this book fervently. And most of all, it has an unreliable narrator who is an alcoholic and has a few issues (which sounds right up my alley.)

Dr Anna Fox's profession is a child psychologist. She is also an agoraphobiac who is depressed and traumatised by a past event. She is separated from her husband but she does communicate with him and their young daughter from time to time. Living alone and housebound (though she has a tenant who lives in the basement), she finds solace and entertainment through the Internet, giving online advice to a few people like her, binge watching her favourite black and white Hitchcockian films, and watching her neighbours through her camera. All seems to be well until the Russells move in.

The Russells consist of three members: Alistair, Jane and their seventeen-year-old son, Ethan. Anna is fascinated by her new neighbour; they remind her a bit of her happier days with her family and the life she used to have. One day, Ethan drops by Anna's house to pass her a gift, saying it is from his mother. Subsequently, Anna gets to meet Jane and they hit it off well, sharing drinks and playing chess at Anna's house until one evening she witnessed something horrifying to Jane through her camera.

However, when the police comes and the interrogation begins, no one seems to believe Anna given her history of depression and her bout of drinks and medications. And when Alistair brings Jane along for the police interview, Anna is shocked to find a stranger instead. Is she delusional all along? Has she imagine someone to find that she doesn't exist at all and that it's all in her head?

If you are a fan of psychological thrillers and unreliable narrators, Anna wouldn't be a stranger to you. Like the other unreliable characters of the same genre, they are most often annoying and some even seem unlikeable, yet they intrigue you in a way and you couldn't help but to be invested in their story, no matter what kind of a person they are and/or the issues they are dealing with. This is the beauty of unreliable narrators and the essence of psychological suspense because they just suck you in. Anna was an interesting character but I have to say I have mixed feelings about her though. On one hand I felt sorry for her and the bad things she'd gone through yet on the other hand, I was perplexed over her bad decisions and wondered why she did this and that, without much explanations given. 

While The Woman in the Window was suspenseful, there were also some slow moments, too. Anna's behaviours might also put off to some; for she drank too much and occasionally mixing her drinks with her medications. This plus what she did in her house as well as her wandering thoughts took up much of the first part of the story but I suppose it was for the buildup of intensity and to give readers some doubts about Anna's credibility. Despite the bits of dragging, the progress of the story was smooth and it allows a fast and easy reading with the short chapters.

As for the twists and turns, there was the first one which I felt has been used before but even though I was surprised by the ending, it wasn't shocking to an extent that left me speechless (I blame it on my high expectations and the anticipation of something different which would knock my socks off.) That said, it was still a good read though, and I'd be interested to watch the film adaption once it is released.

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17 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I have had high expectations for this one as well, but now, perhaps, not quite so high. Still want to read it, but have but not as urgently. May be the same with The Chalk Man, which I read months ago and enjoyed, but seeing some of the expectations set with some of the reviews--I wonder if I would have liked it as well if I'd read some of the reviews first.

  2. Kay Says:

    I'm planning on reading this, but your review makes me think of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. I liked it, but got so frustrated with the main character. I do like the Hitchcock connection though.

  3. Jenny Says:

    I’ve seen tons of praise for this one too. I’ll have to remember that the ending isn’t going to blow me away and then I might like it better.

  4. Lark Says:

    I like the Hitchcock connection, too; Rear Window is one of my favorite movies and the plot of this book sounds very similar. :)

  5. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Totally hear you there on the high expectations. The Chalk Man is on my to-read list and I hope I'll enjoy it given the hype.

  6. Melody Says:

    Kay - Yes, it does have the vibes of The Girl on the Train, as well as Rear Window. I didn't really enjoy the film adaptation of TGOTT though and I hope this one will be a good one.

  7. Melody Says:

    Jenny - There're some readers who are blown away by the ending so I suppose it's an individual thing. I hope you'll enjoy it and I'll be curious to hear what you'll think of it.

  8. Melody Says:

    Lark - I haven't watched Rear Window and now I'm curious about it. :)

  9. Lark Says:

    Definitely check it out. (Rear Window) It's a classic with both Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in it. :)

  10. Iliana Says:

    I feel like the unreliable narrator is becoming the go-to for these types of thrillers but as long as it's a well told story and it tries to do something different then I'm all up for checking it out. Great review Melody!

  11. Nina Says:

    I just watched a youtuber who bought the book! The premise sounds super interesting. I didn't know that this was going to be a movie, now I really can't wait to get it.

  12. The Bookworm Says:

    I keep seeing The Woman in the Window all over, I like this cover better. It sounds like a good one even if it dragged at parts. It kind of reminds me of The Girl on the Train, which I enjoyed. Great review!

  13. Melody Says:

    Lark - :) Thanks, Lark!

  14. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, unreliable narrators seem to be the trend when psychological thrillers are concerned but I don't mind them as long as they are well written. :)

  15. Melody Says:

    Nina - I understand that Fox has brought the rights for the film adaptation. I hope it'll be a good one.

  16. Melody Says:

    Naida - It does reminds me bits of The Girl on the Train - character-wise. I hope this film adaptation will be better than TGOTT.

  17. I really enjoyed this one, and had a hard time putting it down. It definitely had a familiar vibe in terms of the unreliable narrator--not to mention the drinking. I loved the tie-in to Hitchcock's Rear Window.

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