I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Published by William Morrow on January 2nd 2018
Source: Audiobook provided by Libro.fm
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?
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, exercising (what? It happens!), cooking and playing semi-mindless games on my phone.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Technically The Woman in the Window was my first read of 2018, but it’s not the first book I finished (that honor went to Anatomy of a Miracle, which I had started back in 2017, and then a quick graphic novel read of Neil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, which I read in one sitting on the 3rd). But it still has the distinction of being my first thriller of 2018 and my first audiobook of the new year.
And it was thrilling! Anna Fox has agoraphobia, and is homebound. Obsessed with old movies, especially of the Hitchcockian variety, and mixing her powerful meds with enough wine to make Cersei Lannister look like a teetotaler, Anna also spies on her neighbors, watching their lives unfold as a way to cope with her own non-life. She plays online chess, chats with other agoraphobics- doling out great advice that she can’t apply to herself, and chugging wine.
Did I mention the wine drinking? Because Anna is thirsty, ya’ll.
Before the incident that left her unable to go outside, Anna was a successful child psychologist with a loving husband and an adorable daughter. Now she’s alone in a large NYC house, the only people she interacts with is her physical therapist, her own shrink, and her mysterious, taciturn basement tenet. Separated, Anna still talks to her husband and daughter, although this only seems to punctuate how different her life is now.
New neighbors, the Russels, move in across the way and soon Anna is drawn into a drama that might just be of her own making. Or at the very least, it could be the Merlot she guzzles by the gallon, mixing poorly with her anti-psychotics.
I’m not judging or anything, but I cringe for the crew that has to haul her recyclables away.
Or maybe she’s being gaslighted like Ingrid Bergman in the movie Gaslight?
I really enjoyed the twists and reveals. Anna was easy to relate to because we spend so much time in her head. The care she shows for her online community, the reasons for her agoraphobia, her concern for Ethan, all of this had me rooting for Anna to, well, first put down the wine glass and brush the snarls from her hair, and then prove that she wasn’t a raving lunatic (especially to that female cop who was all Judgey McJudgerson- we’re the only ones allowed to judge Anna’s excessive drinking!). And the fact that Anna references so many great movies is a definite plus in my book.
You know an audiobook is good when you purposely do household chores just so you can binge listen to the last 2 hours of it. Meal prep and unloading and reloading the dishwasher has never been such an edge-of-your-seat kind of evening before!
And I’ll admit, there were times when this book had me feeling pretty emotional. Anna reminded me a bit of Sigourney Weaver’s role in Copy Cat, but the plot was more Rear Window. Definitely recommending this one if you’re in the market for a good thriller by a new author.
Ann Marie Lee narrates, and is once again perfect. I’ve listened to her read books by Gillian Flynn and Lisa Gardner, and the woman knows how to deliver the thrills and chills!