4 Star Books · contemporary fiction · Literary Fiction

Book Review: The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

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The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

Published by Picador on February 7, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: contemporary fiction, literary fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: novels that give older people a true voice

Read with food: Early Grey tea with milk 

 

Synopsis:

Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility which they prune with a zeal that belies the fact that they are both over eighty.

But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping softens into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?

Review:

Rarely do I finish a book and not have something to say about it. However, I’m struggling to find the words to properly sum up this book. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. 

The Woman Next Door tells the tale of two older women who are neighbors, but have been enemies for a long time. Set in South Africa, the story has a long history of tension and struggle behind it. 

One woman loses her husband, falls, and requires in home care. Another’s house need renovations, and so the two end of temporarily living together. It is the perfect set up for drama and lots of it. However, the writing and the characters are subtle and much more mature than that. Through their current situations, we learn about their lives. The good, bad, difficult, and celebratory. 

The author does the characters justice and gives them a wonderful voice to share their perceptions and experiences. 

The one major downside is that in the paperback version the pages are thick and weirdly textured, which I found annoying. If I left my bookmark fully inside the book, it made it really hard to find. Not that big of a deal, but annoying after it kept happening. 

I definitely recommend this subtle but wonderful novel. 

 

How often do you not have too much to say about a book?

What do you do about it? 

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Cozy Mystery · mystery

Book Review: Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

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Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on May 29, 2018

Pages: 304

Genres: mystery, cozy mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: cozy mysteries, cats, the English language

Read with food: pancakes and maple syrup, watching the gorgeous autumn colors out a picturesque window 

 

Synopsis:

After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients–and realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago. Not with a murderer on the loose . . .

When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose. Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past. The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story . . .

Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes. Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts . . .

Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow. As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously–the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending . . .

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

The definition of a well done cozy mystery!

The story drew me in within the first chapter and entertained me the entire book. I especially enjoyed the main character, Mikki. The writing flows nicely, is easy to read, and draws the audience into the story. It’s obvious that the author is passionate about writing. I especially loved the education in grammar, the English language, and the writing process through Mikki’s job as a freelance editor. Such a wonderful addition to round out the book. Also, I appreciated that many of the characters were ages 50 plus. It’s a welcome addition to novels, as it’s not often done. 

The mystery that Mikki is working to solve is good, but not great. It drives the story along, but I enjoyed reading about her passion for writing more. 

In general, Crime and Punctuation is a wonderful cozy mystery that I would recommend to fans of the genre or those wanting to give it a go. From the “Feel the Bern” reference, which was awesome!, to the autumnal setting in a small town, Katilyn Dunnett had me thoroughly entertained throughout. 

Bonus points for a great cover! From far away it really does look like books lined up on a bookshelf.