The Woman Next Door: A Psychological Thriller With a Stunning Twist Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
I suppose everyone has their reasons for living here. Who knows what lies behind the pretty curtains and the well-groomed lawns of Mulberry Avenue?
Lucy has a kind and adoring husband, a job she loves as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue with floaty curtains and the softest bed linen. After her troubled childhood, she knows life will never be perfect, but it’s pretty close.
She’s also got Amber, right next door. They never run out of things to talk about. Even if Amber’s life - with her high-profile job and handsome, wealthy boyfriend - is more glamorous than Lucy’s, they share a down-to-earth sense of humor.
But then Amber starts to hint that her life isn’t all it seems, and when she comes to Lucy, terrified, saying that she’s getting threatening messages, Lucy promises to protect her.
The closer Lucy gets to anyone, the harder it’ll be to keep her past to herself. But Amber doesn’t have anyone else, and Lucy welcomes her into her home.
Lucy knows all too well that people aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes they have secrets. And they’d do anything to keep them. Yet when Amber settles in a little too quickly, Lucy’s still sure: she can trust her friend...can’t she?
Gripping and pause-resisting, All Her Secrets tells a story about the dark side of friendship and has a final twist that will shock every listener. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Friend Request, and Clare Mackintosh.
Reviewers love Sue Watson:
"Tense, atmospheric psychological thriller with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. Impeccably written and a big fat 5***** from me. Awesome!" (Number one best-selling author Angela Marsons)
"Gripping tension that builds and builds... I kept thinking I knew where she was going only to be knocked sideways... An absolute page turner of a read that sent my heart racing. Bravo to the new queen of psychological thrillers." (By the Letter Book Reviews, 5 stars)
"Most definitely a book that captures your imagination... A book that I literally did not put down." (Best Crime Books and More, 5 stars)
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 31 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 23, 2019|
|Publisher||Hachette UK - Bookouture|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #14,219 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#223 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#520 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,202 in Psychological Fiction (Books)
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2019
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Top reviews from the United States
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I have mixed feelings about this book. Other than the baby, I strongly disliked every single character ... even before I knew more. But that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, there are plenty of books I love with casts of vile characters. But this book, oof. Around the 35% mark, I nearly gave up on reading further. I didn’t think I could stomach yet another page of the hero worship of Amber (by Lucy). It just went on and on, round and round, same thoughts and actions .... Ms Watson beating us over the head with “Ok, so the backstory is that Lucy is obsessed with Amber and wants to protect her, see? See here? See some more?” Yes. After nearly half the book, I got it. And it was very annoyingly over the top. Lucy was ready and eager to sacrifice other friendships, her marriage, her job ... for some woman who had just moved into the neighborhood, acted weird, and was often rude. Ok, mmhmm, sure. I guess it had to do with Lucy’s childhood? I don’t know. We get a few flashbacks, but they really didn’t feel well-connected to the bizarre frothing over Amber, in my opinion.
I guessed many of the twists early on, but am not taking away because of it. It was still fun to see if I was right, and how it’d all play out. Ms Watson is very talented at tying up loose ends in most cases. Some were laughably cliched and very played out, though.
Many of the actions were so completely over-the-top, far-fetched, as to just make me roll my eyes. I know, this genre of books can and does play loose with reality, but sometimes it’s just too much silliness. I need to feel some sort of connection to the characters, to feel more immersed in the story, to be able to suspend my disbelief enough. I didn’t with this book. I just didn’t care about any of them in any way, so didn’t care what happened. I get very annoyed when we “meet” characters, who seem a certain way, but then inexplicably start behaving as if aliens took over their bodies. (That doesn’t apply to Amber. Her character was clear from the start.)
Three stars because it did keep me engrossed and wanting to finish, although I didn’t like the scorched earth ending. I wish I could expound on that, but it would give away major spoilers.
Overall, I feel that the story was disjointed with gratuitous and non-organic twists that seemed out of place in many of the circumstances, and a few backstories and red herrings that didn’t seem natural. But most of all, that the very extreme situations come on immediately, before we even get a chance to “know” the characters enough to care about them. We get pushed into the deep, roaring rapids of the thriller river, ready or not.
It’s certainly not the worst book, so sure, I can recommend it. At least it’s not another missing kid book with a pair of toddler shoes as cover art. But I thought I’d add a truly unbiased review, i e, from someone who actually purchased it and isn’t a member of The Cult of Netgalley, et al.
I felt unusually impatient and frustrated reading this story. It’s not so much that I couldn’t get into it, but I didn’t enjoy it. It was cringe worthy, in that the main character, Lucy, spent many of the chapters fawning over this annoying neighbor who treated her like dirt. Not one of the characters was even remotely likable, and the story spiraled into what I found to be a very frustrating situation. The author spends pages on worthless, high school dialogue about the stalker that reads something like this (my subjective interpretation):
“Amber, you’re being stalked.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes, you are.”
“No I’m not”
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but not much. It was too redundant for me to enjoy. I ended up skipping and skimming through most of the second half. Disappointed, because I really thought I would like it a lot more than I did.
I have read books by Sue Watson before and among the many volumes I have read over the years, her stories still stick in my mind. The previous books were unlike this one. They were chick lit. Soft and airy. Fun. Nothing like this book. This is hard core psychological stuff. Top rate.
Halfway through there was a question if there really was a stalker or Amber had been making it all up. I was rooting for a stalker because Amber was such a nasty woman. I wonder how such people get away with stuff like she did. I was rooting for the bad guy. Not her but the one after her.
When the tables turned and the surprise happened, I was like “what the?” “OMG! What a jerk.” I don’t want to give too much away because the unfolding of the story is where the fun of the story lies.
About three-fourths through the chapters changed from a mostly Lucy POV to an Amber POV. There was also what I assumed was the stalker POV thrown in here and there just to mix it up a bit.
I felt vindicated at the end but I wish Lucy would have done a bit more to make everyone know she wasn’t at fault. You know she isn’t the stalker going in so I am not spoiling anything. We see most of the story through her eyes. She had a somewhat obsession with Amber because she was there for her on the tv screen when she was a kid growing up and offering kind tidbits on the evening news. It’s too bad Amber turned out to be not what Lucy suspected she was.
You need to read this book if you like thrillers. I have already picked up the other thriller Watson has written since I liked this one so much. Wonderful stuff. My highest rating.
I reviewed this book under the ARC title: All Her Secrets
I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
Top reviews from other countries
Don't waste your time on this, I'd rather clean the oven.
There is an air of sinister goings on from very early on and that sense of trepidation certainly builds giving the book that air of ‘danger around the next corner’. However at the same time as the book unfolds it becomes one of those, which person do I believe here. There are multiple possibilities and as the book progressed I really didn’t know which way it would go. The last part of the book was absolutely brilliant and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Fundamentally there is zero wrong with this book because I think the readers are meant to dislike the characters but for me I always struggle if I dislike characters as I find I am just not that invested in finding out what happens to them. Thankfully the story pulled me in enough and and it was certainly worth it. Not my favourite of the two in this genre Sue has written but I will still be looking forward to the next release!
I'll start with the things I liked; it was an easy read. I suppose the plot twist was good, although I saw it coming from the moment the husband was mentioned as being "apathetic" towards the antagonist. Some of the prose was good, and the descriptions were in line with what you'd expect a suburban street to be like.
There are, however, far more I disliked about this book. I'm probably the same demographic as the lead characters - albeit with children, and slightly younger. However, the way the author wrote of Laura, the main character, was so terribly cliché and tired of it's genre. Why do so many authors have to write their main, mid life characters as if they were charactertures of the less fortunate members of that demographic? I'm so bored of hearing about the frizzy haired, pale, frumpy 40 something year olds down on their luck. And on the flipside, I'm so tired of reading how the character they are sparring with are glamorous amazonian players who set the whole world on fire. It's so tiresome and really reflects badly in a society that seeks to empower women.
The other major issue I had was just how unconvincing the author wrote Laura to be. I suppose the author had to really hammer home the idea that Laura was somehow obsessed with Amber to set up the idea that Laura was her stalker, but it was so poorly written and entirely embellished that I genuinely nearly gave up on the book after the first 20%. Why would Laura go to such efforts to try and please the unsufferable Amber was beyond me; she spent hours convincing Amber they were friends only to gossip behind her back, not to mention the lines and lines of passage that explored Laura's feelings about Amber and how her once reliable, faithful friend in Kirsty was relegated to the sidelines whilst she gazed pathetically toward the shallow, promisicous Amber. I'm a woman in the same age category as both Laura and Amber, and I'd be horrified if I ever behaved like a teenage girl fawning over a popstar. Both Laura and Amber's characters were just woefully written with the sterotypical "friends as enemies" narrative running alongside. I just couldn't suspend belief long enought to believe a woman would invite a unreliable, rude woman into her house full time and care for her child whilst navel gazing about how she was being rejected.
The author seemed to have problems with timing too, one minute the baby was a newborn, and the next minute Laura was weaning (albeit at 3 months, which is far, far too early) and finally the baby was a newborn again. One minute Laura and Amber were protected from contacting each other, and the next they were sitting around joking.
The plot twist that revealed the stalker was about as obvious as a freight train - again, the author went far too hard with trying to portray the character as nonplussed about their feelings toward Amber, and when it was revealed (all too quickly in my opinion, it went from 0-60 in 5 seconds) it fell flat for me. The ending was poor, and felt unsatisfying.
All in all, a disappointed book for me, and I just wanted to finish it to move onto something else.