What’s it about?
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?
Anna’s days are filled with playing chess, watching old black and white movies, advising people on a forum under her nickname TheDoctorIsIn, conversing in French with a practice partner, and… watching 5 of her neighbour’s houses through her window. The way she talks about them and knows EVERYTHING about their lives, down to the moles they’ve got on their back, the secrets they keep from each other, the routines they have and follow like clockwork, made it feel very stalkerish and quite creepy right from the start to be honest.
The story didn’t go all crazy and weird from here though which was what I was expecting with an intro like that, but instead it turned into a more mysterious read with more and more questions bubbling up as if trying to rise to the surface in a fizzy bottle of champagne, and the prolonged wait for answers lured me into having a sort of temporary addiction of my own to get to the bottom of it all. The agoraphobia Anna’s suffering from was quite intriguing and I don’t know if it is experienced that way but it felt very true to nature. Since I’m a little hermit myself, I could connect fairly well with Anna and it was easy to symphatize with her. I felt even more sympathy while the story progressed, and the more I found out about what had happened, the more I favoured her. The agoraphobia was definitely something that stood out in this story for me and presented a fascinating mystery because how does a successful child psychologist turn into such a recluse? The author kept the thrilling reasons unspoken for a long time but when he finally did, it changed the whole picture I had in my mind till that point.
The storyline wasn’t exactly high on tension in the beginning and some readers may even describe it as slow-paced, which I can understand and I’m subscribing the fact that it took its time before the dozens of questions that were raised, started to receive some answers. I wouldn’t have minded if it started a bit sooner but it didn’t bother me all that much because I was kept occupied with her behaviour and what she did or did not see. The thing is that she saw a crime that never took place according to the police. Nothing supports her case and she’s isolated once more. I really felt sorry for her. Once this point was reached, the story finally took a leap, it gripped me and wouldn’t let me go again. The focus is still a lot on Anna, I gradually learned much more about her character and was spoonfed information about her current state of mind, which turned out to be questionable to say the least. I was adamant from the very beginning that I believed her, that I know she saw something, but the more I learned about her, and the more her findings are countered with perfectly logical explanations, the more unsure I became myself what to believe anymore. I’m not one to leave my initial thoughts easily but there definitely was a seed of doubt planted, which only proved to me how amazing the story-telling was.
The story comes together gradually but still at enough of a pace to keep things intriguing and the tension definitely ramps up when nearing the end. I was very satisfied with the way the story was concluded so if you’re a patient reader, you might very well enjoy this psychological novel. I’m not convinced this will be the revelation of the year but I did enjoy reading The Woman in the Window.
I received a free copy of this novel through the Hebban Reader’s Club in exchange for my honest opinion.