Sunday, 13 August 2017

Book Review: The Woman At Number 24 by Juliet Ashton

A Georgian villa in Notting Hill. A mixed bunch of residents. A houseful of stories. Sarah lives on the floor above her ex-husband and his new wife. She is supposedly renovating their apartment, in order to sell and split the proceeds. In reality, she is in denial and struggling to move on. When Tom and Jane move in to number 24, the atmosphere rises a notch and the residents are soon enamored with the enigmatic young couple. 

Tom is an instant hit with Sarah, showing his gentle nature in his approach to the youngest resident of the house. (Una is a timid little girl, who is damaged by her parents separation and refuses to speak). Meanwhile, in the basement flat, lives Mavis. An elderly, cranky lady who is a law unto herself. All the residents begin to open their doors, albeit tentatively,  and as the summer progresses, new friendships form and the building finds a new lease of life. There are secret liaisons; hidden truths; unspoken words; hedgehog rescues...

Opening up with Sarah attending the wedding of her ex-husband, the tensions within the walls of number 24 become apparent. A child psychologist,  she is dragged down with a sense of unworthiness and is uncertain of her future. She has lost a husband, a friend and her joie de vivre.  Una is a child that lingers on the edge of the story, with her sad eyes and solitary stress. Tom is the handsome neighbour who adds some sparkle to the tale, but surprising the reader along the way. Jane takes Sarah under her wing and the two form a firm friendship. Leo (Sarah's ex) is smarmy and repugnant, with his new wife, Helena, rubbing salt in Sarah's newly opened wounds. Mavis is an eccentric character and she saves the book from becoming  run-of-the-mill. She is sarcastic, quirky and her unusual personality unfolds gradually.

The house is brought to life, page by page, and the interlinking stories are all told from Sarah's point of view. A warm and genuine read, slowly paced but with plenty to keep the reader entertained. (Mikey the hedgehog deserves his own picture book).

Well worth adding to your wishlist, The Woman At Number 24 is ideal for escaping the madness of your own household; the daily commute; the pile of ironing. Peeking into the lives of others, without having to leave the house...

**I received a copy of this title, from the publisher, in return for an honest review.**

The Woman At Number 24 is published by Simon and Schuster and is available in PB and ebook format. You can order your copy, with Free Worldwide Delivery, HERE. The ebook is available via amazon link below:

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