Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Neighbor's Secret - L. Alison Heller

Cottonwood Estates is the place you want to live and raise a family in. Good schools, low crime - and wonderful neighbors. That's the setting for L. Alison Heller's newest novel, The Neighbor's Secret. I love this premise - it provides a wide open palette for the author's imagination. 

The Cottonwood Book Club officially meets once a month, but they've got numerous email chains on the go, keeping a close eye on their neighborhood. The monthly book club email reminder is priceless - quite witty. I quite enjoyed them. (And truth be told - it's a club I would join in a heartbeat)

There's a slew of club members, but the book focuses on three of them. Lena is an older long time resident of Cottonwood. She has closeted herself in her home, but is convinced to join the club. There's an undisclosed secret in her past, one she skirts around. And that only whetted my appetite for finding out what it was. Annie too has a secret she's tucked away. But her focus is on her teenaged daughter Laurel - her behaviour has become worrisome over the last few months. And last is Jen. Her son Abe is troubled, more than she lets on or acknowledges. A vandal is now targeting Cottonwood and scandals are simmering. 

Short flashbacks from the past gives the reader more of an idea how the present has been impacted. Heller does a great job of eking out bits of the secrets, dropping hints and clues that left me thinking I had figured out Lena's past. I'm happy to say that I was not completely right about the final reveals. I'm always glad when I can't predict endings.

The suspense was not as high as I had expected going in. Yes, there is some, but the focus is more on the relationships between mothers and children, wives and husbands, friends and acquaintances. 

The Neighbor's Secret is a well written, slow burning tale that will ask you - how far would you go to protect the ones you love? See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Neighbor's Secret.


The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

This sounds interesting!

Luanne said...

I hope you get a chance to read it Many Thoughts!