The Woman in the Window
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times...and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems. #IknowwhatIsaw
Author: A.J. Finn
"Watching is like nature photography: You don’t interfere with the wildlife."
This book was not what I had expected; it was no Girl on the Train. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more than cliffhangers and suspense; this is a thriller/mystery that also deals with the poignant topics of PTSD, mental illness, alcoholism, loneliness, grief, and more. I chose it as my Book of the Month February selection, and I don't regret it!
Anna Fox was a successful child psychologist with a small, happy family until a terrible ordeal caused her to have to abandon her career—her life—and heal, both physically and mentally. She stays locked in her home in Harlem, alone, passing the time by playing online chess, watching old films, drinking a ton of wine, and using her camera to keep up with her neighbors' lives. She knows (or, in some cases, pretends she knows) all of them, but when a new family moves in across the park, she becomes particularly attached to them. It's strange and a bit unhealthy, as you might imagine.
Then one day, when she is particularly intoxicated and overly medicated, she witnesses violence in that house. But the next day, there's no evidence to be found, and no one believes her. She is determined to get to the truth of the matter, but her inability to leave her home makes that hard. As we progress through the story, we begin to question everything we'd assumed from page one.
"Some nights I haunt her room like a ghost. Some days I stand in the doorway, watch the slow traffic of dust motes in the sun. Some weeks I don't visit the fourth floor at all, and it starts to melt into memory, like the feel of rain on my skin."
The Woman in the Window isn't one of those thrillers that get your heart thumping wildly every other page, but it does move along nicely and present mystery after mystery after mystery. Uncovering more about Anna and how she got to her current situation is just as gripping as the mystery across the street. Her obsession with old films helps to emphasize the confusion between what is real and what is not. And about 75% of the way in, there was a plot twist that walloped me; it was masterfully done, truly.
Anna is likable as well as pitiable. Her morals are definitely in the right place—at least at the time the story occurs—even if her execution misses the mark. But she becomes ten times more intriguing after the plot twist. Many times, she questions her own perception of reality, but as the audience, we think we know what's going on. Heh—yeah, right.
All in all, a good story and a safe choice for a book you'll enjoy.