Tuesday Treat: “The Girl Next Door” by Elizabeth Noble

"The Girl Next Door"

"The Girl Next Door"

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a big Elizabeth Noble fan – anything she writes, I read.  I stumbled upon her first book, “The Reading Group” when I lived in “THE OC” and my girlfriends and I had a “book club.”  In searching for a book for the group to read, my friend Tal and I stumbled upon “The Reading Group” and she made it her pick.  I devoured the book while on a trip to Hawaii with Jim and Tal and I discussed it at the next “book club” meeting.  We were the only ones who had read the book, but we were both happy at the find.  

The book club went down the path of only Tal and I reading the books, even ones others had picked and were, quite frankly, sometimes painful -“Eat, Pray, Love” comes to mind (yes, I know it was an international best seller and has inspired numerous blog titles, but she lost me right off the bat whining about her life and marriage while having an affair).  So while the book club quickly turned into the cocktails and dinner club, my addiction to Elizabeth Noble remains. 


I hesitate to call Elizabeth Noble’s books “chick lit” because she deals with heavy topics, death, premature birth, abortion, infidelity, single motherhood, to name a few.  But, her books also have all the elements that make us devour chick lit books.  Hmmm.  Genre suggestions? 

The Girl Next Door centers around a New York apartment building.  15 flats, 15 windows into the lives of the dwellers.  The story focuses on six women – three married, three unmarried – and four men, with a strong cast of supporting characters weaving in and out of their lives.  The timeframe is April through January.  It is amazing what Elizabeth Noble accomplishes in the span of 331 pages.  By peeking into her characters’ lives for a 9 month window we see Eve, an English expat, struggle to battle loneliness, find her place in a new city, and cope with her husband’s new workaholic life; Violet, an 82 year-old British expat, come out of her shell and embrace life once again by befriending the lonely Eve; Kim battle to save herself and her marriage; and several characters have their worlds turned upside down, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in the most heart-breaking ways.  In the end, there are some loose ends and some gift packaged ones, because, well, that’s how life is at any given moment. 

Elizabeth Noble’s true gift, however, is that in each of her books, no matter what your current lifestyle or background, there is always someone or something that will resonate with you.  I think that is what makes her books so addictive.

Elizabeth Noble’s new book, The Way We Were, comes out in May of this year.  I can’t wait.