The story of two young women living in an Islington house. Both single, they antagonize each other as neighbours. Both seem lonely in the congested metropolis that is London.
Suzie, our protagonist, complains to the Council about the anti-social behavior of her upstairs neighbour Emily. A short time later Emily goes missing…
From the start, I just knew that this would be an absorbing read. The protagonist, Suzie Arlington is a sad and lonely woman of thirty-five. She works ‘in marketing‘ and owns the ground floor flat of a house in Islington, London. She longs to return to her family home in Hove, Sussex. However, her attachment to the memories of her husband Ben, in the flat where she lives, override her longing for home.Still grieving the loss of her husband, she refuses to enter her bedroom since he left two years ago. She sleeps on the sofa, or in a chair in her living room. SHE IS NOT COPING! She isn’t looking after herself and she seems absolutely overwhelmed by the sensory overload that is London life. The noise, the smells, the light, the people. This is exacerbated by her upstairs neighbour Emily, who selfishly plays her music too loud, and generally seems to make as much noise as is physically possible. This in a house where sound travels effortlessly so that everything from opening drawers to going to the bathroom is clearly audible.
The book has a sad, but immensely creepy vibe. Sad because both women seemed so lonely, yet they were immersed in a highly populated urban center. They might have been friends if they could have looked past their differences. One needed quiet, the other needed noise to stave off her loneliness. Creepy because Suzie had an aura of ‘unreliable narrator‘ about her… For the first half of the book I was all the time wondering if she was a narrator that I could trust.
When I found out what happened to Emily at the end, I was surprised (though perhaps I shouldn’t have been?) Suzie’s story ended in a most satisfactory way.
The writing kept me engaged throughout the book. I could easily visualize the house, the flats, and the occupants. The setting was a major force in the narrative. With overriding themes of grief, loss, and loneliness, this book cast a lingering look at lives of single women in the big city.
This is a debut psychological thriller and one which I highly recommend. Georgina Lees is a talented author, and I plan to keep an eye out for her future titles.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from One More Chapter/HarperCollins UK via NetGalley.
Georgina Lees studied creative writing and film at university and has since pursued a career in video-games journalism, covering some of the most popular games in the world. Her psychological thrillers are inspired by her surroundings, from the congested London streets to the raw English countryside. She can be found playing games, writing stories, and reading anything from fantasy to crime fiction.
Follow Georgina Lees on Twitter @GLees_author