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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

The Woman Outside My Door, Rachel Ryan: A Review

4.5 Stars

This cover caught my eye immediately; and I'll admit, I'm a sucker for any tale set in Dublin, so I was thrilled to be approved for this title and quickly dove in. 

Mourning the death of her mother, Georgina is distraught when her seven year old son Cody tells her about New Granny, a woman he claims to have seen in the park who gives him candy. In the midst of her emotional processing, she begins to question whether or not New Granny is just a coping mechanism or is a real person--and if she's real, what does it mean? When things at home become tense, Georgina decides she has to learn the truth, one way or another. 

I really enjoyed this book. Georgina is a refreshingly honest maternal character. In a genre full of Stepford Wives, negligent/absent mothers, or suburban perfection, Georgina is authentically normal. She struggles with balancing her home life and career. She's not a sex goddess who has the bedroom routine on lock. She's a working mother trying to get her teaching degree while devoting time to her son and her husband. In this, I think a lot of readers will be able to relate, because she doesn't come off as some unattainable woman who will outsmart the mystery using guile and quick wit. I appreciated her methodical approach to New Granny and the problems within her own marriage. 

I also think it's important she recognized her postpartum psychosis. I love that we're starting to see pregnancy and birth and new motherhood in portrayals other than glowing adoration. There's more to this than sleepless nights, and I thought introducing her mental status following the birth of her son gave Georgina's character depth. However, I would've liked to have seen it as more than a plot device to cast doubt on her reliability. To me, there was enough suspense on its own that there wasn't a need to introduce her seven year old, diagnosed postpartum as a possible cause of New Granny.

And while the plot is fast-paced, I had to suspend some disbelief at times. Characters choosing every other option beside the one glaring correct option is a personal irritation, and a few times I felt the problems could've been solved with real communication rather than lying to propel the plot to the next level. I would've liked to see the narrative a little tighter, but the questions and doubt I had didn't detract from my reading. I devoured this in a single sitting, so make no mistake, it's riveting as is. 

Overall, The Woman Outside My Door is a gripping debut with a wonderful blend of purpose and entertainment. I'd recommend to fans of Mary Kubica or JT Ellison or anyone who loves a good psychological suspense.

Big thanks to Gallery and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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