Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Neighbors

The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon
MIRA Books: 3/13/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
paperback ISBN-13: 9780778311003

The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon is an exploration of marital relationships and domestic drama.

Abby is responsible for the car crash in 1992 that killed her beloved brother, something for which she can't forgive herself (and neither can her mother). After the accident she rebuff the affection of Liam, her boyfriend and true love, and broke up with him because she knew he would soon hate her as much as she hated herself too. It is now twenty years later and Abby is married to Nate. Nate pulled her to safety the night of the accident, but was unable to save her brother before the car burst into flames.  It is their shared guilt that binds them together, as well as their daughter Sarah. It is clear that Nate is much more committed to their relationship than Abby.

Now a new couple has moved next door and much to Abby's shock it is Liam, his wife Nancy, and their son Zac. When Liam doesn't admit to knowing Abby, Abby follows suit. Their unrevealed past results in more complications. The attraction between the two is still evident, although Abby pretends to dislike their new neighbors. She also is desperate to keep Sarah and Zac apart. Adding to the complications is Nancy's flirting and secret agenda regarding Nate.

Get ready for a melodrama of daytime serial magnitude in The Neighbors. The narrative jumps back and forth in time and between the different voices of the characters which serves to showcase the background of the characters and their current thoughts. There is a plethora of entanglements and scheming. Expect an abundance of secrets, hidden history, and duplicitous plans going on behind the scenes. It all becomes a rather entangled mess.

The writing is good and moves the plot forward, albeit rather slowly at the beginning while the various complications and deceit between the characters is being set up. And there is a whole lot to set up...  While many reviewers seemed to enjoy The Neighbors, I had two looming problems with it: the sheer predictability of the plot and the uninspired ending. I knew what the twists would be almost immediately. I continued reading simply to see when they would be revealed - and if I was correct (I was). It took a long time to get there, though. The Neighbors is a good novel; however, it isn't quite to my preferred inclination in fiction.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books.

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