My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Woman Next Door is a woman's book. I glanced through pages of reviews on Goodreads and found only one other man who had reviewed it. The book covers a number of problems in suburbia that surround a threesome of friends, Amanda, Karen, and Georgia, who try to help each other but also spend a great deal of time gossiping. The group of friends include the women's husbands and used to include another couple, Ben and June. June died, Ben remarried a younger woman, Gretchen, and then also died. So this suburban circle has been left to deal with a young, attractive widow who doesn't make an obvious effort to reach out to them, but does call on their husbands for help around her house. The situation is complicated when the widow becomes pregnant and the women realize too much time has passed for the baby to be Ben's.
The plot of this book revolves around family issues from problems conceiving to problems dealing with teenage angst, with trust and jealousy issues along the way. Amanda is a school counselor and also the woman who is trying to have a baby. Her husband, Graham, comes from a close knit family and that family isn't very supportive of Amanda. So there are problems there as well.
The major characters are well developed, especially the women. They have their flaws, but also qualities such as strength and loyalty. I think more men should read books such as this. The issues belong to both genders, but the perspective is different. I think it's important to understand that. I plan to read other books by Barbara Delinsky.
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