Thursday, May 3, 2018

Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Joanne Serling's Good Neighbors.

Nicole and Jay, Nela and Drew, Lorraine, and Paige and Gene, they were friends of circumstance - neighbors in the same cul de sac with children all around the same age. Friendship became something of a convenience if not a necessity. Holiday get togethers, play dates, lunches, neighborhood gossip and parenting advice... 

But then Paige and Gene announce they're adopting a little girl from Russia. Winnie. Nicole is smitten by the girl. Her stilted English and her charming smile are enough to win over anyone. But soon the neighbors begin to think that all is not right in Paige and Gene's home. That Winnie may not be treated as well as she should. As suspicion grows, the once tight friendship that brought them all together begins to weather and crack. Relationships are tested and secrets run rampant as time goes by. But are their suspicions founded or are they simply not attuned to the real lives their neighbors are living?

What a dark little book this is! It's like a round robin of gossip, the danger of which lies in the fact that the couple at the center of all the attention doesn't get to tell their own side of the story.

Nicole is our all knowing (not really all knowing) narrator. She lives next door to Paige and Gene and has been, as we learn from the start, something of a defender for Paige with the rest of the neighbors. Paige is bossy and controlling, evidenced by the fact that the other neighbors are unhappy about her buying a tasteless group gift for the neighborhood children at their leftover party. But Nicole believes Paige's heart is in the right place.

That is until Winnie arrives. Quiet and barely able to speak English, at first it seems the adopted orphan is simply in need of time for adjustment. But Paige's behavior begins to become strange and erratic as well. As Nicole, Lorraine, and Nela watch over, they begin to wonder if everything is ok at Paige's house.

Paige tries to explain, but to Nicole especially the explanations seem to be no more than excuses meant to placate the worried neighbors. And Nicole has spent time with Winnie, so stories of her bad behavior definitely don't seem to ring true.

Of course the other neighbors feed off of one another as they each relay stories back and forth about strange things witnessed in Paige's home, phone calls with Paige, awkward lunches with her and the rest of her family...

I thought Serling perfectly captured the feel and reality of suburbia. I recall as a kid having very close neighbors and neighborhood get togethers, but that once upon a time closeness of my first few years changed when we moved to a new neighborhood. Since then, it seems that kind of closeness has dried up quite a bit. I barely know my neighbors these days!

Like I said, Good Neighbors is a bit of a dark book. And it's a quick read. One that absolutely leaves you wondering what you'd do in Nicole's situation!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Joanne Serling and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Dark indeed! The gossipy feeling really oozes from this one!

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Dianna said...

Looking for this one at our library. Have heard lots of good things about it!