Published by William Morrow on January 2, 2018
Source: the publisher
Buy from Amazon|Buy from Barnes & Noble|Buy from Book Depository
Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times--and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I had the most fun reading this story! The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn was easily my most anticipated mystery-suspense-thriller book this season, so when it arrived in my mailbox: I squealed.
Anna Fox is the book’s main character. She is so well-crafted as a character. As we meet her, we learn that she has agoraphobia and that she has an affinity for peeping at her neighbors. She watches their lives through her windows and through the windows of their homes. Anna loves classic noir films, finding comfort in being able to quote the lines of the movies that she has seen over and over. She also drinks a lot of wine, which is actually a problem because it doesn’t exactly mix with her psychiatric medicines.
I feel comfortable saying that Anna is a bit of a mess.
Just as the summary says, Anna witness something horrible through the window. When she alerts the authorities, nobody believes her, citing her agoraphobia and alcohol-medicine interaction as an issue with her credibility. But Anna KNOWS what she saw.
She thinks she knows what she saw.
Wait. Maybe she saw it in one of her movies? No, that can’t be right – she saw it. She’s definitely sure.
I’ve seen this book compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, and okay. I really don’t like comparisons but I do think that the Paula Hawkins comparison is fair. But The Woman In The Window is better. It’s not only in the details that the author wrote into the story, but it is in Anna Fox herself. Here are a few reasons why I loved the book so much:
- The use of the classic thriller movies adds a dark, creepy background to the entire book. These movies also serve to make questioning what Anna saw much easier. I know it sounds simple – woohoo, Anna likes classic movies! – but the way these movies are used is really fun and added depth to the plot.
- I love Anna. I feel so much for her. Yes, she has a wine and pill problem. But she is also a mother and a career woman. She has strength, I think, because she identifies issues and seeks answers. She tries not to rely on other people to do everything for her. She has vulnerabilities (don’t we all?) and there are some real limitations because of her agoraphobia, but I think Anna moves around within her diagnosis as well as she can.
- Anna is such an unreliable narrator, and the use of her POV worked tremendously well here. So, so good! Being able to be inside of her head as she is thinking and speaking allows us see exactly how small her world is. We get to watch her be certain, and then begin to question herself as those around her see her as delusional, even when she insists that she is not.
- The use of gaslighting in this book is fantastic. Do not mistake me: I hate gaslighting. But goodness gracious, it’s so well done in this book – especially as we read from Anna’s POV – that it almost made me feel like I was not credible myself.
- The short chapters moved the plot quickly. I love this for too many reasons to list.
I can imagine that if people have a complaint about this book, it would be about Anna’s wine consumption or maybe the feeling that she is similar to the female characters in other suspense books. I think she stands out, though. She is different. I would urge readers to give this book a try and to give Anna a chance to show that she isn’t like the others, and to let Anna tell her story.
Overall, The Woman In The Window was such a fun read. It wasn’t super gritty or gory like some of the crime-thrillers that I enjoy reading, and there wasn’t a lot of sex in there. What this is is a tightly-written, fast-paced book and I’m so, so excited to have gotten the chance to read it.