Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinsky ****

The Woman Next Door is women's fiction, and the story is about 4 women neighbors. Three of the women are married and have been friends for several years. The 4th woman is recently widowed - she was the second (and much younger) wife of an older man - the 3 women had been friends with his first wife who died years before. They had never become friendly with her (Gretchen) although all 3 husbands had - they had each helped her out when she needed it.

The main couple is Amanda and Graham - I believe they are the youngest of the 3 married couples, and have only been married about 5 years. Graham came from a large Catholic family, and there was a lot of pressure on them to have children. They wanted children, but had not conceived, even with a year of infertility counseling and treatments.

Georgia runs her own company, and is out of town a lot. Lucky for her, her husband is a journalist who works from home and takes care of the kids. Karen is a SAHM with 4 kids - her husband is a womanizer and a past adulterer, supposedly reformed.

When they all discover Gretchen is 7 months pregnant - and no boyfriend around - each grapples with the insecurities of wondering if her husband was the one. Delinsky spends the most time with Amanda and Graham - not only are they dealing with their own disappointment with not conceiving, but there is enormous pressure from his family, especially his mother, to have children - as though they are slackers or aren't doing it right or something. Amanda is the school psychologist/counselor, and there's the issue of her working and allowing her work to be overtake family life, especially when a tragedy strikes at the school. The tragedy affects the children of the neighbors, and Amanda and Graham both deal with the fallout from that as well.

I've liked the Delinsky books I've read, although I was more in the mood for something a little lighter or maybe a little more about the couple and less about the conflicts of extended family (I wanted to smack Graham's mother...) - this one seemed to have more angst and conflict in it than Lake News and An Accidental Woman. 4 stars all the same.

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