The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Meet Anna, a child psychologist who has spent nearly a year trapped inside her home due to her agoraphobia. Anna takes us through her typical daily routine of over-medicating, over-drinking, and spying on her neighbours. But, the reader quickly discovers that Anna isn't ready to give up, despite her sad and broken existence. This intelligent psychological thriller showcases how an unreliable narrator can take back her power and be her own hero in a community that has dismissed her.
The Woman in the Window opens on Anna, who has suffered from agoraphobia after a mysterious accident with her daughter and husband. Having spent nearly a year inside her house, Anna has settled into a life indoors. Her systems are set up for groceries delivery, pharmacy delivery, wine delivery and therapists that come to her. Her classic film collection and online communities keep her entertained throughout the day. But her main hobby is watching her neighbours through her camera lens. The new neighbours across the park become somewhat of an obsession for Anna when the son and mother knock on her door at different times. The only visitors Anna has had in a long time, she quickly connects with them. So, when she hears a scream from their house, Anna starts to worry about what is going on inside. The problem is, no one believes a drunk, highly medicated, agoraphobe. Eventually, it seems as though no one is quite who they say they are and anyone, including Anna herself, could be the cause of everything.
Watching is like nature photography: You don't interfere with the wildlife. - A.J. Finn, The Woman in the Window
I loved that Anna was both an unreliable narrator and a character that I completely trusted. Although there is some mystery around her family, it isn’t too hard to solve that problem early in the book, which left me with extra compassion for a woman clearly broken and somehow still managing to survive day by day. But, as the book progresses, I learned that Anna was more than just a survivor, she was truly a gutsy heroine in all senses of the term. She proved time and again how much determination, strength, and conviction she had to support, protect, and save herself and those she cared for. Anna was a character I would want on my side.
If you are looking for a complex, compassionate, powerhouse of a character, and a plot that will keep you on your toes from start to end, I highly recommend this book. Like Ruth Ware’s novels, this isn’t a "keep the lights on all night" thriller, but it gets inside your head, a puzzle that needs to be solved before you reach the end.
The Gutsy Heroine Book Shelf is a series of reviews of some of my favourite books featuring gutsy heroines - courageous characters who identify as female and become the heroes in their own stories.