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In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking?Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is “a chilling page-turner” (People) a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life.
How much can you really know about the woman next door?
Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company—until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.
Her neighbor, Jennifer Young, is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son, Milo, have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.
In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion for her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. She thinks if she says the right thing, tells the right story, Jennifer will open up, but Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own…
From the critically acclaimed author of The History of Us and The Myth of You and Me, The New Neighbor explores the secrets that bind people together and drive them apart.
About the Author
Leah Stewart is the critically acclaimed author of The History of Us, Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, and Body of a Girl. The recipient of a Sachs Fund Prize and a NEA Literature Fellowship, she teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Cincinnati and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two children. Visit her online at LeahStewart.com.
“In simple, elegant language, Leah Stewart draws us to a little pond hidden away in the mountains of Tennessee…[and] never relaxes her tight focus on these complex characters.”—New York Times Book Review
“A chilling page-turner.”—People (People Picks)
“After only a few pages into Leah Stewart's The New Neighbor, the shrewd sharp voice of one of its main characters kept me reading.”
"One of the protagonists of Leah Stewart's new novel, The New Neighbor, reads mystery novels, and only mystery novels, but she is a snob about them: she only wants to read the best. Well, she would love, love, love The New Neighbor, which is as tense and as tough-minded and as ingeniously structured as our best mystery novels, and our best literary novels, too. A major new book by one of our most psychologically astute writers." — Brock Clarke, author of The Happiest People in the World
“Leah Stewart skillfully captures conversational nuance and family alienation.”—The Charlotte Observer
“Readers who like an unhurried pace, an element of mystery, and plenty of symbolism will be satisfied as Stewart brings her tale to a surprising conclusion.”—Library Journal
“A quiet standout…[Stewart] choreographs a near-perfect perfect psychological dance here, her Jennifer and Margaret pulsing with life and her storyline, a la ‘Rear Window,’ keeps us guessing to the end.”--Buffalo News
“The writing is beautiful, and [Leah Stewart] does an impressive job of giving the reader a sense of place.”--Mystery Scene
“Stewart deftly writes about the nuances of friendship and motherhood, as well as the past’s unpleasant ability to take over the present.”--BookPage
“A promising exploration of the secrets we all carry and our refusal to forgive ourselves.”
“Stewart's prose is remarkable for its well-shaped sentences and nonshowy but sharp observations. Quietly incisive.”
"Keenly engrossing and multilayered, this mystery and literary-fiction hybrid will elicit rich book-group discussions."
“Two women—a snoopy old lady and a young mom with a mysterious past who moves in nearby—discover each other’s dark secrets.” –Good Housekeeping (“Thrills and Chills”)
“A truly fine absorbing novel; the finest new novel this reader has discovered so far this season. Highly, highly recommended.”—Hudson Valley News
“Intellectual intrigue . . . Stewart also offers the thrill of sharp realism that has characterized her previous novels. She's skilled at creating characters who are all too recognizable in their foibles and desires; she dissects the way ordinary, flawed people think of one another and their social spheres — the silent preferences and judgments that accompany any interaction."—Knoxville News Sentinel