Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

The perseverance paid off on this one… three attempts though.

The plot

Anna hasn’t been outside her flat for the last 10 months; she’s too terrified to. She has neglected life, she’s been forgotten by society, and her window is the only view of the world.

The world she knows gains some excitement – in the form of neighbours moving in opposite to her. The Russells – husband, wife and teenager – a picture perfect family.

One evening, a scream pierces through the silent night. Anna goes to her peephole to the world, to her neighbours. And as she looks out, she witnesses something horrific.

She needs to go get help. But she can’t go out. Even if she calls the Police, will they believe her?

My review

I have to be honest, this took me three attempts before I was enveloped into Dr Anna Fox’s world. This was my first, and my biggest, criticism of this novel. It’s also why I struggled to rate this novel come the end.

By the end I was like, “well written, decent story, nice twist (even if I did predict it on this occasion)“. But reflecting on my experience overall, it shouldn’t take three attempts to get into a novel. It was the amazing reviews this book had received which urged me to continue.

With a theme of film noir throughout the book, the plot itself screams Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ (which I believe Finn does on purpose), which is a cracking film. But equally, it feels as though this plot has been done many times before – Rear Window, Disturbia (the film, which was also inspired by Rear Window I believe), and now The Woman in the Window.

I would say that once the book FINALLY gets to the scream that’s when Finn’s writing really comes to life. You can sense a shift. I found myself reading faster and faster, trying not to jump ahead to find out what’s going on.

My next issue is around some clumsy writing and the repetition of a… let’s call it a phrase. Due to the repetition, it actually gave the twist away for me before it happened. I read the phrase once, then again, and again, and again AND AGAIN. It was at this point I turned to my wife and said, “I think I’ve guessed this book already.” It turns out I had. Actually, I didn’t even guess, I just picked up on the repetition of the ‘phrase’.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐

Ok, so this was a tough one. Originally I wanted to rate it 3.5-4. The beginning however let it down massively, which makes me think 2. I had settled on 3.5 (rounded up to 4 on Amazon), but I don’t think I can justify that rating unfortunately – not when other books much stronger I’ve rated 3.

So, in the end…

A bittersweet rating of 3 – I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this one!


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