Book 15 of 2017
I just finished Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door, and I’m still debating how I feel about it. The story is about a couple, Marco and Anne, who live in an upper middle class neighborhood. The couple leaves their six month old daughter, Cora, asleep in her crib as they attend a dinner party at their next door neighbors. They bring the baby monitor with them, and take turns checking on their baby girl every half an hour. When Marco and Anne arrive home at 1:30 AM, their daughter isn’t there. (Side note: as a relatively new mother, this was horrifying to read about!)
The first half of the novel kept me in suspense. I was eager to find out how the baby was removed from the house, and hoped that she was still alive. Half way through the novel, however, the reader is given some key insights as to who the key player was involved in the kidnapping. I was shocked to have learned who this player was so early on, and I found that I was less interested in the second half of the book because of this turn of events.
Don’t get me wrong, I still found the rest of the story enticing. I was intrigued to find out how all the pieces fit together in the end, and how Anne’s mental detachment diagnosis would play out in the story, if at all. There were elements (like the tie-in with Anne and Marco’s neighbors, and some of the other characters in the story) that I felt were a little forced; it was as though the author was trying hard to bring everything full circle.
I finished the book in two days, and consider it a fast-paced, entertaining read for me despite its issues. Was it a little overly detailed, and a little force-fit? Yes. Overall, did I enjoy it? Yes. Most importantly, was it less annoying than The Girl on the Train? YES.
As my readers know, I don’t give spoilers in my reviews without warning, so here is your warning: If you haven’t read The Couple Next Door, don’t read any further!
I get the allure of a cliffhanger ending in stories sometimes, but COME ON. The poor woman (although I am not keen on her slapping her own baby around, that’s for sure) just got her baby back! I understand that Anne’s illness helped the story come full circle at the end, but I when I finished the story, I couldn’t help it: I scoffed.
What are your thoughts on the ending of The Couple Next Door? Drop me a line with your thoughts!