Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Audiobook Review: Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

From Amazon.com:
Noble charts the intertwining lives of the residents of a New York City apartment building in her charming love letter to Manhattan. After banker Ed Gallagher's promotion necessitates a move from the U.K. to New York, he and his wife, Eve, are thrilled to find the perfect Upper East Side apartment, though Eve struggles to meet people until she befriends Violet Wallace, an 82-year-old fellow Englishwoman in her building who enchants her with the story of her path to Manhattan. Elsewhere in the building, shiftless trust fund baby Jackson Grayling III has fallen in love with Emily Mikanowski, a stunner living downstairs, while Emily's downstairs neighbor and friend, frumpy librarian Charlotte, works up the nerve to speak to Che, the Cuban doorman. And on the sixth floor, the Kramers and Schulmans, married couples with young children, struggle with two sets of very different marital problems.

My Thoughts:
As the resident of a Manhattan apartment building, the concept of a building in which everyone knows each other and romances bud between residents is appealing, however unrealistic it may be!  I have lived in my current building for 5 years and I know about 3 people well enough to greet them when I see them in the elevator but that is it! There are times the anonymity of apartment living really appeals but I harbor a secret wish that the building would be like Melrose Place or  Friends with everyone stopping by each others places for a chat and cup of coffee.  In The Girl Next Door: A Novel, Noble creates a community in which its members share more than just romance - they share their fears and look for antidotes to their loneliness. 

As she did in The Reading Group (review here), Noble presents an ensemble cast of characters each with different personal struggles.  The group is led, however, by Eve whose husband's job has recently moved the couple from the UK to the US.  As Eve struggles to fit in to NY society, she meets Violet, an elderly Englishwoman who has lived in the building for many years.  We learn about Violet's story as she guides Eve through the trials and tribulations of adjusting to a new home and a new city.  Eve, her husband Ed and Violet's storyline was my favorite while that of Charlotte was my least favorite.  Charlotte is a quiet homely sort who quietly suffers through her lack of a social life while pining away for Che, the doorman.  Her storyline seemed trite and unrealistic.  All the storylines are connected in some way even if just by the fact that the characters live in the same building.


As we all know, narration can make or break an audiobook and Lorelei King certainly makes this one!  An ensemble cast can be challenging in audio with a single narrator but Lorelei King did a fabulous job of changing accents and tone for the characters so that I recognized who was speaking immediately.  If not for that, I would have been lost with so many characters coming in and out on the audio.  I will definitely look for more audiobooks narrated by Lorelei King.

I quite enjoyed this story by audiobook (and probably would have in print as well) and recommend it to those looking for a light, if unrealistic, peek into apartment living in the city!


  1. I will be honest, I have always imagine city living to resemble Friends with everyone close to all in the building so I am crushed that you say it is different! :) This book sounds really good.

  2. Sometimes light and unrealistic is exactly what I'm looking for in an audiobook. This sounds good!

  3. this one was kind of fun, although not what I'd normally read. Glad u liked it as well.

  4. I still haven't really enjoyed audiobooks. I normally get really tired, or I get sidetracked. I like the sound of this book, it sounds original and interesting. I do agree, in my building I know a few people. We're not knocking on each others door for a cup of sugar...

    Happy Reading!

  5. This certainly sounds like a fun one to me! I seem to like audiobooks with only one narrator that does the different voices. I know it seems strange but for some reason that is less confusing to me!

  6. I have really come to enjoy audiobooks now that i've moved into a new townhome and i must walk my dog rather than let him out in the backyard...AND i love Elizabeth Noble's books so I may just have to check this one out on audio - thanks for the great review!