Welcome to my very first book review. I’m going to be completely honest, I was never going to say I didn’t like this book. Andrea Mara is a blogger at Office Mum and has now become a fiction writer. I mean that’s goals right there- and I would never stockpile bad karma by writing negatively about someone who’s footsteps I hope to follow.
On the flip side, however, I’m unable to lie (it was never a talent of mine) and I also believe bad karma would follow a dishonest review. For this reason I made the decision before I even started this book that if I didn’t like it I simply wouldn’t review it. No harm, no foul.
If you’re a right clever clogs altogether you may already be able to deduce that I did actually enjoy the book since this review exists- so lets get reviewing.
When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.
Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.
The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.
Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.
Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not – there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.
I was immediately hooked. Not at the first chapter, not at the first page but before I even started. The title and book blurb alone had me intrigued and already desperate to find out what was going on next door. A good omen to be intrigued before cracking the cover.
Now I’ll admit it- when chapters began jumping between different people and different times I thought; no, this won’t be my first book review. I jumped to that opinion much too quickly but it’s not something I normally enjoy in a book. Generally, I find it throws me off and kicks me out of the story; ruining the investment I’d made in the initial character just to be stuck with others I don’t particularly like.
Did Andrea Mara do that? Did she kick me out of her story?
Nope, not in the slightest!
Mara used this technique exceptionally well, better than quite a few seasoned novelists I might add. She managed to build suspense and create such a fast paced and intense mystery that if, by some miracle, my two smallies hadn’t needed food, naps, nappy changes, toys from under the couch, I would easily read it in one sitting.
Alas, they did require all these things and so I read the book over the space of a week. Let me give you a warning on doing just that: This book will nag at you. It will get inside your head and nip at you like some type of brain lice (not my best simile). One day my toddler caught my face between her hands and told me to ‘come back’ because I had gotten so lost in thought trying to figure out what would explain something I had just read. All my theories ended up being completely wrong by the way. I just didn’t see it coming!
Another word of warning; this book also has the potential to freak you out. It may have just been me and the fact that I have two small kids the same ages as the main character’s but reading it in bed had me up checking the girls and all the doors so many times that I made the very necessary decision to only read it during the day.
Please note: this may not be a requirement for rational, sane people who can differentiate between real life and fiction.
Excellent debut novel by Andrea Mara – a must read! (during the day).
I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Click here to buy The Other Side of the Wall for kindle.