The Couple Next Door began when Anne and Marco’s daughter Cora was kidnapped. When the couple returned from their next door neighbor’s birthday party they discovered their baby, whom they had left alone in their apartment, was missing. The abduction allowed all the secrets of the couple, their neighbors, and Anne’s parents to come together to create a great novel.
The third person narration allowed me to understand both Anne and Marco’s reaction to Cora’s disappearance, but almost no attention was given to explaining the other characters in the book. Although there were a lot of secrets and lies that made this a good story, the author didn’t provide a lot of background for the characters’ history together, something that I really like in novels. For example, a large piece of this story was that Anne’s parents were wealthy and had given the couple money to purchase a home and establish Marco’s business. Accepting the money made Marco feel beholden to his in-laws and feel resentment toward Anne for taking the money so eagerly, as if he couldn’t provide a good enough life for them. The author told us that Marco felt this way but didn’t provide any examples or background scenes of how this impacted the couple’s marriage.
That was a recurring issue I had with his book, the author told me how the characters felt instead of showed me. There was almost no history given until the last few chapters. I think the author intentionally withheld that information to make this more mysterious, but it had the opposite effect on me since I wasn’t completely on board with why these people were acting the way they were. The action in the novel happened over only a few days, so the story moved quickly.
In the end an entire web of lies and motives were revealed to explain Cora’s disappearance. Some of the events were shocking, but didn’t quit gel with the overall story other than to just serve as a red herring. I felt there needed to be little more to the actions for them to have an impact.
Overall, I thought this was clever and original. I read this quickly and would recommend it.