The Woman Downstairs by Elisabeth Carpenter ★★★★☆
Published : 6th February 2020
Publisher : Orion Fiction
Format : Kindle, Paperback, Audio
Genre : Thriller
Can you ever really know your neighbours?
When human remains are found in a ground floor flat, the residents of Nelson Heights are shocked to learn that there was a dead body in their building for over three years.
Sarah lives at the flat above and after the remains are found, she feels threatened by a stranger hanging around the building.
Laura has lived in the building for as long as she can remember, caring for her elderly father, though there is more to her story than she is letting on.
As the investigation starts to heat up, and the two women become more involved, it's clear that someone isn't telling the truth about what went on all those years ago...
“ She glances at the body again.
It’s face lit by the glow of the snow on the soundless television.
A face that couldn’t be seen from the gap between the curtains.
A face that nobody has missed for almost two years.”
Thank you Orion for this fantastic gifted copy and to Compulsive readers for this blog tour spot.
I absolutely loved this book. That top quote was the end of the prologue and I was completely hooked by the end of reading it..
Elisabeth Carpenter is now on my author watch for list. Primarily told over two perspectives from Sarah and Laura. The story about these two women is beautifully written and utterly enthralling.
Sarah lives on the first floor of the high rise flats with her son Alex, she is training to be a journalist and works part time in a cafe.
Laura also lives in the flats, a recluse who stays at home and cares for her father who has MS. Laura has had a hard time of life, bullied at school so pulled out and homeschooled and then her mum up and leaves for an unknown reason when she is only a little girl, leaving only herself and her dads mates to care for her father.
Told over two parts, part one opens to a body being found dead in the flat below Sarah. The body has been there for two years alone and decaying. No one has missed them enough to have noticed.
This really affects Sarah having lived just above, so she starts to investigate what has happened to this unknown person, who they were and how they died but nothing is ever that simple and Sarah soon starts to discover that her own life gets caught up in the investigation and she soon becomes in danger.
Laura decides after the recent death of her father that she must find a job as his savings will not last forever.
She goes for an interview at a local call centre and is offered the position. Here she meets Suzannah, a colleague at work who she becomes friends with and Tom, a boy that she used to play with as a child when he used to visit his grandad at the flats she lives at. Tom and Laura become an item but it soon becomes clear he isn't as honest as she first thought.
I really warmed to Lauras character, I was quite confused by the time I got to part two regarding Laura but the storyline Was so good I just carried on and the story soon righted itself, although I think im still a little confused at how it was set out a little in that first half.
Sarah is a strong character, she doesn't shy away when things get tough and finds things out along the way that make her compelled to finish what she has started.
As you read further into the book more things start to come to light and you end up putting two and two together. by the end of the book everything makes sense and you have complete picture of a life you thought was one way but turned out wasn't as straight forward as it seems in the beginning.
This was such an addictive read, The twist at the end was fantastic, I never guessed at all who the bad guy was and found myself relieved for certain characters when it came out. It just goes to show that you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.
I won't say who the dead person was as I don't want to ruin it and give off any spoilers but I can say my heart goes out to them and I felt very saddened that they did not get the life they truly deserved.
Meet the author
Libby was awarded a Northern Writers’ New Fiction award, and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 and 2016) and the MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015).
She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area, including the novel she is writing at the moment.
She currently works as a book keeper.
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