Review published on May 25, 2017.
This is the first of Juliet Ashton’s books that I have read and, after reading The Woman at Number 24, I will certainly be reading more from her. I thought at first that this book was going to be light-hearted chick lit, but it was in fact so much more. I found myself completely engrossed in reading it and even spent time thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, since I wanted to know what happened next. I read it in bed over a couple of evenings until the early hours as I didn’t want to put it down. This would be the perfect book to curl up with while on holiday. I felt that each of the characters in the book really came to life and I found that while reading I was conjuring up pictures of what they would look like in my head and imaging entering a real life Number 24 to meet them all.
The book’s first main character is Sarah, a child psychologist whose life has taken a tumble and whose confidence and self-worth have been questioned. Not only has her marriage ended, but she is mourning the loss of her friend Smith. Her egotistical ex-husband Leo is living in the flat below with his new wife Helen. Mavis is another inhabitant of number 24 and she is the one who I really warmed to. She’s a very cantankerous elderly lady, with lots of character and charm, who lives in poverty in the basement and who is befriended by Sarah as the book progresses. Other characters worthy of note are the charismatic Jane and Tom, who are the newest residents of Number 24 and who set about brightening up the property with their presence.
The book is based around the various inhabitants’ intertwining lives and relationships, as well as how they are changing and developing. There are also many unexpected twists around the corner, meaning that there is never a dull moment.
This is a story based on community, friendship, loyalty, love and self-worth. I felt very emotional when it had ended and I found myself still thinking about the characters and how their stories had unfolded during the book.
I am looking forward to reading more of Juliet Ashton’s books and I cannot wait to get hold of her other titles.
Helen Appleby 5/4
The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton
Simon & Schuster UK 9781471158896 pbk Apr 2017
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