The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart

Title: The New Neighbor
Author: Leah Stewart
Original Publication Date: July 07, 2015
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Goodreads Synopsis: “Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.

In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created and reveal some secrets of her own.”

*No spoilers below.

The New Neighbor was an engaging read, Leah Stewart’s writing is beautiful. While my nose was in it, I wanted to continue turning the pages without stopping but, I never felt the rush to get back to it once I took a break.

Jennifer’s chapters were hard for me to get through. I preferred Margaret and wanted to stay on her the entire time. I would have really enjoyed unraveling the mysteries through her eyes only. Everything about Margaret was more interesting. Jennifer was quite boring and rather predictable.

To be completely honest, I was not happy with the ending. I wished for so many different scenarios. If things went at least one of the ways I wanted, I would have rated this novel a solid 4 out of 5. Excuse my pettiness.

Dates Read: Oct. 07-Oct. 22, 2019
My Rating: 3.25 out of 5

“I don’t want to be harmless. Who in the world would want to be that?”

“Death in a book is still only death in a book, but give me an author who doesn’t flinch. If a mystery doesn’t walk you up to the abyss before it rescues you, it’s a shallow form of comfort.”

We are curious creatures and can’t be expected not to satisfy that curiosity when the answers are so readily available. A child doesn’t really want to spoil the surprise of her Christmas presents, but if she knows where they’re hidden in the closet she’ll have no choice but to look. The world has forgotten that there is more pleasure in wondering than knowing.”

“Truth and beauty, he was truth and beauty, the beauty part probably more important than the truth, or at least what made the truth so interesting.”

“She was a lyrical jazz dancer, not the best in the world, she knew even then, but she could make people watch her. This was something she could do only when she was dancing, an unconscious ability she didn’t know how to control.”

“What comes out of my mouth is too direct, too undisguised, and then the other person is startled, and I’m annoyed, or shamed, and after that the best thing is silence.”

“No one will love us if they know the worst and yet if they don’t know the worst we can’t trust their love.”

“What a dangerous force, male attention. What terrible things women do to get it, or make it go away.”

“We call a flaw a virtue when we like the results.”

“You can outgrow heartbreak only when you don’t love anyone anymore, and maybe not even then.”

“You can create a problem in the effort to discover if one exists.”

We do bad things and yet think of ourselves as good. Fundamentally good, you see, despite a slipup or two. Other people, though. When they do a bad thing, we tend to think they’re bad.”

“There are so many ways in which the world is terrible, sometimes you fail to spot them all.”

“Is that all morality is? Concealment?”

“People who seem angry–often what they really are is sad.”

“Of course we’re all hypocrites. Without hypocrisy there’s no survival.”

“How many times in my life have I known someone was lying and said nothing? How many times have I lied and watched the other person feign belief? We say nothing, we say nothing. Life would be unbearable without lies.”

“All this bonding they do these days. As if what’s between a parent and a child would vanish without snuggling and trips to the zoo. I can attest that one is sufficiently bonded without these things, one is sufficiently stuck.”

“So much depends on every choice we make. This is obvious and yet endlessly to be marveled at. So many tales of what ripples outward, so many dreams of parallel universes. Because we tell stories about the things we find impossible to bear. Then we can pretend they are only stories.”

“It’s hard not to believe, when something is lost, that you’ll find it back in the place where it was, if you just look one more time.”

“What matters are not the times when you took lots of pictures. What matters are the times when you felt something so strongly it overrode the automatic delete. The memories that stay in your mind like a program you can run. Like a dream you can reenter. Like a hologram. Time in a bubble. There’s a reason you see so much of that in sci-fi. Everybody wants it to be real.”

“We all want to satisfy our curiosity, and the little voice that tells us it’s wrong to peep and pry is one trained into us from childhood, and nothing natural about it. We will all satisfy our curiosity when we can, which is any time we think no one will catch us.”

“The trouble with pushing people away is sometimes they don’t come back.”

“They say there’s peace if you can relinquish desire.”

“One minute you are one thing, and the next you are something else. The first thing is lost to you. You can never be the first thing again.”

“We all get older by the day. Each breath, and we are older.”

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