The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinsky

Retro Review

The Woman Next Door 
by Barbara Delinsky
Unabridged Audiobook
10 Hours, 52 minutes
On a charming cul-de-sac in suburban Connecticut, three close-knit couples find their long-cherished harmony undone when a lovely, younger neighbor, widowed a year ago and presumably still unattached, becomes pregnant. Who is the father? Could it be one of the husbands? One by one, the couples turn inward, taking stock of their marriages and the loyalties that perhaps have been taken too much for granted. . .

I plucked this audio out of the bag I keep in my car. It’s been in there a while but I figured now was as good a time as any to finally give it a listen. I’ve been on a horror binge lately and needed a bit of a breather from all of the bloodshed.

At the midway point, I have to admit, I was hoping for some bloodshed that would put an end to one, two or perhaps all, of these insufferably miserable people. It didn’t happen but I hung in there and things did improve a little. Not a lot but enough to keep me from DNFing the thing.

This is the story of what happens when three well-to-do married couples spend too much time navel gazing and poking into each other’s business but mostly it’s about what happens to a marriage when three unhappy wives fear their spouse has impregnated the pretty widow across the way. They’ve shunned the woman (even before the pregnancy) and she won’t reveal who the daddy is when they finally spare her a few moments of conversation only so they can get all nosey. Hahaha, serves you right you cliquey witches!

I have to admit that some dark part of me thoroughly enjoyed watching these women work themselves up into a jealous tizzy when Gretchen evades their questions. And it says much about this book that the most sympathetic character, for the majority of the story, turns out to be the young, widowed trophy wife. I felt terribly sorry for her and her loneliness and grief and feelings of exclusion were written very well. About a third of the way in one of the wives, who is having a helluva time conceiving (and we get a first row seat to every tedious detail and moment of angst), turns a corner and I ended up enjoying her story but she took a little too long to get there.

The audio was capably read by Laura Hicks. She does a good job with the narrative and the voices (even the males) with the noted exception of one of the wives named Karen. She made her sound like a nasty, bitter hag but perhaps that was intentional?

If you like reading about marital woes and real life troubles, you may adore this book. I think I need to go back to fantasyland because this was too “real” for my liking.


  1. Woh, boy. Slut-shaming in a Stepford neighborhood. I'll pass - it might give me ideas. *side-eyes husband*

    1. lol, I don't know why I continue to read these. I guess I keep hoping they'll end in bloodshed but they rarely do :)

  2. This isn't my favorite kind of book to read, but you really made me laugh with your hoping for bloodshed comment! :D

    1. It wasn't my favorite either :( Glad I could make you laugh!


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