Girl Next Door,The

Overview

A gorgeous and unforgettable novel set in a turn-of-the-century brownstone on New York's Upper East Side.

Meet Eve Gallagher in Apartment 7A, newly moved to New York with her husband. She's lonely and lost...until she meets elderly neighbour Violet, who's concealing a story of her own. The Kramers and the Schulmans in Apartments 6A and 6B are about to find their lives intersecting in a most unfortunate manner when Jason Kramer falls head-over-heels for Rachael Schulman. Jackson ...

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Overview

A gorgeous and unforgettable novel set in a turn-of-the-century brownstone on New York's Upper East Side.

Meet Eve Gallagher in Apartment 7A, newly moved to New York with her husband. She's lonely and lost...until she meets elderly neighbour Violet, who's concealing a story of her own. The Kramers and the Schulmans in Apartments 6A and 6B are about to find their lives intersecting in a most unfortunate manner when Jason Kramer falls head-over-heels for Rachael Schulman. Jackson Grayling III in Apartment 5A is attracting the attention of a gold-digger in 2B even though he's far more interested in Emily Milanowski in 3B. And finally, self-conscious Charlotte Murphy is crazy about the doorman but too shy to take it any further. No one is left unchanged as the secrets and desires hidden behind closed doors are finally brought into the light.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Noble charts the intertwining lives of the residents of a New York City apartment building in her charming love letter to Manhattan. After banker Ed Gallagher's promotion necessitates a move from the U.K. to New York, he and his wife, Eve, are thrilled to find the perfect Upper East Side apartment, though Eve struggles to meet people until she befriends Violet Wallace, an 82-year-old fellow Englishwoman in her building who enchants her with the story of her path to Manhattan. Elsewhere in the building, shiftless trust fund baby Jackson Grayling III has fallen in love with Emily Mikanowski, a stunner living downstairs, while Emily's downstairs neighbor and friend, frumpy librarian Charlotte, works up the nerve to speak to Che, the Cuban doorman. And on the sixth floor, the Kramers and Schulmans, married couples with young children, struggle with two sets of very different marital problems. Noble (The Reading Group) presents her sprawling cast without neglecting them as characters or confusing the reader, and though she's got something of a wooden ear for her younger characters' dialogue, her handle on heartbreak and hopefulness is admirable. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In Noble's (The Reading Group) fifth novel, the girl next door is always more than she seems. In this nearly yearlong chronicle of the lives of the residents of one Manhattan apartment building, she's newly arrived British ex-pat Eve with the workaholic husband; mousy Charlotte, living vicariously through romance novel heroines; sexy and worldly Madison; romance-shy Emily; brittle Kim, throwing herself into motherhood at the expense of her marriage; golden girl Rachael; and Violet, a regal Englishwoman who holds the world at arm's length until the arrival of Eve stirs old wounds and new joys. VERDICT Covering territory familiar to readers of women's fiction, if in slightly condensed form because of multiple, intersecting story lines, the novel features an overly ambitious cast of characters. However, the vivid primary protagonists and dramatic plot twists full of headache and heartache make this a safe bet for fans of Barbara Delinsky and Jane Green.—Amy Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY
Kirkus Reviews
The highs, lows and heartaches of the residents of an upscale Manhattan apartment building, examined during the course of a few momentous months. When her husband Ed is transferred, self-deprecating Brit Eve Gallagher finds herself both thrilled and terrified at the prospect of starting a new life in New York City. She initially lucks out by finding a gloriously sunny two-bedroom in a fabulous building on the Upper East Side, but discovers that making friends is a far more daunting task than decorating her new digs. Her neighbors are the usual assortment of types. Prematurely dowdy single librarian Charlotte dreams of a romance-novel Mr. Right, while promiscuous hottie Madison has her sights set on Jackson Grayling III (aka Trip), the wealthy young bachelor in 5A. He, meanwhile, yearns for athletic Emily Mikanowski, a natural beauty who works in television and shows little interest in dating anyone, let alone someone as unmotivated as Trip. Anxious stay-at-home mom Kim Kramer is focused on her spoiled toddler Avery to the point of alienating her stockbroker husband Jason, who secretly fancies stunning Rachael Schulman. With her successful career, three great kids and a country house, Rachael seems to have it all, until she finds out husband David is having an affair. A happily nested gay couple and a series of Cuban doormen round out the cast, but Eve makes her first real connection with 82-year-old Violet Wallace, a fellow Englishwoman who arrived in New York as a war bride in 1946. Violet helps ease Eve's homesickness, while revealing the mysteries of her past. She also provides invaluable support when Eve becomes pregnant with her first child and things do not go as planned. Lacking inedge and unapologetically sincere, Noble's latest (Things I Want My Daughter to Know, 2008, etc.) benefits from a winning and vulnerable Everywoman in Eve, though the rest of her characters are a bit of a snooze. Bland, harmless New York City tableau from a chick-lit pro.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143168829
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 464

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Noble

ELIZABETH NOBLE lives in New York and Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Her six previous novels—The Reading Group, The Friendship Test (formerly published as The Tenko Club), Alphabet Weekends, Things I Want My Daughters to Know, The Girl Next Door, and The Way We Were—were all Sunday Times bestsellers, with The Reading Group reaching number one in the U.K.

Biography

Elizabeth Noble was born in December 1968, in Buckinghamshire, England. She was educated in England and Canada, where the family lived for several years in Toronto.

In 1990 she graduated from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, with a B.A. (Honors) in English language and literature. But it was the diploma (Intensive Secretarial) that she was awarded by the typing school above the Italian café in Covent Garden that got her into her chosen career -- publishing. Over a six year period she worked in the editorial, marketing, publicity, and sales departments of several big publishing houses -- moving every couple of years, once she had made a big enough mess in the filing (note to bewildered successors: check under "m" for miscellaneous). This makes her a tricky author. She speaks fluent publishing.

She took a career break -- she called it "retired" -- to have her two daughters, after her marriage in 1996. When her youngest daughter was ready to go to nursery school, and real work beckoned, she decided to try what she had been threatening to do for years, and wrote a hundred pages of The Reading Group.

Then it took her nine months to work up the courage to send it to an agent. The Reading Group was published in the UK in January 2004 and went straight to the number-one position in The Sunday Times's Fiction Bestseller list. She was supposed to be signing stock in London bookshops the day the chart was announced, but she had grown bored and was trying on trousers -- they didn't fit -- in a ladies' clothing store when the call came. So she was literally caught with her pants down.

The book has since sold almost a quarter of a million copies in the UK. But the other day her elder daughter, Tallulah, told her she would rather she got a job in a chicken plucking factory because then she would be at home more, so she doesn't think there is much danger of her getting conceited.

She has recently finished her second novel -- there were no vacancies at the chicken plucking factory -- and begun her third.

She lives with her husband and their ungrateful children in a haunted vicarage in "the safest village in Surrey," England. They obviously don't know about the ghost.

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Elizabeth Noble:

"Researching my novels has changed my life. This year alone, in the name of research, I have abseiled 100 feet off of a viaduct, learnt how to gamble, and danced on stage in a Las Vegas show. At the ripe old age of 36, I've finally realized that you are only here once, and I'm never going to say no to a new experience again (so long as its legal!)."

"I am perpetually engaged in a quest to be thinner, fitter, have better hair, and look more stylish. I'm usually losing."

"Each morning, I pump up the volume on the stereo and dance about the living room with my five- and seven-year-old daughters. It's the best ten minutes of every day."

"I am incredibly close to my parents and siblings. We have gone in very different directions -- my brother teaches mathematics in France, and my sister is a midwife -- but we all have a strong sense of family."

"My friends are hugely important to me, and spending time with them is a precious part of my life."

"I like chocolate, floral white wines, cinema, and being lazy. I love U.S. import TV -- Sex and the City, The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, and Six Feet Under (God bless HBO!)."

"I dislike almost all politicians, pushy parents, and bad manners. And I hate, hate, hate cell phones, and the fact that they mean you can never be ‘unavailable.' "

"I unwind in a hot bath with a big glass of wine, and my ultimate luxury would be 12 hours sleep a night (but my children do not agree)."

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    1. Hometown:
      Wonersh, Guildford, Surrey, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 22, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      B.A., St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, 1990
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

‘Green lungs’. Isn’t that what they call parks in big cities? It isn’t true in New York. In New York, Central Park – almost 850 acres of priceless real estate in one of the world’s greatest cities – is not the lungs. It’s the heart. Walk around any of the paths, away from the hullabaloo, the tourists studying maps, the omnipresent runners, the pretzel sellers, and you’ll find benches everywhere. There are more than 9,000 of them. Since 1986, the Central Park Conservancy has run a programme called Adopt-a-Bench, allowing residents of the city to dedicate one to someone they have loved, and love still. Here is where you feel, and hear, the heart of the city beating. There’s a marriage proposal on a bench by the Zoo. Statements of joy and happy memories and grateful thanks on rows of benches by playgrounds – at the Alice in Wonderland statue, facing the Carousel, along the water. Since 9/11, there are benches that can make you tear up, just reading the plaques. For young men and women, dead too soon, and those they left behind. ‘To the world you were one person. To one person you were the world.’

I chose Cedar Hill for mine. It was one of your favourite places. In the winter, children toboggan there, filling the air with their laughter. In the fall, the colours are extraordinary. In the summer, it’s close to the ice-cream truck that parks on 5th, and shady. But I may like spring the best of all. Full of promise and new beginnings. Not for me, maybe, but for the people I watch.

I wondered for a long, long time how to inscribe the plaque. Whitman, or Emerson? Puccini? A declaration of my own?

In the end, though, I chose just your name. Everything else belonged to me, and I kept it inside, written on my heart, and not in this one.

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