On a leafy suburban street in Dublin, beautiful, poised Stella Greene lives with her successful husband, Matt. The perfect couple in every way, Stella appears to have it all. Next door, at number 72 however, lives Rea Brady. Gruff, bad-tempered and rarely seen besides the twitching of her net curtains, rumour has it she’s lost it all…including her marbles if you believe the neighbourhood gossip.
But appearances can be deceiving and when Stella and Rea’s worlds collide they realise they have much in common. Both are trapped in a prison of their own making.
Has help been next door without them realising it?
I get very little time to read now and so I am very careful when picking a book to read, I need something that is going to pull me in from the first page and make me switch off from the hustle and bustle of every day life. When one of my favourite authors sent me a copy of her latest release The Woman at 72 Derry Lane along with a pack of tissues because this Queen of emotional writing always leaves me sitting like a blubbering wreck, I knew that I could trust in this authors writing to pick me up and lose me whole heartedly through each of the pages.
We are introduced to two women Stella and Rea who are neighbours who strike up an unlikely friendship when they gradually realise they are more alike than they would like to admit. Both women are trapped, Stella in a brutal and unforgiving marriage to a fowl excuse for a human being Matt and Rea in her own personal prison who has lost everything and everyone and can not step out of her comfort zone to her freedom. When Stella reaches breaking point she reaches out to Rea for help and the pair form a strong bond and both want to see each other live the happy lives they both deserve.
I always come to expect a devastating topic weaved through the pages of a Carmel Harrington novel and she addresses both domestic abuse and agoraphobia in this one which in itself was enough to get emotions and my temper running high. I drew hope from seeing both Rea and Stella drawing strength and support from each other and I was very much enjoying their storyline and then there was a new storyline weaved in a little way through the book that threw me off. At first I was a little put out that this other storyline was interrupting my time with Stella and Rea and I really couldn't see any connection this had to the ladies but the more snippets we were given of this other storyline the more my interest was piqued and I found myself coming full circle and wanting to know more about this than Rea and Stella’s story!
This part of the book was breath-taking, the utter horror and desperation grew with each chapter and it was so compelling and what added to the tragic storyline is it was loosely based on a real life event that shook the nation. I really don’t want to say anymore on this part of the book as for me it was this that made the book such an exceptional, emotional and thought provoking read that will stay in your head and heart for a long time to come.
Strangely enough this book didn't have me flooding with tears, it actually had me feeling bereft and numb and continually thinking about all those that were involved with the devastation and wondering how those who survived are coping in life today.
Once again Carmel Harrington has delivered a remarkable, thought provoking and emotional storyline that will capture the heart of every reader and shatter it in two