The New Neighbor

A Novel

The New Neighbor

In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is “a chilling page-turner” (People) with “simple, elegant language” (The New York Times Book Review) about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her mysterious new neighbor’s complicated life.

How much can you really know about the woman next door?

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—until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Her neighbor, 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 for her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. She thinks if she says the right thing, tells the right story, Jennifer will open up, 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…

From the critically acclaimed author of The History of Us and The Myth of You and Me, The New Neighbor is “a promising exploration of the secrets we all carry and our refusal to forgive ourselves” (Publishers Weekly).
  • Touchstone | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501103537 | 
  • July 2015
List Price $11.99 (price may vary by retailer)

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The New Neighbor includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Leah Stewart. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

 

Introduction

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is mostly content hiding from the world.  Antisocial and fiercely independent, she rarely leaves her Tennessee mountaintop home, preferring weekly trips to the local library to replenish her collection of mystery novels to visits from extended family. But all this changes when she spots a young woman who has rented 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 their past can find them. In spite of her fears of discovery, Jennifer can’t ignore Milo’s eagerness to attend school and make new friends, and she finds herself drawn into a larger circle of acquaintances.

In her new neighbor, Margaret sees both a potential companion and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his absent father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of see more

Articles About This Book

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Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Off the Shelf Staff

As the summer comes to an end, we’re spending every waking minute with our favorite books. Here are some of the stories we’re squeezing in while the sun is still shining and the beach still calling. And to help you end your summer right, we want...

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The History of Us

About the Author

Leah Stewart
Photograph by Jason Sheldon

Leah Stewart

Leah Stewart is the critically acclaimed author of The History of Us, Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, and Body of a Girl. The recipient of a Sachs Fund Prize and a NEA Literature Fellowship, she teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Cincinnati and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two children. Visit her online at LeahStewart.com.

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