2 out of 4 stars
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The Neighbour at Number 18 is other fiction book written by Hawa Crickmore. It follows the life of Maria Anderson. The book also tells the background stories of people that seem to play a significant role in Maria's life. These people include Brenda, Maureen, Emilia, Connor and Tyler.
The story further discusses the protagonist's experiences with regard to marriage, relationships, education, life challenges and many more. When in town, Maria's mother, Brenda, made a new friend, Maureen. These two women's friendship grew as they shared the same sentiments from their past encounters. Their daughters, Maria and Emilia, eventually became best friends. Meanwhile, Maureen's fiancé, Ian, vanished without a word. And her daughter, Emilia, had something to do with it. The question was, what did she do for Ian to take off? This, in turn, made Emilia a victim of a blackmail by her cousin, Tyler. Afraid that Tyler would tell on her, Emilia agreed to bring him Maria for pleasure. Unfortunately for Tyler, the police came in time to take him to prison. While in jail, Tyler was found dead in his cell. Why and who could have killed him?
Maria grew up to be a successful lawyer and got married to a head teacher, Ron. Their marriage was a true partnership of unflagging love and dedication to each other. That was until the new tenant's arrival at number 18 changed everything. It was only a matter of time before Maria discovered the intentions of the new neighbour. Maria, now fifty-one, was also keeping a secret that only she knew since she was thirteen years old. Would it not taint her marriage with Ron?
The thoughts, emotions and actions of the characters were fully explored. Ron's pain, inflicted by the feeling of loss, brought tears to my eyes. In regard to the characters' actions, there was a reason behind Emilia's style of clothing and why Connor was a bully at school. There was also always a penance for villains. This, again, made the book enjoyable as the characters I rooted for to get justice kept winning. In this book, character development was not an issue. To be honest, I was worried at first that Ron was displayed as a perfect guy any woman would ever wish for. However, later in the story, he made some mistakes, which took away all my doubts.
Paedophile relationship is the most recurring theme in the book. For that matter, the story contains lessons for young girls on how to recognise "School Sex Recruiters (SSR)," and how to say no to them. However, since there are explicit sex scenes in the story, I do not recommend the book to readers below the age of eighteen. I think it will be best for parents to read the book and tell their young daughters how to say no to SSR.
Despite the book being an easy read, enjoyable and informative, it had several downsides. At the beginning of the story, Brenda was mentioned as a mother of three children. However, her two children, Maria and Jonathan, were the ones discussed throughout the book, but not her last born, Anna. Moreover, Maria was portrayed as a mother of one son, Joseph; one daughter, Lilian; and one step-daughter, Emma. But as the story went on, she was displayed as a mother of three daughters and no son. In other words, the characters' names and gender kept changing. This brought attention to the fact that though the grammar errors were rare, the book lacked proofreading. Moreover, some events in the book left me hanging: the story ended with Maureen still not knowing the cause of her fiance's disappearance. And Emilia's secret never came out.
The pages in the book are also not written in order. For example, the story starts on page 54, which is then followed by page 61. In short, this 197-page book ended on page 2228. As a result, I am awarding the book 2 out of 4 stars. As much as I enjoyed reading the story, I found the errors too much to ignore. If not for them, the book could have gotten 4 stars. The story will be enjoyed by lovers of romance. It will also appeal to people interested in family relationships.
The Neighbour at Number 18
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