Friday, March 29, 2024

Book Review: Nosy Neighbors

By Allyson Bales

Seventy-seven-year-old Dorothy Darling has lived in Shelley House longer than any of the other residents, and if you take their word for it, she’s as cantankerous as they come. But Dorothy has her reasons for spying. And none of them require justifying herself to Kat Bennett. 

Twenty-five-year-old Kat has never known a place where she felt truly at home, and crumbling Shelley House is no different. Her neighbors find her prickly and unapproachable, but beneath her tough exterior, Kat’s plagued by a guilty secret from her past.

When their apartments face demolition, sworn enemies Kat and Dorothy agree on just one thing: they must save their historic building. But when someone plays dirty—and one of the residents is viciously taken down—Dorothy and Kat seek justice. The police close the investigation too soon, leaving it up to the unlikely amateur sleuths—with a playful Jack Russell terrier at their side—to restore peace in their community. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Nosy Neighbors was so enjoyable to read and my first Freya Sampson story.  It was a mix between cozy mystery and contemporary fiction.  I loved the characters, the Shelley House “a dilapidated castle”, Reginald the dog, and the themes of community and found family.  This book made me think a lot about my own community.

I have been living in the same neighborhood for about seven-ish years and have a relationship with a neighbor that is pretty tight knit.  It didn't start that way but we went through a flood and it brought us closer.  I also have a neighbor just like Dorothy. I can’t wait for you to meet Dorothy as well as the rest of the Shelly House tenants. I guarantee they will all remind you of someone you have lived nearby at some point in your life and hopefully provide you with the same nostalgia, giggles, and suspense that they provided me.

Now back to my neighbor and Dorothy. Dorothy is a 77 year-old sassy, direct, sometimes curmudgeonly tenant that feels it is her responsibility to monitor all the comings and goings of her neighbors. She jots it down in a notebook with her daily tea and soap opera. Just like my neighbor she is protecting her home.  Just like my neighbor she is looking for connection and just like my neighbor she sure is nosy!  You get to hear a lot of the story from her point of view and also from another tenant, Kat.  

They initially really do not like one another and I found the way they get to know one another very endearing.  It reminded me a bit of the character Ove from A Man Called Ove and the way he grows on people.  I also really loved the other tenants and how their backstories are explored.  I also loved how Sampson explores so many relatable themes!

Sampson really showcases that we never really know what our neighbors might be going through and often we are all looking for connection and someone to care.  I loved that there are so many relatable topics explored through the characters, especially regret.  I think so many of us have felt regret at some point and this story is reassuring and provides hope.  It is a story that will make you laugh, make you try to guess whodunnit, and also feels like a warm hug, which is my favorite kind of story! 

I am now going to go see how my neighbors are doing, especially the one like Dorothy, and also check out Sampson’s backlist!  I can’t wait to hear what you think of this lovely story! 

Thanks to Berkley  for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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