Today I’m really excited to share my thoughts on Jennie Ensor’s new novel, The Bad Neighbour, as part of the blog tour!
In March 2020, the Covid pandemic hits the sleepy English village of Brampton. At the start of lockdown, local busybody and social climber Tara Sanderson sets up a community group to help vulnerable residents through the crisis. Elderly Elspeth Chambers, her longstanding neighbour and friend, accepts Tara’s offer to buy food and collect medicine for her.
But it isn’t long before neighbourliness and community spirit turn sour. Tensions arise when Tara becomes jealous of Elspeth’s emerging friendship with Ashley Kahn, a recent arrival in Wilton Close. Suspecting there is more to Tara’s hostility toward them than meets the eye, Ashley and Elspeth start to uncover their neighbour’s long-buried secrets…
The Bad Neighbour is a very entertaining and enjoyable read that also manages to skillfully tackle some serious themes. We’re taken back to the year everyone wants to forget – 2020 – as Covid first reared its head in communities. In The Bad Neighbour, we’re in one particular neighbourhood in the quiet parish of Brampton. Within this neighbourhood, brimming with intriguing individuals, we are introduced to three central characters: Elspeth, Tara, and Ashley. Each of them carries their own unique set of problems and secrets.
Jennie Ensor, the author, strikes a perfect balance between humour and drama. Even the seemingly mundane aspects of the characters’ lives are remarkably entertaining to read about, thanks to the skilful characterisation. I found myself completely engrossed in their stories, rooting for the engaging protagonists and delighting in despising the loathsome ones. The squabbles and nuances of their relationships with one another were really entertaining. While the novel occasionally had the cosy charm of a crime story, it also delved into serious and shocking subjects that grounded us in reality. There were new moments that required you to suspend your disbelief a little, but they were great fun!
The Bad Neighbour holds some unexpected twists. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a thrilling yet cosy experience, with gritty elements and unforgettable characters that leave a lasting impression.
My rating: 4/5
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Many thanks to the publisher Hobeck Books and Rebecca Collins, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!