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The New Neighbor

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,676 ratings  ·  363 reviews
In the tradition of Zoe Heller's What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman's curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor's complicated and cloaked life.

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Touchstone
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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 ·  2,676 ratings  ·  363 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Margaret is 91, lives in a house on a Tennessee mountaintop. The house across from the pond from hers has remained empty since the woman that had lived there had died. Empty., until Jennifer and her four year old son moved in, an occurrence that both intrigues and upsets Margaret. She had come to prize her solitude, but she can't help but be curious. Jennifer has come, seeking a new life for her and her son.

The structure of this book is rather simple, each chapter narrated by Margaret or Jennif
PacaLipstick Gramma
Apr 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book just rambled on and on....What, pray tell, was the point in it? It took forever to drag through this. The whole point of the story was ridiculous. This very similar plot came up in another book, but it was a blip in the context of the whole book. My apologies for not remembering the title of the book, but it was a much better read. (If I remember it, I will add it to this review.)
I wouldn't waste my time on this book. None of the characters are likeable, nor did I care what happened to
Larry H
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to Touchstone for making it available!

"Who in the world will still want you, once they know everything you have to tell?"

Margaret Riley is 90 years old. She lives by herself on a Tennessee mountaintop, and feels that her age gives her the right to keep people at arm's length, to speak sharply and to the point, and even be cruel when she wants to. But what most people in her tow
Catherine McKenzie
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this might be my favourite Leah Stewart Novel so far. She's such a great writer, good characters, atmosphere and suspense. Highly recommend. ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Tennessee mountaintop.

This is the base of the story where Jennifer Young and her young son Milo go to live, running away from a past that you don't get to know about anytime soon. Its kept quite quiet like a ticking bomb behind the scenes of this story.

Then there is this little old lady who has lived on the moutaintop alone, and never venture far, reclusive. She is used to looking across the way and seeing the other place empty. So now she is intrigued, but also quietly annoyed.

She loves her a
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it
"The New Neighbor" was my first novel by Leah Stewart. I have no idea if this book reflects her typical writing style. Before I could connect with one character to any degree, she would switch to a different character. It didn't help that all the characters were unlikable, either. The storyline seemed to meander throughout the book, changing from one timeframe to another. The ending? Well, it ended.

" little time." With all the books to choose from and the hours we invest in them, there are
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I had very high hopes for this novel. I've read previous books by this author, and I want to put it right out there that by no means was this a bad book. But ultimately, it made a few promises and didn't seem to deliver on them. The book claimed to be like "What Was She Thinking" by Zoe Heller, a good psychological literary page turner. This book was a bit weaker than that. Let's get into the plot, shall we?

A woman named Jennifer moves into an area that is very isolated and she attracts the atte
Kathleen Nightingale
Jun 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is the most boring book I have read this year. The writing was redundant and repetitive. For example in the same sentence Stewart wrote She was bored, did I mention she was bored. This book was boring, boring, boring. Did I say boring? It was touted as the new psychological thriller. Nope. This book all 288 pages of it told you nothing exciting. There was no reason to turn the page, it was just pure boring.
reading is my hustle
Melancholic read about a woman with secrets and her nosy & emotionally needy neighbor.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book I found on Marilyn's shelves and I wanted to read it for her. It looks like we agree on this one, I'm also giving it 4 stars. I liked how the author went back and fourth between a 3rd person narrative and Margaret's own voice. I really liked Margaret. I'm not sure if that was the author's intention or not. She's 91 years old, angry, lonely, and very manipulative. Jennifer is her new neighbor across the pond, and instantly she knows that something is off. We find out later what an ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the tradition of Zoe Heller's What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman's curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor's complicated and cloaked life.

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, that is, until she spots
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure what to think about this book. I liked it, but so many actions of the characters made me feel uncomfortable for some reason. I guess it was a situation where they all seemed confrontational on some level, and it wasn't clear what their motivations were until the last few pages.

People filled with suspicion, guilt, loneliness and more. And one recurring element was unburdening. It presented itself in interesting ways and was a driving force.
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
"First-read" I won this book on GR. I'm going to write my review later but let me say, WOW! I really liked it. I was getting a bit pissed off by the jumping back and forth and trying to figure out whose talking now and what is going on. And it wasn't until the end that I realized that was the hook, I'm revved up, I'm aggravated, I'm curious... And the drama of it all and then bam. It's not what you think, it's better. It's two lost hurt souls who need a shoulder to cry on but are to prideful, as ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a hard one to review. It was an interesting enough story, but there were large chunks that were extremely boring.
The end result of the book was satisfying, and that is why my rating went up to a three.
Jane Withers
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Audio book .... Christ alive the main character 91 year old Margaret is an interfering old bitch !!!!
It does not actually ever have a point this book .. it just sort of rambles but it was ok to listen in the car or whilst making the evening meal. I’m relieved I didn’t actually buy it though !!!!
Julie G
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hoopla, netgalley
As soon as I read the blurb's comparison to Zoe Heller's What Was She Thinking, I requested a copy of this one from NetGalley. Unfortunately that comparison seems to be a bit...overambitious. It's not that the writing here is bad, it's just not great and it's definitely not something I'd characterize as literary in the way I would Heller's novel. It's straight up women's fiction - decent women's fiction, but certainly not what I'd consider a work of literature either. The author does a fi
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
“We do bad things and yet think of ourselves as good. Fundamentally good, you see, despite a slipup or two. Other people, though. When they do a bad thing, we tend to think they're bad.”

I started this book on a whim and at first it didn't really catch my attention very well. At one point I even forgot I was reading it and started on a completely separate book only to pick it back up a few months later. I'm extremely glad I finished it though because it got so much more interesting. I receive
May 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-arc
The New Neighbor is a very observational story where one’s curiosity about her neighbor becomes a crazy obsession eventually going too far.

Margaret is a ninety year old woman who has been living alone for quite some time. She is very lonely and rarely has contact with other people. She is often reading detective novels on her back deck. When she notices the house she can see across the pond is all of a sudden occupied, her curiosity becomes a bit too much. Margaret is desperate to have her neigh
Nancy Brady
Margaret, a ninety-year-old woman, has a new neighbor across the pond. She loves reading and solving mysteries is one of her last pleasures, and Jennifer Young and her four-year-old son Milo is her current focus.

As a ruse, she convinces Jennifer that she needs her services as a massage therapist. From there, Maggie starts telling Jennifer her story in the war in order to figure out Jennifer's story. Jennifer is tight-lipped not only to Margaret, but also to her new friend Megan.

Solving the myste
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my first book by Leah Stewart and I'm wondering how she has not been on my radar before now. Thank you to author Catherine McKenzie for offering this book as a giveaway. I loved the atmosphere of the book. It's all dark and moody, which I enjoy. The story follows 91 year old Margaret and her new neighbor Jennifer. Margaret leads a quiet life alone, but she has an inquisitive nature and loves reading mysteries. Margaret recognizes there more to Jennifer than she lets on and Margaret decid ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Margaret Riley, a ninety-year-old woman living a solitary life on a Tennessee mountain, notices a new neighbor moving in across the pond. Jennifer Young is hiding from her old life with her four-year-old son, Milo. Both Margaret and Jennifer have dark secrets. The third main character is Zoe, Jennifer’s daughter.

This book certainly held my interest, but I was disappointed in Margaret and I felt rather depressed as I finished reading. I guess it proves that actions definitely have consequences.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
read this one straight through. I disliked all the characters, yet I was enthralled by how toxic people could be to each other. the way the book unfolded kept me glued. very well written.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
To paraphrase Blanche Dubois, "this is not the book I was expecting". It's not really a mystery, more, oh I don't know, a sort of so-so novel about the fact that everyone has secrets. Who cares. ...more
Anne Wood
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I did not want to end. Stewart’s writing astounded me, moved me, and deeply disturbed me at times. Her ability to put me in the mindset of 91 year old Margaret was inspired “it’s not the world I can’t escape but my body. Not so much it’s demands at this stage, but it’s complaints and limitations. It’s resistance and it’s pain.”
Margaret’s busy body nature gets the best of her as she coerces Jennifer into her life. Jennifer has mysteriously moved into the long vacant house acro
Laura Michelle
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I did not finish this book and as a rule I NEVER NOT finish a book even if I'm not into the story. But all my other books came in, so I had 9 books to read so I just put this book back. It was kind of dragging for me, was not to much into the story, although I will say I WOULD re check this book out, because I would like to know how it ends. ...more
Barbara Nutting
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This got even better, page by page. Not at all what I expected by the title. Very strong characters, I really related to Margaret, I’m not that old but getting there! No romance in this book, just good stories that intertwine into a great conclusion. Will look forward to more by this author.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very different story than what I expected...pleasantly intrigued throughout.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Full review at:

The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart is (presumably) a psychological thriller about two women living in a small Tennessee town who are each hiding secrets. Jennifer Young and her 4 year-old son Milo move into a small rental house on a pond, where Jennifer wants to hide away from the world after the death of her husband. Her neighbor across the pond, 90 year-old Margaret Riley, becomes intensely interested in Jennifer and devotes her time to fin
Joy (joyous reads)
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review, arc
Although it took me a while to get into the swing of reading this book, The New Neighbor turned out to be one of those novels that had an uncanny ability to drive you crazy. Primarily because it was a very closed-book that didn’t show its true colours until towards the end. Reading this book felt like I had an itch buried subcutaneously that was hard to scratch.

The story follows two women at two opposing points of their lives. One is a 90-year-old woman who’d practically lived like a hermit all
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I'm the author of five novels: BODY OF A GIRL, THE MYTH OF YOU AND ME, HUSBAND AND WIFE, THE HISTORY OF US, and THE NEW NEIGHBOR. I teach in the creative writing program at the University of Cincinnati. ...more

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