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Fiction Book Reviews

Review | The Downstairs Neighbour | Helen Cooper

We’re delighted to be sharing Elena’s thoughts about The Downstairs Neighbour by Helen Cooper on the Hodder tour.

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This story focuses on the lives of the inhabitants of an apartment building. At the top of the building lives Steph, Paul and their teenage daughter Freya. A seemingly perfect family that captures the imagination of Emma who is another of the residents. She’s single and in the process of selling her vintage clothes shop. In the basement flat lives driving instructor Chris and his nurse wife Vicky. He has been giving Freya driving lessons as well as her friends. Their relationship seems to be deteriorating and it appears Chris doesn’t know why. 

One day Freya goes missing without a trace. No-one is able to contact her and the last person to have seen her is Chris as he gave her a driving lesson that morning. Fingers start pointing at him. Meanwhile Steph begins to unravel and it becomes clear there are huge secrets involving her husband that she knew nothing about. All the while Emma looks on with some secrets of her own. 

The Downstairs Neighbour is a fantastic book and one which had me on the edge of my seat throughout. The chapters are each told from the point of view of one of the characters and there is also a character called Kate, with a timeline of 25 years prior. I didn’t know how she was going to link in to the rest of the story but she does eventually. There are lots of characters and lots of events that do eventually come together but it’s never confusing. I loved the character of Emma, felt sorry for Kate and Steph, was intrigued by Paul and found Chris really creepy! 

The author has done a brilliant job of weaving the timelines and storylines together and the effect is that I couldn’t put the book down as I was desperate to find out what happened next! Each character is superbly crafted and the chapters are short and punchy and leave you wanting to read more. It’s one of those books you just can’t put down and before you know it, you’re lost within its pages. 

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book cover for The Downstairs Neighbour by Helen Cooper

Helen Cooper is from Derby. She has taught English and Academic Writing in both Further and Higher Education and was Head of Learning Enhancement at the University of Birmingham. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and has been published in Writers’ Forum, Mslexia, the Bath Short Story Prize Anthology (2014) and the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize Anthology (2018). The Downstairs Neighbour is her first novel. Twitter @HelenCooper85

My passion is helping others to find their own oasis, their own centre of calm. I’m a qualified Dyslexia Therapist, Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Sleep Consultant, Parenting Programme Facilitator, Mindfulness practitioner, Mental Health First Aider and hold a crochet diploma.

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