Announcing our 2021 Award Winners and Top 20 Books of the Year

Excerpt from Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Quiet Neighbors

by Catriona McPherson

Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson X
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2016, 360 pages
    Apr 2018, 360 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Mollie Smith Waters
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"I could close up early and drive you home," said the man. Jude blinked herself back to the bookshop; she'd been in the tearoom at work, listening to the hard words, deciding she'd never call the Samaritans again. "Although, dear me, I do have my assistant coming at four, but as long as I pay him . . ."

"Home," said Jude, and her eyes filled again.

"I rather thought, last time, that you were a guest," he said, looking her up and down. Now that he wasn't embracing her, he had stepped back to a more normal distance. "A tourist, as used to be. Tourist has gone the way of passenger and patient, I rather think. Everyone's a guest now. Can't see that it makes a scrap of difference, can you?"

Jude nodded then shook. "Home's London," she said. "I ran away."

He took that in with a series of slow nods, his lower lip stuck out and his mouth turned down. "I ran away to home a few times," he said. "From school." When Jude said nothing, he tried again. "What happened?"

How could she even begin to tell him? "Funeral," she said, spreading her arms to display the cheap black suit.

"Who died?" he asked gently.

Jude hesitated. She didn't know and couldn't bear to imagine. She spent the journey not looking at the headlines on other people's papers, had let the long hours yesterday evening in the sad hotel room limp past without putting the telly on.

"My parents," she said and, because it was true and because she hadn't thought of them since she left the crematorium two days ago, she could feel her face begin to melt again. One tear, the only one she had left inside her maybe, crept out and down her puffy cheek.

"Oh, you poor child," said the man. He rummaged in his trouser pockets, eventually drawing out a second handkerchief that he inspected and then dismissed. He cast his eyes around, but by the time he had concluded there was nothing else absorbent he could offer, she was calm again.

"I'm just so tired," she said. It wasn't meant to be a plea. She would have said it in an empty room. But he drew up his brow and chewed his lip.

"Could you manage a five-minute walk?"

She shrugged.

"Here," he went on, lunging for the desktop and snatching up a bunch of keys. He worked a strong yellow fingernail into the double ring, freeing one of the smaller keys in the collection. "My house is round the corner. Have a drink of water and lie down. Try to sleep."

"I can't—You don't—" she said.

"Help yourself to whichever bed or couch you fancy," he told her, pressing the key into her hand.

"Why would you let—?"

"It's quiet and the shutters close."

"We don't even . . ."

He turned her round and gave her the gentlest of pushes. She turned back.

"Why would you trust me?"

"You're not in London now," he told her, looking at her over the spectacles, which had fallen back down from his forehead.

"I could leave my wallet here as . . ."

"Surety," he supplied. "Unnecessary, my dear."

"I can't just . . ."

"Very well," he said. "Your walled for my latchkey."

She opened her bag and then closed it a little so he wouldn't see her passport in there. She drew out her purse and handed it over.

"You won't ghost my cards, will you?"

"My dear girl, I have a schoolchild coming at four whom I must pay handsomely simply to add books to the catalogue on that loathed appliance. No, I shan't 'ghost your cards.' And you shan't ransack my family silver. None of Miss Buchan's admirers would be capable of such a thing."

She managed a smile.

"Follow the left fork round and down," he said, pointing. "And it's left again at the end. Jamaica House. You can't miss it."

From Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson. © 2016 by Catriona McPherson. Used by permission from Midnight Ink,

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Wigtown: National Book Town

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: The Lincoln Highway
    The Lincoln Highway
    by Amor Towles
    Voted 2021 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Things look bleak for Emmett ...
  • Book Jacket: The Code Breaker
    The Code Breaker
    by Walter Isaacson
    Voted 2021 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What makes humans human? It's ...
  • Book Jacket: Firekeeper's Daughter
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...
  • Book Jacket
    A Million Things
    by Emily Spurr
    Voted 2021 Best Debut Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Our First Impressions reviewers were...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Beasts of a Little Land
    by Juhea Kim

    An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement.

Win This Book!
Win Taste Makers

Taste Makers
by Mayukh Sen

America's modern culinary history told through the lives of seven pathbreaking chefs and food writers.



The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.