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Reader reviews and comments on A Good Neighborhood, plus links to write your own review.

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A Good Neighborhood

by Therese Anne Fowler

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler X
A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
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    Feb 2020, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Power Reviewer
lani

not to be missed
This storyline is a real departure from Fowler's usual historical novels, but I think she has come up with a winner that could be adapted for one of Reese Witherspoon's movies. Book clubs will have a lot to discuss with the issues that are brought up in fast reading prose. The neighborhood was at peace with Valerie, a college professor of forestry and ecology devoting much time to her trees and outdoor plants. This single parent had a biracial son who was competent, mature and a senior in high school. Everything was smooth until the Whitmans moved in behind their property and tore all the trees down damaging the roots of her favorite oak tree, to put in a big swimming pool. He was the caricature of the swaggering successful business man who loved to emphasize his success with material goods. He also had a beautiful stepdaughter that had taken a viginity pledge until marriage. The story is told from the neighbors' perspective as if they are hovering over the scene, gossiping and commenting on the unraveling of events. Ugliness transpires, with lawsuits, violence, an unjust legal system, and an unwillingness to be colorblind. It is very much a reflection of today's America. May this book be another catalyst for frank discussion.
Helene M.

Characters Make the Book
Because of my work in a local bookstore, I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Therese Anne Fowler's newest book. Fowler has done wonderful work in drawing characters one can care about, or despise, or for whom one can wish redemption - just like people we know in real life.

The story encompasses so much of life as we know it today: changing neighborhoods, changing values, new money vs. old not-so-much money, visible priorities and hidden motives, young love and innocence, older love and some cynicism ...

The Whitman family, a newly married successful businessman, his wife and her teenage daughter, moves into Oak Knoll, North Carolina, and nothing will ever be the same again, as our third-person neighborhood narrator informs us as he/she walks us through what happened thereafter.

The Whitman's raze the home and trees on the property they purchased in order to build their McMansion. Their decisions impact the property next door, owned by a Ph.D. environmentalist and forester, Dr. Ashton-Holt, a widowed single mom raising her brilliant bi-racial son by herself. Conflict was inevitable...

I found myself hoping against hope in some portions of the book, cheering for different characters on different pages, groaning at what the foreshadowing hinted at. The conflict of values will touch home for almost every reader - the resolution of those conflicts will cause many readers to reexamine their own thinking ... it did for me.

I truly loved this book because the characters and the plot were so well intertwined - everything rang true to the last heart-breaking page. Recommended this book to my book club, and am eagerly awaiting its February publication date.
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