The Woman in the Window

by A. J. Finn

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LoveReading Expert Review of The Woman in the Window

February 2018 Debut of the Month.

Oh my word, this is an absolutely cracking psychological thriller. Anna is unable to leave her house, she views the world from her window and connects with it on her laptop, when she witnesses a horrific incident in a neighbouring house, turmoil awaits. The first few pages set me on edge, and I remained on high alert throughout the story, doubting and questioning my own reasoning. Even if you suspect, you can’t be confident, and there are plenty of shocks and surprises lying in wait. Set over a few weeks, the short chapters whipped into my consciousness, yet the story reveals itself gradually. A. J. Flynn allows the tension to build, slowly, torturously, and exquisitely. Anna tells her own story, wounded herself, can she be trusted? When the revelations came, they spilled from the page and slapped my thoughts. So clever and focused, yet utterly mind-bending, ‘The Woman in the Window’ is a heart-hammering read and I highly recommend stepping into Anna’s world.

Liz Robinson

The Woman in the Window Synopsis

Now a major film on Netflix starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore OVER 5 MILLION COPIES SOLD! THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing' Gillian Flynn 'One of those rare books that really is unputdownable' Stephen King 'Twisted to the power of max' Val McDermid 'A dark, twisty confection' Ruth Ware What did she see? It's been ten months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside. Anna's lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. But one evening, a scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something horrifying. Now she must uncover the truth about what really happened. But if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008288570
Publication date: 1st October 2020
Author: A. J. Finn
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 464 pages
Primary Genre Thriller and Suspense
Other Genres:
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The Woman in the Window Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Wow! Reading this was like being on a roller coaster without brakes. This will be THE psychological thriller of 2018. Believe the hype – this is absolutely stunning.

Trapped in her own home for the past year, Dr Anna Fox now lives her life vicariously, through the lives of those around her. Once a successful child psychologist, wife and mother, her world has now shrunk to that of online chess, merlot and old black and white movies. As the lives of her neighbours unfold before her windows, Anna self-medicates and watches. The normality of others echoes Anna’s past, the time before she became agoraphobic, the time before everything changed. Then a chance Halloween prank reopens Anna’s life to the outside world and her new neighbours, the Russells. Alistair, Jane and their teenage son Ethan – a good boy, Anna the child psychologist can tell. No secrets there. But can you really piece together lives from snapshots? From infrequent glimpses and imagined conversations? Do we ever really know what goes on in other families?

Wow! Wow, wow, wow. Reading this was like being on a roller coaster without brakes. There was no chance to pause for breath. It grabs you from the very beginning, drags you into Anna’s world and you will not be able to tear yourself away until the bitter end. Life around me stopped as I read. Every ounce of my being willed Anna to resist the pull of the drugs and the bottle. To struggle to the surface and trust her instincts. To do what she knows is right. This will be THE psychological thriller of 2018. Believe the hype – this is absolutely stunning.

Sarah Harper

Brilliant writing and broken down into very short chapters which builds the suspense and just kept me turning the pages - just one more chapter!!! I Recommend it whole heartedly and can't wait for more from this author.

If you love a really good psychological thriller which will keep you guessing until the very end this is the book for you. Absolutely brilliant.

I absolutely loved this book and read it in two sittings. I've come across a few books similar to this where there is a 'watcher at the window' and not enjoyed any of them. This is completely different and really is a psychological thriller. 

The main character had me veering from sympathetic to her problems to disbelief at her behaviour and I never knew what was real and what was not until near the end of the book. I really did not guess who the ‘baddie’ was until the very end.


Sheila Dale

This debut novel, took me into the early hours of the morning to read, and once finished I let go of the breath I had been holding! Think of your favourite Hitchcock film in book form and you have ‘The Woman in the Window’.

New York City, a bustling place, people living close by, close enough to spy on, from the safety of your own home,, using a Nikon D5500,  this is exactly what Anna Fox does.  A recluse living alone, yes she has a husband or did, they are separated, and a daughter, Olivia who sated with him.  Ten long months , stuck in the house, unable to even put one foot outside her door, Anna relies on the Internet, uses it to help other people like herself, You see Anna is a doctor, able to help others but not herself.   

Time passes quickly when you are busy watching other people go about their daily business and Anna loves it, making up conversations in her head, Then the Russells move in: Mother, father and a teenage son, the perfect all American family.   Looking out of the window one night, Anna sees something she shouldn’t have, and this is the start of a nightmare that Anna cannot get free of.

Unsure of what she has seen, her way of thinking has her questioning herself.  This debut novel, took me into the early hours of the morning to read, and once finished I let go of the breath I had been holding! Think of your favourite Hitchcock film in book form and you have ‘The Woman in the Window’. It has more twists and turns than a ride at a Theme Park, one to re-read just like watching your favourite movie, just in case you missed something. If you buy any book in January 2018, buy this one.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Angie Rhodes

Atmospheric and tense, an enthralling psychological thriller. This morning I am feeling the same effects of sleep deprivation as Anna (though mercifully not the hangover) since I stayed up way past my bedtime last night to finish this gripping story.

Anna hasn’t been out of her house for nearly a year, separated from her husband and daughter, she is alternately wired with prescription drugs and alcohol, and numbed from the aftermath of an undisclosed trauma.  She keeps herself physically isolated, almost all her contact with the outside world is through the internet, the house is kept dark and suffocatingly closed, and she spends her evenings watching black and white ‘noir’ movies.  Watching her neighbours’ houses from her window she witnesses a crime but, when she tries to report it, she realises that everyone considers her flaky.  She is a psychologist herself so she can well understand how others see her.  What is she to do?  I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this novel, the claustrophobic setting was particularly unsettling.  Since I’ve seen most of the films referred to, Hitchcock especially, this added to my engagement with Anna’s predicament.  Though I found the ending a little disappointing and a few omissions stretched credibility, overall the tension kept me hooked and I’d have no hesitation recommending it.  A big surprise for me was to discover the author is male - I’d spent the whole time thinking it was written by a woman.  He writes utterly convincing female characters.

Sue Broom

The plot is tight, and while you might see some of the twists coming, others catch you by surprise. This is more than a literary re-make of Hitchcock's film, the story stands on its own feet, and is a promising debut for Finn, with film rights already sold.

This book was an enjoyable way to while away a few hours. The plot is tight, and while you might see some of the twists coming, others catch you by surprise.

Dr Anna Fox lives vicariously. Unable to go outside due to severe agoraphobia, and separated from her husband and daughter, she has taken to observing the world through a camera lens. Lost in a haze of meds and alcohol, when she observes a shocking crime, it is not only the police who are doubting her story. This book was an enjoyable way to while away a few hours. The plot is tight, and while you might see some of the twists coming, others catch you by surprise. Anna is, despite (or because of) her flaws, a likeable character, her love of old movies paves the way for some narrative nods into the direction of Alfred Hitchcock (I was waiting for a Rear Window reference, and finally got it). But this is more than a literary re-make of Hitchcock's film, the story stands on its own feet, and is a promising debut for Finn, with film rights already sold.

Sabine Little

I was so engrossed with this book that I read until I was too tired to continue, woke up in the early hours and continued reading until I had finished it. This has got to be the smash hit of 2018 and I will be recommending it to all my friends.

This is a very well-written book. The writing is concise and this, combined with the fact that many of the chapters are very short, moves the story along at a cracking pace.  The plot takes place over a three week period and the reader becomes involved in Anna's life right from the start but just when you think you've got to grips with the plot and the characters, there's a twist which takes your breath away.

Pauline Braisher

I picked up this book and thought “this is a lot of book!” After the first page I didn’t feel any less daunted. By page three I was hooked. Half way through and I couldn’t put it down. By the final page I was sorry to close the book - and desperately hoping for a film version.

It has many black and white film references, which are totally brilliant, and yet it is bang up-to-date in other respects.   The story is set in New York,  and although I personally didn’t think there was very much to make you ‘feel ‘ this, it will work perfectly when it’s made into a film – it just has to be!  There are many twists and turns, as in all great thrillers – and this is one of the very best!  You think you know what’s coming, and then it’s not what you thought at all.  I really don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if you only read one new book this year make sure it’s this one. The central character, Anna, is so well written - so real.  Since finishing the book, I've still been thinking about her, and would dearly love to pop round to make sure she's ok.  Please would Gillian Flynn write and let me know what Anna is doing these days? I DO know she's only a character in a book.......but.......well, read the book and see what you think?


Kathy Martin

This book was thrilling!! I was spellbound by the story ....such was the mystery that the author slowly, teasingly unfolded that I found myself several times holding my breath as I turned the pages!

I adored the suspense of the tale and found myself fascinated as to how Anna came to be in the dreadful circumstances that she found herself in. I would never have suspected the final few chapters or the outcome of the story but boy was it worth waiting for!  I found myself gasping for breath and would thoroughly recommend this terrific novel.

Siobhan McDowell

I was gripped by this book from page one. It’s a psychological thriller with so many twists and turns, I found it impossible to put down. I loved it, and can’t recommend it enough.

The central character is 40-something Anna, suffering from agoraphobia brought on by a very traumatic event in her life.  Unable to leave her house, she watches the world around her from her window and is witness to a shocking event, but is unable to convince the authorities that it’s not a figment of her imagination brought on by excesses of medication combined with alcohol.  The tension gradually builds in this story as Anna’s past life is revealed, and current events escalate, and there is a really surprising twist at the end.  I’m sure this will be a best seller – I loved it, and can’t recommend it enough.

Doreen McKeown

Ahead of reading this, I was expecting it to be a modern day Hitchcock ‘Rear Window.’ Having read it, my word does it stand on its own as a must read psychological thriller!

Anna has been housebound for ten months.  Why, unravels itself over the first few chapters – she suffers agoraphobia after a trauma that changed her from a confident child psychologists into a recluse.  As a consequence, she has remained in the family home but her husband and daughter, Olivia, have moved out.  She still keeps in touch but her only real comfort is the bottle and her only real entertainment is her black and white movies and her neighbours.

She has grown to know them without actually really knowing them.  She has had some contact with some, and none with others.  But she mixes her movie watching with the scenes revealed by moving from room to room where she can observe her neighbours through the windows.

New neighbours, the Russells, become more real to Anna as they make an effort to spend time with her.  First the teenage son, Ethan, who has been told to deliver a present by the new arrivals.  And then the Mum, Jane, who is initially a Florence Nightingale when Anna tries to fend off abusive children by going outdoors (a massive panic attack stops her in her tracks) and then visits more frequently. But is it the drink and Anna’ imagination or is there really something mysterious, troubling and, worse, secrets with life threatening implications, that Ethan is so terrified and his Mum, well, his Mum it seems does not really exist. Powerful stull and so compelling that I found myself rushing through the pages to find out whether Anna’s credibility survives or are her claims perceived as a cry from a lonely, troubled 40 year old?

Phylippa Smithson

So well written and reminiscent of 'Rear Window' I was completely hooked. A really good read and one I'll be passing on to my friends no doubt.

I very nearly gave up on this book after reading the first couple of pages (and I HATE giving up on a book!) but I was so sure this wasn't my type of novel purely because I couldn't get to grips with the way it was written - confusing, unsettling, with staccato, short sound bites of narrative and conversation - but who was she talking to? Where was she? What was she doing? I just couldn't grasp it at all. It wasn't clear. I didn't understand and I don't like books I don't understand in that way and not being able to paint a clear picture in my head of the narrator and their surroundings. But I'm so glad I persevered and as you discover and start to understand more about Anna, the person behind the narrative, you realise that those first few unsettling chapters actually reflect her character so well and the unbalanced state of her mind and are so very descriptive of the shaky constricted life she is now living.

 For me this novel really kicked in and got interesting several chapters in and I just loved the recurring references to Hitchcock throughout the book (I now want to sit and watch all his films again !) and the encounter with the police in her flat was so dramatic and so Hitchcockian (is that a word ?!) - the way Anna was so sure of what she had heard and seen and which everyone else was trying to insinuate didn't really happen and was only a figment of her unsettled state of mind due to the alcohol and pills; it was thrilling. So well written and reminiscent of 'Rear Window' and by then I was completely hooked. The massive twist in the plot of 'whodunnit' was totally unforeseen and brilliantly engineered as was the final 'chase' through the house to the shattering conclusion but nicely rounded off with a life affirming positive ending. A really good read and one I'll be passing on to my friends no doubt. Sometimes it really does pay to hang in there regardless!

Judith Waring

This was a very good story with a very surprising ending that I had not guessed at all. I loved it and if you love a good thriller then this is the one for you! Excellent!

This was a deeply disturbing read for many reasons, the main character is a lady doctor who is agoraphobic, also has a drink problem and is also abusing medication. You understand from early on that she has been through something traumatic and she is still struggling to cope but is fooling herself. My heart went out to her, she is really caring to those who she comes into contact with but that proves to be dangerous one day when she sees something happen with her camera across from where she lives. You kind of don't know if the narrator is reliable because of her drink and daily drug use so as the story progresses you are on a dark journey full of jaw dropping surprises with her.

Edel Waugh

A fascinating read with a deliciously slow reveal and twist at the end. Highly recommended and enjoyable.

This story is of a woman held captive within the four walls of her home by her agoraphobia. We are in turn captivated ourselves by a desire to know more...what has made her like this, and is the drama she sees unfolding in the house across the street the product of delusion, boredom or in fact reality. Compellingly told, we feel for Anna as she tries to keep busy, though her heavy drinking does not help her state of mind and is decidedly counter-acting against any of the medication and therapy that should be helping her. We wonder if she really does want to join the outside world again and more than that, we care about her. So we read on to find out more....her family who have left her, her new neighbours who seem to be neglecting their son, the lodger who comes and goes at odd times, her past ...and then the stabbing across the street , the blood on the window and the sceptical police.

Jillian McFrederick

A. J. Finn Press Reviews

`Astounding. Thrilling. Lovely and amazing. I could weave in more superlatives but you get the idea. Finn has created a noir for the new millennium, packed with mesmerizing characters, stunning twists, beautiful writing and a narrator with whom I'd love to split a bottle of pinot. Maybe two bottles-I've got a lot of questions for her.  Gillian Flynn

'Twisted to the power of max. Hitchcockian suspense with a 21st-century spin'  Val McDermid

`A dark, twisty confection with an irresistible film noir premise. Hitchcock would have snapped up the rights in a heartbeat'    Ruth Ware

'The Woman in the Window is one of those rare books that really is unputdownable. The writing is smooth and often remarkable. The way Finn plays off this totally original story against a background of film noir is both delightful and chilling'   Stephen King

`An incredible debut, I absolutely loved it. I read The Woman in the Window in a single day. Full of suspense and surprises and told with heart, The Woman in the Window will send readers racing through its pages. A stunning first outing from A. J. Finn. He is a tremendous new talent'   Jane Harper, bestselling author of The Dry 

`Amazing. Riveting. Just plain fantastic!'  Tess Gerritsen

'A truly phenomenal debut. A taut, utterly compelling story. Smart, heart-wrenching - and really scary'  Nicci French

'Amazing. What an elegant, beautifully written thriller. I loved Dr Fox from the word go, and the twists and turns were just exquisite. It 's so rare to find a story so compelling, yet so gracefully told - the flair and class of Hitchcock on every page. It's quite a cliche, but I was genuinely walking around the house/answering the door/eating my meals with the book in my hand.'   Joanna Cannon, bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep   

`Dense, brilliant and unforgettable; tight in focus, widescreen in execution'  Jenny Colgan

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008288570
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008333324
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008234188
Publication date: 27/12/2018
Format: Paperback

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About A. J. Finn

A. J. Finn has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and The Times Literary Supplement. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window, has been sold in thirty-eight territories worldwide and is in development as a major motion picture from Fox. A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years before returning to New York City.

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