The People at Number 9
by Felicity Everett
Meet the new neighbours. Whose side are you on?
Have you met the People at Number 9?
Sara and Neil have new neighbours in their street. Glamorous and chaotic, Gav and Lou make Sara’s life seem dull. As the two couples become friends, sharing suppers, red wine and childcare, it seems a perfect couples-match. But the more Sara sees of Gav and Lou, the more she longs to change her own life. But those changes will come at a price.
I picked this up at the library because it’s covered in quotes about how creepy and dark this story is. Its bright pink lettering made me think of Ruth Ware’s “In a Dark, Dark Wood” and even though I’d never heard of it, this seemed like my kind of book.
So let’s start by saying that this story isn’t creepy and it certainly isn’t dark. Rather “The People at Number 9” is an in depth character study exploring how we interact with other people, especially when someone new comes into our lives.
Parents Sara and Neil have new neighbours. They’re glamorous, spontaneous and creative and they make Sara and Neil’s lives seem quite boring in comparison. Their house may be falling apart but Gav and Lou seem like the perfect couple and the four of them soon become friends. The story plods along quite nicely as the couples and their families become closer… and that’s kind of it.
Of course it later turns out the relationships between them are too good to be true and things begin to fall apart towards the end, but that was bound to happen. There was never any doubt in my mind that Sara would eventually realise Lou was taking advantage of her kindness. You knew from the start that the new family on the street were going to shake things up a little, that they’d break existing relationships and make promises they could never keep. Nothing shocked me, there were no twists or turns that you couldn’t see coming. It wasn’t thrilling, just fine!
That said, this book did seem to have a hold on me to some extent. Nothing happened for about 80% of the book, yet I was still interested. The author some how immerses you into this neighbourhood drama in a subtle way that makes you want to find out what’s around the corner. It’s just a shame that there wasn’t much there in the end!
Overall rating: It’s 3 stars for “The People at Number 9”. It kept me entertained for a few days on the train, but I wasn’t wowed by the story and felt let down by the promise of a creepy plot full of suspense when all we really got was domestic fiction.