The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons

 

This book was Fan-Freaking-Tastic!

 

Our narrator, Colquitt, is a hoity-toity lady of society in Atlanta in the 1970's. She and her husband Walter live next door to a beautiful wooded lot with a creek and their life is nearly perfect. Until the lot is sold to a couple who plan to build a beautiful modern home with lots of glass and chrome. Once the house goes up, perfection leaves their lives forever. 

 

I normally don't get into the plot in my reviews, and I'm not going to delve too deeply here, but there is one interesting thing that I would like to mention. I'm going to put a spoiler tag here, even though this is just an observation of mine, because it's something you should discover on your own. 

 

 

At the heart of it, this is a haunted house book. However, not one supernatural thing occurred in this book, depending on how the reader views it. Each thing that happened could easily be the result of flawed humanity. It's just that the building of occurrences, one atop the other, leads the reader to believe otherwise. It caused Colquitt and Walter to believe otherwise as well.  

(show spoiler)

 

The characters in this story are complicated and well drawn. Colquitt describes life in her "set" with humility and grace. It's funny, as this soap opera of a story continues, to find out what she discovers about some of her friends and neighbors; none of it is good. In my eyes, over and above the "haunting" itself, this is a tale of social classes and the differences between them. It's also a tad of commentary on the old south as well.  Even though Colquitt does come across as humble most of the time, there are a few incidents where she is just downright snobby, and she doesn't even realize it. 

 

All of this in a story told through outstanding, yet simple, prose. The atmosphere becomes palpable and the reader's dread just grows and grows. There is no true gore, there are no gross out moments...just a slow burning tale of something gone wrong with a house. And then going wrong again. And then going wrong again.

 

Do you dare enter The House Next Door? I highly recommend that you do!