The Neighbor by Bernadette Chapman

The Neighbor by Bernadette Chapman
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (75 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Anders like his life the way it is: quiet, ordered, neat. If that gets him called antisocial, well, it also gets him left alone and that’s the way he likes it.

Then a new neighbor, Finch, moves in and he is everything Anders hates. He’s nosy, over-friendly, and doesn’t know when to quit. He’s also cute and infuriatingly charismatic. Which is the only possible explanation for the way Anders keeps putting up with Finch and his crazy ideas, like training for a wife-carrying contest, instead of telling him to go away once and for all the way he should.

Anders and Finch have completely unrelated habits and interests. Will their opposite approaches to life be an asset, or will their differences turn out to be too big of a hurdle for them?

The pacing remained steady throughout the entire story. I was happy with how smoothly the scenes were written. There weren’t any instances of the plot moving too quickly or too slowly. Such stable pacing made it easy to stay focused on the storyline as I waited to see what would happen to the characters.

I would have liked to know more about the backstories of Anders and Finch. It was hard to emotionally connect to them because I knew so little about where they came from or why they approached life in such different ways. Having this information would have not only rounded out their personalities, it would have also helped to empathize with certain behavioral tics they both had that weren’t always easy to understand.

Not everyone has the same idea of what should and should not be considered fun. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this tale was how it explored what the characters did and did not consider to be a good use of their free time. The wife-carrying contest was particularly amusing. It’s not something I’d ever heard of before, but the narrator’s description of how it works made me smile. I can see how events like that would be worthwhile for some people.

The Neighbor is a good choice for anyone who is in the mood for something gentle and sweet.

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