ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Nosy Neighbours by Freya Sampson #BlogTour

It’s my stop on the blog tour for Nosy Neighbours by Freya Sampson which is published by Zaffre and available now in paperback, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to the publishers for the review copy and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the place on the blog tour.

You can choose your home, but you can’t choose who lives next door . . .

Twenty-five-year-old Kat Bennett has never felt at home anywhere, especially not in crumbling Shelley House. The other residents think she’s prickly and unapproachable, but beneath her tough exterior, Kat is plagued by guilt from her past and looking for somewhere to belong.

Seventy-seven-year-old Dorothy Darling has lived in Shelley House for longer than anyone else, and if you believe the other tenants, she’s as cantankerous and vindictive as they come. Dorothy may spend her days spying on the neighbours, but she has a closely guarded secret herself – and a good reason for barely leaving her home.

When their building faces demolition, sworn enemies Kat and Dorothy become unlikely allies in their quest to save their historic home; and even less likely detectives when they suspect that foul play is coming from within Shelley House . . .

Nosy Neighbours is Freya Sampson’s third book and it’s the third one I have read and loved. It centres around Shelley House, a decaying house split into several flats in Chalcot (readers of Sampson’s first book, The Last Library, might recognise this location). Kat is drawn back to the village after years away and is considering renting a room in Joseph Chambers’ flat. Dorothy Darling lives in the other ground floor flat and their first meeting is not a particularly easy one. Nevertheless, Kat takes the room on a short term basis.

The residents of Shelley House are drawn together when the property is threatened with demolition and it’s then that Sampson’s ability to write so beautifully about community spirit comes into play. It’s such a lovely story of getting to know your neighbours and being united against a shared foe. Kat and Dorothy are the main characters but there are a number of other important folk. I had a particular soft spot for Joseph and his dog, Reggie, and I also grew to love Dorothy. She starts off as a cantankerous and rude old woman but as Kat (and the reader) gets to know her she realises there’s much more to Dorothy than a nitpicking busybody.

I thought this was a thoroughly heart-warming and engrossing read. It’s a feel-good story with characters that cover all of human life, both good and bad. It’s character-driven in the main but the fight against the demolition of Shelley House creates a plot that draws all the main players together. I love Freya Sampson’s writing and am looking forward to what she comes up with next. Oh, and as well as the nod to Chalcot, I also loved the little nod to the 88 bus from her second book. Fabulous!

Freya Sampson is the USA Today bestselling author of The Last Library and The Girl on the 88 Bus. She studied History at Cambridge University and worked in television as an executive producer, making documentaries about everything from the British royal family to neighbours from hell. She lives in London with her husband, children, and cats. Nosy Neighbours is her third novel.


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