“ Genre: Romance / Author: Marisa Mackle / Paperback / 320 Pages / Book is published 2008-12-11 by Little Black Dress „
Tanya is a beauty therapist in Dublin and is desperate to marry her boyfriend Eddie. When he suddenly announces that he has a big question to ask over dinner, she is convinced that a proposal is on the horizon and is hugely disappointed when he merely asks her to move in with him. Dejected and humiliated at having to tell her family that there won't be a wedding after all, she decides to accept his offer in the hope that it will be a step on the commitment. Meanwhile, model Alice has left Dublin for LA on the say-so of her boyfriend, Bill, in the hope of starting a new life Stateside. As it begins to sink in that this relationship isn't going to go anywhere, she heads back home to Dublin and becomes Tanya's neighbour-from-hell.
Tanya is a likeable enough character and I empathised with her over her boyfriend's apparent lack of commitment, even if she did jump the gun a bit on that one. For a short while, I also had some sympathy for Alice as her 'off' attitude appeared to be the result of her overzealous upbringing but that was quite quickly quashed once Tanya began to bring up her bitchiness towards her on their last meeting before Alice left for LA. At this point, she became rather unlikeable and her attitude towards Tanya after their first encounter after her return to Dublin is nothing short of rude and dismissive. I would be quite horrified to have someone like this as my next-door neighbour as Alice is pretty much a nightmare neighbour for Tanya due to Alice's intense dislike of her - not to mention the fact that Eddie was previously besotted with Alice and she is secretly hoping that he still is. It's not all one-sided though as Tanya doesn't take too kindly to having Alice around either, although she doesn't resort to Alice's tactics. Alice does slightly redeem herself towards the end of the story as her actions don't seem to have occurred purely out of spite (as I had previously believed given that she came across as that kind of person). For a while though, it was Eddie who was actually irritating me the most due to his apparent blindness to Alice and irritation with Tanya for not welcoming her with open arms but he won me over in the end and was never a nasty character in the first place (just a bit frustrating).
The title is quite misleading as the actual experience of living next door to Alice doesn't happen until round about halfway through the book, so there is a lot of background plot to get through before it gets to this point. Some might see this as unnecessary but I enjoyed reading the first half of the book as it gave a good insight into their characters before they end up living next door to each other. It's written in the third person in a typical chick lit style with chapters tending to focus either on Tanya or Alice. We don't get to see Eddie's perspective directly but this wasn't a big problem as enough was revealed in his conversations with Tanya and Alice.