Book Review: The Fence by Meredith Jaffe
Gwen Hill resides with her husband Eric in an idyllic suburban neighbourhood in Rosedale. They were the first home owners in the area, some 54 years ago.
Gwen is a passionate gardener, and has been writing a gardening column for 40 years.
Her best friend, next-door neighbour Babs Mody, recently passed away from stomach cancer, and when Babs' son Michael announces that he plans to sell the house, Gwen is interested to see who the new residents next door to her on Green Valley Avenue will be.
It isn't long before married couple Francesca 'Frankie' Desmarchelliers and Brandon Boyd shift in, with 4 young children and 2 dogs in tow.
Frankie works full-time whilst Brandon is the house husband.
They moved to the area to start afresh after problems in their marriage, in the hope that a change of scenery may be beneficial for their relationship.
When they want to erect a fence between their property and next door, they are met with refusal from their neighbours.
Gwen's reasoning behind it is that she has a row of trees that she claims serve as an informal division of the properties that have been there for years, which she has taken excellent care of.
Unable to work out an agreement, the matter is then taken to court on two separate occasions, and the outcome isn't all that satisfying for either party.
As Gwen faces challenges with Eric's health, and Frankie finds herself stressed out trying to juggle her job, the kids, and Brandon, their priorities shift, but the conflict between them continues..
Will they ever be able to see eye-to-eye, or is a neighbourhood war imminent?
I was so enraptured with this book that I finished it within a couple of days. The author has done a remarkable job with this novel. We hear about these sorts of things on the news occasionally, and this is a fantastic portrayal of that neighbourhood drama.
I was able to feel empathetic towards both of the main female characters, and although I did side more with Gwen, I just couldn't dislike Frankie.
Even when I didn't agree with her and found her to be quite stubborn and a person who jumped the gun in many situations, I still felt empathy, which I wasn't expecting. Author Meredith Jaffe makes the reader feel like they know so much about each and every character, including the children. They all added a different perspective which I adored.
I give this book top marks as there isn't anything I could fault. Even the cover is gorgeous.
If you haven't read The Fence, then put it on your list pronto!