In “The Perfect Neighbors,” Sarah Pekkanen addresses the question: Do you ever really know those around you? In a perfect town with perfect lawns and no crime live several women. They have become friends, but each is struggling with a personal problem that the others are not aware of. Each will need help before the end of the story.
The story is about friendship and family, and the lengths to which we will go to protect both. In this story, Kellie has started working after being a stay-at-home mom for many years. She relishes her high heels and new clothes and the feeling she gets when a handsome co-worker flirts with her. How much flirting will ruin her marriage?
Susan Barrett still struggles to recover from being blindsided when her husband left her — and whom he left her for was almost the worst blow. She admirably doesn’t allow her feelings to show to her son, but it’s difficult. She still stalks her husband and can’t let go of her feelings of betrayal. Gigi is the third main character. Her husband is running for Congress, but it’s making things difficult at home. Her teenage daughter, especially, is becoming emotionally distant from the family, and Gigi doesn’t know what to do. Then there is Gigi’s drinking problem and her rather colorful past. When Tessa, the fourth member of the group, and her husband move into the neighborhood, the group befriends her. But they also notice something mysterious about the family. Both husband and wife respond strangely to simple questions. What is the secret they are hiding?
Pekkanen slowly allows the reader to get to know this group of women. She gradually reveals their secret thoughts and pasts. She also effectively makes the readers care about each of them. And in the end, what Pekkanen shows through her story about these four women is that there is nothing like family and friends — they need to be cherished and appreciated each and every day.
Longtime fans of Pekkanen will relish this addition to her books, and new readers will surely become fans. (Washington Square Press)