That Stranger Next Door by Goldie Alexander (Clan Destine Press)
PB RRP $18.00 Available also as EBook
EBook ISBN 9780992492441
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
It’s 1954. The Petrov scandal has made the news and the threat of communism casts shadows everywhere. A stranger moves into the empty flat above the Milk Bar next to Ruth and her family. The secrecy leads Ruth to believe that the woman is Eva Petrov. A strong friendship is formed between the two.
Ruth, highly intelligent and a scholarship student, is struggling to follow her own path in life regardless of the rigid restrictions imposed upon her by her family. Her dream of becoming a doctor is unacceptable to Ruth’s mother who sees it as too costly, and ‘who will want to marry a girl who looks at naked men?’ The idea of any kind of friendship/relationship with anyone of a different culture or religion is also forbidden. This becomes an issue for Ruth when she meets and falls in love with Catholic boy Patrick.
Goldie Alexander has created a riveting story with many layers to it. It is told through two points of view by the main characters. This approach gives a close and intimate look into their thoughts which adds mystery and tension, and keeps the pages turning.
The reader is immediately pulled into the era and setting. Its strong sense of place and time, descriptive historical happenings, social and political climate, class distinctions, and post-war prejudices, are plaited into a Romeo and Juliet romance that threads its way through the pages.
Perhaps Goldie Alexander’s best work yet, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, between the ages of 14-104, due to the many themes and issues covered.
It should be noted that some scenes contain sexual content.