Luana Lewis the author of Don’t Stand So Close is a psychologist so it is no wonder that her debut novel features some damaged people.
When agoraphobic Stella is confronted by a knocking at her door she wants to ignore the sound and the possibility that someone has managed to get passed the sensor which is there to warn of intruders. It is snowing and the girl on her doorstep introduces herself as Blue, she used to live in the house and wants to come in out of the cold, and so the story starts.
We have the present with Stella and Blue, what should Stella believe? Is there any need to feel quite so scared of a young girl? Stella had been a psychologist and it looks like her last case may explain why she is so frightened to leave her own home. Luckily for the reader we have an insight to her casebook in 2009 and gain an understanding of the woman she was before…. Max, Stella’s husband is also a psychologist, we also see some of his sessions through his patient’s eyes.
I loved the structure of this book, I get a real sense of satisfaction when reading a book with different viewpoints and I’m interested in the way minds work, particularly damaged minds. The difficulty I had with this book (and others like it) is that those suffering mentally, often have irrational feelings which I find hard to follow. To be blunt, I wanted to shake some of the characters as the denouement became more and more obvious. As the book had revealed enough clues by the half-way stage for me to realise what the links probably were, from that point on, bar some events which I found quite shocking, I felt that I was going through the motions to find out what I already knew.
Having said that there is some great writing in this book. Luana Lewis set the scene impeccably, I think I could probably sell Stella’s house it was so vividly described! The snow falling outside added to the feeling of helplessness that poor Stella felt and was mirrored in little Blue poorly dressed for the wintry weather and in need of something….. A great book for whiling away a few hours on a cold weekend.
I’d like to thank Bantam Press for allowing me to read a copy of this book in return for my honest review. Don’t Stand So Close is due to be published today 13 February 2014!