I am more than a little addicted to subscription boxes, particularly book subscription boxes. I’ve tried everything from Bookish Box to Nocturnal Readers, Uppercase to OwlCrate, and even Indiespensable. One literary subscription box I hadn’t tried, however, was the Book of the Month Box. It hadn’t immediately appealed to me for two reasons 1) There wasn’t any surprise to it – you pick the book that you will receive. 2) It’s just a book – no extra goodies.
BUT…then I started thinking about my reasons for quitting the other boxes. Usually, it was because, while the extras were nice, a lot of the time they weren’t something I could really use and would end up just taking up space in a drawer. Also, the books that I received, while a nice surprise, weren’t exactly what I was in the mood to read, thus taking up space on my shelf until if/when I could get around to reading them. So, in a sense, Book of the Month Box is completely opposite the book boxes that I’ve unsubscribed from in the past. Shouldn’t that mean it’s worth a shot?
I started watching their monthly selections, the five books that you can select from (although you can always add extra books for $10/book). January’s selections were all tempting because they each had something in their description that sounded like it would be right up my alley. Two high intensity thrillers, a romance built on music, historical fiction about the Spanish flu, and a feminist dystopia. Could I really choose? Then, just as we were about to start the new year, a promotional code popped up in my feed advertising Book of the Month for one free month + your first month for $10. I couldn’t resist.
I’m on a thriller kick lately, and The Woman in the Window was calling my name. Its description heralded a modern Rear Window, a film I’d watched in college about a wheelchair-bound photographer who spies on his neighbors from his apartment and starts to believe he has witnessed a murder. It’s easy to see from the description how many similarities there are, but trust me when I say that the twists to The Woman in the Window will leave you thinking that the two stories are uniquely different.
Summary (via Goodreads):
Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times–and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Beyond having a great selection of books and being able to add multiple books to your box at a discounted price, BOTM also offers some additional add-ons that you can choose to receive. For January, you could pick up a free bookish coloring book, $1 wine koozies, and I believe some larger items like totes or shirts. I didn’t opt for the coloring book, thinking it would be just another thing that would sit in my already crowded desk drawers, but I did say “why not?” to the koozie – and I love it. It definitely pairs well with a good book!
If there was much hype about The Woman in the Window before it was published, I didn’t hear any of it. I picked it based on the Rear Window reference, my love of unreliable narrators, and the fact that I was just in the mood for something dark and fast paced. The Woman in the Window delivered on so many levels. Anna is a former child psychologist with a psychological disorder, and so the ways in which she analyzes herself through the fuzzy lens of mixing her booze and medication make for some fascinating narration. It was so convincingly real that sometimes I had to wonder if I, too, should put down my wine and shake off the chills Anna’s supposed delusions gave me.
The book is heavy with film references, most of which I didn’t get other than the obvious Rear Window and a few Hitchcock titles (I’m not much of a movie watcher.), but Anna is an avid watcher of old thrillers. She also entertains herself by playing online chess, chatting with other agoraphobes, talking to her daughter and ex-husband on the phone, watching the lives of her neighbors through her camera, and…oh yeah…chasing her abundance of medications with enough Merlot to choke a horse. It doesn’t altogether feel like Anna is really spying when she picks up her camera, but more you feel her longing and desperation to connect with others. When Anna’s new neighbors come to visit, she feels a connection that she hasn’t felt since her family left, a story which is slowly unraveled and entangles with the mystery of the murder Anna witnesses in her new neighbors’ home. You share in her frustrations as she struggles with what is real and what isn’t, and even the moments you think you see coming will leave you gripped with shock.
It’s a high suspense, anxiety fueled, wild ride, and it will have you racing through to the very end. What I don’t find surprising is the fact that, even before its publication, The Woman in the Window had already sold its movie rights. That’s one movie I will definitely look forward to watching (is it too early to suggest Connie Britton to play Anna?). Overall, it’s a solid debut from A.J. Finn, and I can’t wait to see what he writes next. I’d give this book five stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes a glass of wine and a good thriller.
I’ve already made my selection for February’s Book of the Month Box – but I’m not telling just yet! And if you’d like to try out Book of the Month for yourself, you can follow my link to get your first book for $14.99 + a free book when you join! You’ll get your first month for $14.99 (plus free shipping!) and then your second month will be free. Can’t beat that!