In a world where technology changes every minute and curiosity can get the better of people there is a Neighborhood filled with busy bodies, nosy people and gossip that fills their days as most of these people don’t work, creating rules and codes of dress for events and demanding strict guidelines for dealing with other neighbors, parties and even how to decorate your home and unpack your boxes.
Gretchen and Jarrod O’Malley moved into what appeared to be a quiet neighborhood called Sherwood Forest located in the small town of Shellville. The streets were named right after a Robin Hood novel and each home looked like the others and conformed to whatever the neighbors or neighborhood deemed proper. Imagine moving there, driving around to find a bakery for coffee and strudel but coming home out of nowhere comes the neighborhood coordinator of how things should be unpacked, where to place your plates and why everyone in this neighborhood does everything the same way. Maggie is relentless and refuses to take any hints and Gretchen gets more than an earful of unwanted information about the rules of living in this neighborhood. Imagine having everyone’s home phone number and addresses and next of kin on a master list. Finding Chet her husband rearranging Jarrod’s workshop and putting the pegs where everyone has there’s. But when Maggie shows up expertly dressed at all hours of the morning before the sun comes up, and then someone is watching their house staring at them from the slats in their windows. Privacy becomes a thing of the past and when you move into this neighborhood and get to know the neighbors along with Gretchen and Jarrod the next call you make might be to movers and renting a truck to get out of town fast.
This is nothing compared to learning that everyone has surveillance tapes, watches that can tape and record events and conversations as well as someone named Gladys who walks around with her clipboard taking notes, recording conversations and hiding in plain sight hoping to get what she needs but how what has yet to be revealed.
Things get out of hand every day and the unexpected happens as we learn about Reilly and Dorothy whose marriage is questionable and can’t stand the fact that her house is a shrine to dead stuffed animals. Added in we meet Holly who rents a room in another house with her five-year-old son and is labeled a tart when she for whatever reason decides to join the men on one of Reilly’s hunting trips but go at your own risk. You could be the next one shot.
It gets worse as we meet the Stanley family whose sons are thieves and hand with dangerous people and the chaos, they cause would make anyone bolt their doors and triple lock them.
Every minute is filled with drama, a neighborhood crisis as we get to learn the behind closed doors gossip and personal information about every neighbor.
Maggie is a wealth of information and she and Chet never have to work because suing neighbors for various things and infractions has kept them financially solvent at present. Hoping to have some quiet time is never possible for both Gretchen and Jarrod as one or some of their neighbors requests their presence at parties, neighborhood meetings or just morning coffee. We meet Gladys every day with her trusty clipboard writing but what? We meet Sandra the owner of the local bookstore hoping to complete her novel about this neighborhood. Would you want to be a character in this book?
The one doctor in town married to Sandra and dear Dorothy receptionist and know it all runs his office forget the privacy laws not in this town. But when all the neighbors are at a progressive Christmas dinner, the shock that some houses were robbed puts more than a damper on the party. The police come and warn them to be more vigilant, but the Stanley brothers manage to skate to often even though their own mother knows they’re guilty.
Tensions rise, Gretchen feels at her breaking point as other thing happen and somehow her dog ,Mr. Parker is poisoned. That’s just the beginning and you won’t believe how and who’s blamed and what role Gladys plays in the death of her dog and one more.
New neighbors arrive and poor Lisa the wife meets hurricane Maggie and her husband a victim of Chet. This is nothing compared to Thanksgiving dinner, required food preparation and where each item should be purchased.
Author Erina Bridget Ring crested a neighborhood that no one would ever really want to remain in filled with unpredictable events, headstrong neighbors and a controlling environment. Humorous at times and yet each couple had their own set of issues, family discord and fears. Deep down Maggie just seems to work be needed and Dorothy trying to salvage her life, while one man tries different looks in order restore his youthful appearance but only his stylist knows his secrets, but a mirror would help give him a reality check. But when Leonard Stanley has a heart attack and dies and Lucille his wife becomes part of a motorcycle gang, you must picture this in your mind. Added in the ire and anger when she paints her house an atrocious color and what the community does to make her repaint it . Poor Gretchen just wants some peace and quiet but instead finds these people on her doorstep every morning before the sun comes up Zane then the most outrageous thing happens that sets ever in a frenzy including the police.
What would you do if a motorcycle gang took over your neighborhood? What about chickens on a leash and even a pig and a rooster in someone’s front yard. This must be a sight to behold but events escalate, interfering neighbors become even more intrusive and Lisa and Maggie go head to head, as all of the neighbors bang heads at one time and then hidden secrets come out, technology wins out as conversations are taped, information is no longer private and the only way to function in this town is to stay silent, watch your actions and words, remember that everything you do can be instantly replayed for the world to see and whatever you do never confide in anyone, watch out for Gladys and her binoculars and clipboard and remember you too might be her next source of gossip as we don’t know what’s behind the first page of that clipboard.
The characters are quite diverse, yet all have one commonality they are nosy and thrive in gossip or maybe they just want to feel needed and important. The ending is quite startling as someone comes to terms with their unhappy fate, others just accept situations, lawsuits are filed but who wins and who loses and after it all Jarrod and Gretchen have to decide whether they want to remain in this neighborhood or well the only way you’ll learn the hilarious solution and conclusion is when you move into this neighborhood and join Gretchen and Jarrod in their neighborhood called Sherwood Forest and join in the fun, activating events and the humorous and unique neighbors that might get you wondering about yours. Funny, sad and at times tragic, this is one neighborhood that might strike you as warmly, quiet and beautiful but not everything can be seen in the surface. Welcome to Sherwood Forest and beware of the neighbors in his neighborhood. Filled with fun scenes, gossipy and nosy neighbors you don’t want to miss out on learning more so why not read The Neighborhood! Who knows there might be more to come! This neighborhood is right out of an episode of Desperate Housewives.
Fran Lewis just reviews