Saturday, August 17, 2013


Title: Newton Neighbors
Author: Suzy Duffy
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication Date: September 26, 2013
Genres: Romance, Humor
Reviewed by: Margitte
Source: NetGalley
Margitte’s smiley rating: 5/5


Crystal Lake—in the suburbs of Newton—is one of the most desirable places to live in Boston, and Newton Neighbors is a romantic comedy about its colorful residents just trying to “live the dream.” Things, however, rarely go as planned. The story starts with two fire trucks and a couple of cop cars getting called to the upmarket road, and that’s when things begin to heat up.

The Ladies of the Lake:

Maria’s best asset has always been her hot Puerto Rican body, but she sees the effect a new sitter has on her husband, so she decides to fight back the hands of time.

Cathi is Maria’s best friend and greatest admirer. Her own life is pretty good, too. Still, she can’t help being consumed with ambitions to live on the water. She spirals from persuasion to coercion to deceit faster than you can say ‘change of address,’ but will she succeed?

Noreen may seem like the nice little granny from next door. However, it’s the quiet ones you need to watch. While facing forty is a nightmare for Maria, Noreen’s living large at eighty. She believes “the only thing worse than a weak dollar is a weak martini.”

Jessica is in America to study. But when she takes a babysitting job in Newton, she gets more than she bargains for in the shape of fine-looking firefighter. We learn soon enough that not all heroes are good—but is bad better?

Thankfully we have Ely, Jessica’s crazy roommate, who keeps everyone laughing and partying, too.

There’s Botox, Bollinger, and a randy Bulldog. We have fireworks, fistfights, and family fiestas. It’s a story that stretches from Boston, to London, to beautiful Puerto Rico.

Welcome to the wet ‘n’ wild world of Newton Neighbors.


This is reality in all its splendor. A little bit of "Couples Retreat", mixed in with a slight touch of "Wisteria Lane" (although on steroids) and some quirky moments from "According to Jim" and in a sadistic moment I thought a few moments of "Big Bang Theory" would have thrown them off kilter just a little bit more. The problem is that the crazy bunch of scientists would not have made it quite into this Newton neighborhood, not ambitious enough!

The fading out of one scene and the fading in of the next scene from the similar kind of scenario, reminded me of a possible movie script. You know, one character sits at the table eating a sandwich at the end of the chapter and another character takes a plate and puts it into the dishwasher after finishing a similar sandwich in the beginning of the following chapter, sort of thing.

But my dear fellow sugars, honeys, babes, angels, Snootin' Newton is preparing for landing! Okay give or take a few indiscretions and idiosyncrasies, popular Crystal Lake Lane in Newton is the address to die for. It is the place where trust fund babies are born, where half the kiddos born last year were Fifty Shades babies; where the children are always immaculately dressed with good manners, Dr. Phil is the highlight of each day, mums cocoon themselves in love-bubbles of soft pink and blue; marathon mums favors exercise much more essential than waxing; miracle underwear and tornadoes in glasses builds up enough va va vooms in wives to blow the spouses brains out so that they cannot think about the knockout gorgeous babysitters, such as Jessie Armstrong, with the posh English accent, the masters degree student in psychology. 

Meet our new neighbors:

Rick and Maria Sanchez living in no.7 Crystal Lake Lane, with their kids Cody and Alice (yes this family has its own Fifty Shades baby too);

Cathi (severe, wary, suspicious, highly ambitious, a vicious adversary) and her successful corporate husband Michael with kids Katy and Stacey;

Noreen Palmer the Sanchez's neighbor - an Angela Lansbury mold; her son Greg, with grandson Todd across the road. She believes "If you can't find Mr. Right, you might as well play with Mr. Wrong". She should know, she is living her aftermath of the Sixties and could count Marilyn Monroe as a personal guest in her lakeside mansions; The only thing worse than a weak dollar is a weak martini, says the feisty eighty-year old dame who is living large at her age.

Ely Briskin- the southern perennial cowboy boots, moonshine girl with the " subtlety of a snowplow" as Jessie's dormitory room mate, the Briskin Hair Care-heiress, who is making a whopping profit on bootleg Balinger and prohibition pinot grigio in the alcohol-free dormitory, while developing her own Shampoo range for the delicate curls Down Under, which has nothing to do with Australia. Now talk about a "company going pubic!" Ely, the girl "who usually barges through doors, friends, life."

Dan Walker - the roguish candidate for a fireman calender, pumped biceps and falcon tattoo, his organ donor Bugatti motorbike and all, with the t-shirt stretching all over his torso for the right reasons...

Okay, let the 23-year old Jessie do the schemin', we old hags can do the dreamin'....we're not dead yet, for goodness' sake!

After the fire alarm incident, Maria lost her self confidence, especially when her antennae picked up Rick's hormonal desperation to proof that there is still a lot of pop left in the popcorn. Maria is feeding her uncertainties to Alice the baby."
You see Alice, I am old, fat, and don't get me started on stupid." 

Uh-oh, Sheldon alert! Do I hear a 'Bazinga' coming on! Remember this scene with Penny?

Sheldon: Why are you crying?
Penny: Because I am stupid.
Sheldon: That's no reason to cry. One cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid, and that makes me sad."

Soon not only the seasons will change in the lane. Rosebud wallpaper will even be considered cat vomit as well. And in reflection of the metaphorical high-voltaged fireworks display that shook the inhabitants and the innocent homes, Fifi, the Shih Tzu, and Rusty, the bulldog, will produce a Botox-induced litter of Bull-Shits, while Orga, the Labrador, will watch over them like a grandmother. In fact, Bull-Shits are not only the new kids on the block, they are the "new must-haves!" 

Living in Crystal Lake lane is like being specially chosen as babies and dropped into awesomeness! If it was impossible to forget Wisteria Lane, you won't do any better with Newton Neighbors either. Anything that leaves a trail of glitter will always shine!

My five star rating: It is not a fairy tale - the villain is the hottest guy on the block, in fact! And everyone makes stupid mistakes that would have Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory bawling his eyes out. The characters are very well developed; the plot is perfectly constructed, all the elements come together as it should. The story delivers on its promises. It is predictable and clichéd enough to make it an all-American heartwarming romantic comedy. It leaves a happy pumping of the heart behind. 

I need to read this kind of book to counterbalance everything else I indulge in. It is fast moving and exhilarating; makes fun of all our silly hang-ups; is a thrilling jog through the American psyche of hard work, resilience, and all the right reasons for good living. How I would love to live in Chrystal Lake Lane!

To be honest, when I started out I thought the book was going to be boring beyond howling. I was so wrong! 

If you desperately need a feel-good thrill in your life, with a couple of fireworks thrown into the mix for a few personal hollering crack-ups, this book is for you!


Newton Neighbors by Suzy Duffy has 13 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



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