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The Neighbor Favor


The Neighbor Favor

Lily Greene has always stuck out like a sore thumb among her elegant, high-achieving family. Her parents, who run a nursery, named their three daughters after flowers. Iris is a successful business woman and single mom. Violet is a glamorous stylist to the stars, engaged to marry a prominent music manager. And Lily? She's been working as an editorial assistant at a New York City publishing company for…far too long. Frustrated by her perpetual lack of a promotion and fed up with her sisters' attempts to set her up with entirely unsuitable dates, Lily prefers to retreat to her apartment with her beloved cat and a big stack of fantasy novels.

"THE NEIGHBOR FAVOR is a pleasantly satisfying romantic comedy that will appeal especially to those who enjoy novels set in the world of writing and publishing."

Lily's favorite fantasy novelist by far is a reclusive British author whose one and only book has been out of print for years. No one else seems to have heard of N.R. Strickland, but Lily loves the magical world he's created, populated by Black elves. Although Strickland's novel is for adults, reading it has always reinforced Lily's desire to eventually work in children's publishing, to give young readers the opportunity to discover more fantasy worlds that reflect their diverse identities and experiences. So when, after a particularly rough day, Lily stumbles across what appears to be a brand-new website for Strickland, she takes a chance and emails him through his webform, never imagining she'd hear from him.

But Strickland does write back, and the two begin a months-long email correspondence that becomes increasingly intimate and meaningful, seemingly to both of them. But just as they are about to try FaceTiming for the first time, Strickland abruptly bails, telling Lily in one last email message that he is not who she thinks he is and that their communication should cease.

Fast-forward a few months, and Lily --- who's now living with Violet in an apartment near Union Square --- strikes up a conversation with her handsome new neighbor, Nick Brown. She feels an instant rapport with him, which is very different from the other guys she's known. Little does she realize that that sense of comfort and familiarity comes from the fact that Nick is actually N.R. Strickland, who has moved to New York to relaunch his fantasy series, which also has been optioned for television. Lily invites Nick into her life quickly --- hatching a plan to bring him as a date to Violet's wedding and win a bet in the bargain --- which means that Nick is aware that the Lily he's just met in New York is none other than the Lily he was falling for via their online exchanges.

Nick has his reasons for hiding behind a pseudonym, and he's scared to reveal his true identity to Lily. Can he find a way to be honest with her? Can he help her find the courage to follow her professional dreams? And can he reconcile his childhood traumas with his dream of becoming a successful author who can inspire other readers like Lily?

THE NEIGHBOR FAVOR is a pleasantly satisfying romantic comedy that will appeal especially to those who enjoy novels set in the world of writing and publishing. Lily and her sisters set up a unique dynamic of support and competition intertwined. Included here is an excerpt from Kristina Forest's next book, featuring Violet, which readers will be pleased to see. At times the pacing is uneven, and the characters' motivations are not always sufficiently justified. That said, Forest has made a promising foray into adult romance, and readers will be eager to learn more about the Greene sisters.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on March 3, 2023

The Neighbor Favor
by Kristina Forest

  • Publication Date: February 28, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 0593546431
  • ISBN-13: 9780593546437