I am so happy to share my review for Cobble Hill by Cecily von Ziegesar.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: General Fiction
Published: November 10th, 2020
From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of the Gossip Girl series, a deliciously irresistible novel chronicling a year in the life of four families in an upscale Brooklyn neighborhood as they seek purpose, community, and meaningful relationships—until one unforgettable night at a raucous neighborhood party knocks them to their senses.
Welcome to Cobble Hill.
In this eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood, private storms brew amongst four married couples and their children. There’s ex-groupie Mandy, so underwhelmed by motherhood and her current physical state that she fakes a debilitating disease to get the attention of her skateboarding, ex-boyband member husband Stuart. There’s the unconventional new school nurse, Peaches, on whom Stuart has an unrequited crush, and her disappointing husband Greg, who wears noise-cancelling headphones—everywhere.
A few blocks away, Roy, a well-known, newly transplanted British novelist, has lost the thread of his next novel and his marriage to capable, indefatigable Wendy. Around the corner, Tupper, the nervous, introverted industrial designer with a warehouse full of prosthetic limbs struggles to pin down his elusive artist wife Elizabeth. She remains…elusive. Throw in two hormonal teenagers, a 10-year-old pyromaniac, a drug dealer pretending to be a doctor, and a lot of hidden cameras, and you’ve got a combustible mix of egos, desires, and secrets bubbling in brownstone Brooklyn.
Smart, sophisticated, yet surprisingly tender, Cobble Hill is highly entertaining portrait of contemporary family life and the colorful characters who call Brooklyn home. – synopsis from Goodreads
I chose to pick up Cobble Hill by Cecily von Ziegesaroto to try something different. The premise looked interesting and the cover caught my eye. I hate saying this but it’s not that I wasn’t expecting much but I didn’t know which way it would go for me. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
It’s hard to describe this Cobble Hill as it is not filled with non-stop action or have a rich world-building. What it is though is a story about people. The setting takes place in this Brooklyn neighbourhood where we meet up with a few of its residents and follow them through their lives and mishaps. Our cast consist of four families. First, we have Roy, a British author, looking for inspiration to write his next book. He just moved to America with his wife Wendy who is in search of accomplishement at her new job and their teenage daughter Shy infatuated with her latin teacher. Next door to them lives Tupper an inventor. Tupper is awaiting the return of his infamous wife Elizabeth, an artist, who flees their home from time to time. Then there’s Stuart, ex-rock star turned stay at home father, his wife Mandy who unapologetically steals meal-kit boxes from her neighbours’ porches and their young son Teddy. And lastly, Peaches the school nurse underwhelmed with her life, her husband Greg and their teenage son Liam.
You won’t find a big intrigue in Cobble Hill. It’s really a book about, well about nothing and everything at the same time. The way Cecily von Ziegesar decided to write this story reminds me of the movie Love Actually. If you’ve seen it you’ll see what I mean. Though you don’t see it at the beginning, every single character is connected. It is really an introspection in a little community and how they interact with one another. How one’s actions will influence another’s. I quite enjoyed the story. I thought it was different from what I usually read and that was refreshing. Each chapter is told from a different perspective but it doesn’t stop the story from moving. With such a large cast one could think that the story will be hard to follow but the timing in Cobble Hill is just right. The story evolves through all these narratives at just the right tempo and always follows the timeline. At no time was I lost or did I feel behind.
You can sense that Cecily von Ziegesar loves the city of New York as it plays not only as the backdrop of the Cobble Hill but feels almost like a character. You could feel the life of this place through the story telling. It felt alive. And by the end was probably the only one unchanged.
If you are in the mood for a light quirky book about a bunch of neighbours and their drama then Cobble Hill might just be what you need.