The woman in the shed, Emily, and Cecilia are all intimately connected by one man - Aiden. They call him by different names, and know different facets of his personality. Only one of them knows the dark secrets of what Aiden is capable of, and she is the one that doesn't know his name.
The Quiet Tenant is the story of a woman that is hiding behind the name of Rachel - she has been kidnapped by a man and kept in his shed for 5 years. During this time, she has learned the rules to survive, which include many repetitions of "I'm sorry" and not fighting back, and is fairly certain that he has killed others during her stay in his shed. She doesn't completely know why he decided to spare her, but strives to maintain the tentative equilibrium to stay alive. One day, he tells her that he has to move soon, and the woman in the shed fears for her life again. He seems reluctant to kill her, and she takes advantage of that by working to manipulate him to take her along. She repeatedly assures him that she will be good and cooperative in the new place, because she wouldn't be alive without him.
However, a complication exists in the form of his daughter, Cecilia. The man has to come up with a story to tell Cecilia about why he is bringing this strange woman into their home, as well as figure out new work arounds to contain her while keeping his daughter clueless as to the real arrangement. While this is going on, Aiden is also beginning a romantic relationship with Emily. Will Aiden be able to keep all of these separate pieces of his life apart and juggle the complexity of the situation he has created, or will one of these women discover the truth behind the others and bring everything crashing down?
The Quiet Tenant was an intriguing read for me, as although it was a novel about a serial killer, it was told from a very different perspective as it included people who loved him. This emphasized that although he was a monster, he could be quite loving, and that he had a multitude of facets to her personality. What was it about him that drove him to kidnap and kill? Why did he see different women in different lights? How did he choose his victims vs. somebody that he took care of? We do not get to see Aiden's perspective, but the narrative of all 3 women is woven together with great skill to paint the picture of a man that is unbelievably cruel, but a loving father, and reminds us that you never truly know everything about anybody.
Thank you to the Clemence Michallon and to Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor Publishing the advance copy of The Quiet Tenant. It comes out on June 20th, 2023, and you'll want to scoop it up right away!
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