The Woman Who Tried To Be Normal

The Those Strange Women Series, Book 3

By Anna Ferrara

How well can you know your neighbours?

In 1975, Helen Mendel married a widower and aircraft engineer, moved into his suburb in Los Angeles, 375 miles away from Area 51, and got herself merrily settled into a life of domestic bliss with nothing but her husband’s pleasure on her mind.

Ethel Ashlock, wife of her husband’s colleague, a depressed alcoholic addicted to Valium with unfulfilled dreams of becoming a pilot, hates her on sight. She thinks Helen’s just another boring, brain-washed housewife and doesn’t make any effort to hide how much she detests her.

She doesn’t realise Helen is not as commonplace as she appears; that she has synaesthesia—the ability to see sounds, hear images and taste feelings—and a past she’s not telling anyone, not even her husband, about.

Things change when Helen, having tolerated enough of Ethel’s persistent hostility, lifts her veil of pretence. Ethel soon finds herself blackmailed, frightened, and also… irresistibly intrigued by her new neighbour.

She becomes obsessed with getting Helen to like her and soon discovers they have more in common than she previously thought. Neither of them believe their husbands are truly aircraft engineers, for one, and neither of them believe Helen’s husband’s former wife, Violet, actually killed herself in the year before…

Together, the two women work to uncover the truth about Violet’s sudden death, until they discover the truth, not out there, but closer than either of them ever thought possible…

About the series:
Those Strange Women is a series of six books about the lives of six ‘unusual’ women over nine decades. Amidst changing attitudes towards women and homosexuality, the women grow, adapt and find their own ways of existing in a world in which they don’t quite belong. A few of them learn to love but most learn to hate; a few of them fail to thrive but most survive and develop a taste for revenge.

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