As the younger brother, Tommy’s always had a freedom that Judah didn’t. He was free to play childish games with Annie, indulge in adolescent hijinks, and just enjoy being free of responsibility. Judah wasn’t quite so fortunate, he has responsibilities and was doomed to sit on the sidelines watching as Tommy and Annie’s romance blossomed – and denying that he was in love with his brother’s girlfriend. Twenty years after Annie skipped town she returns and Judah’s stuck in the same position he once was – only this time he’s older and more mature… and hopeful that this time things will end differently.
Annie’s convinced herself that she’s only returning to Melgrove to reassure herself that Tommy and Judah are alright. That the rift she caused between them has been mended… all she has to do is verify that they’re happy with their current lives and she’ll be free to move on with hers – guilt free. Only that’s not exactly what happens. She runs into Judah first, who blatantly lies about Tommy’s whereabouts and marital status, then later runs into Tommy and unable to deny his request for a dance – or anything else for that matter. Neither man has moved on and Tommy makes no apologies that he’s waited for her all these years – but Annie knows choosing one brother over the other is a disaster in the making. Fleeing again seems like the most logical decision, but maybe if they’re brave enough they can come up with a solution that will lead to all their happiness.
Sierra Dafoe’s THE BOYS NEXT DOOR is a combination of teenage angst, first loves, scorching sex, and a passion that hasn’t died during a twenty year separation. While Tommy and Annie might have shared all their firsts, Judah was always right there with them – watching and loving her but knowing she belonged to his brother. Ms. Dafoe tells this story from an adult perspective but gives glimpses into what happened in the past so as a reader you’re really able to empathize with all the characters. Each of these characters is lovable in their own right, but it’s when they come together that you can truly see the raw emotions at play and fall in love with them as a threesome.