Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 314
The characters in A. J. Finn's bestselling novel The Woman in the Window include the character referenced in the title and several members of the Russell family.
Anna Fox, the woman referred to in the title, is an agoraphobic woman who lives alone in a five-story home in New York. She is a former child psychologist who is estranged from her husband, Ed, and daughter, Olivia. She drinks excessively and lives a very routine existence that consists of playing games online and participating in an online group for agoraphobia sufferers. She takes an interest in one member in particular from this online community. The central action of the plot revolves around Anna witnessing the murder of Jane Russell through her window and the police disregarding this, assuming it was a hallucination or the result of excessive drinking.
Ethan Russell is the teenage son of a family who moves in across the street from Anna. He meets Anna when delivering a candle as a gift from his mother. Anna's experience as a child psychologist makes her worry about Ethan's father's effect on him. The novel's close reveals Ethan to be unlike what he seems for much of the novel; he has been sneaking into Anna's home and photographing her asleep, and he becomes obsessive about her. Ethan kills his birth mother, whose name is Katie.
Ethan's mother, Kate (allegedly Jane for much of the novel), goes to Anna's home for an evening visit. She enjoys drinking and playing chess and finds Anna liberating. Anna is convinced that she sees Jane murdered, but this woman is in fact Ethan's biological mother (named Katie), not Ethan's unwitting adoptive mother.
Ethan's father abets his son's murder of his biological mother by helping to hide the body. Anna suspects that Ethan's father is controlling, as he comes over to her house to ask if his wife has been there.