Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Julie's Review: The Family Next Door

Author: Sally Hepworth
Series: None
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: No matter how pretty the door of the house, there's always secrets behind it
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets. From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby. When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light. The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Review: The Family Next Door is one of those books that highlights just how little we really know about our neighbors and maybe about the ones we love the most. I have always said that you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors of our friends, let alone your neighbors.

Each of the women is dealing with her own secret that could shatter their worlds. Some of it their own making, some of it is from outside sources. Each of them changes and become stronger. Essie, who struggled with Postpartum after the birth of Mia, is silently slipping back into it with her baby Polly. She's trying to keep it quiet but both her mother and husband are noticing that something is off. That and her sudden interest in friendship the new neighbor, Isabelle worries her mom.

Then you have Fran, who has taken up running with gusto, which makes her neighbor friends wonder why but none of them dig deep enough to find out why. Fran is wracked with guilt (but you'll have to read the book to figure out why). So she runs to try and ease her mind but really doesn't help.

Then there's Ange who thinks that her husband Lucas is pretty awesome. The real question though, is he pretty awesome or is she looking at him through rose colored glasses.  Is she really willing to look at him without them on? Is she willing to take the consequences of him not being everything she's built him up to be?

I kept thinking how alone these women were in their struggles and how if they would have reached out to each other they would have or could have supported each other. The problem is that when you are dealing with your own issues, sometimes you can't see what others are going through. What I did like is how all of their issues did end up bringing them all together in the end.

Ms. Hepworth sets it up so that you think one thing and then it turns out to be very different. I love when authors do that and can keep you guessing. Also, I appreciated that it made sense and wasn’t a 180 from where I originally thought it was going. 

This is the first Sally Hepworth book I’ve read and while I know it’s different than her others, I’ll be reading her other books. That being said, pick it up!



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