Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: The Family Next Door

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. -- St. Martin's Press

I could have easily chosen to review THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR by Sally Hepworth for my Mystery Mondays feature because there is definitely an element of mystery surrounding the main characters in this novel. However, I think this book will appeal more to readers who appreciate well-crafted novels about families and suburban drama.

Essie seemingly has it all -- a great husband, two beautiful daughters, a nice house and a mom who lives nearby and helps with her kids. What more could a woman ask for, right? But things aren't quite what they seem. Essie suffered from a serious breakdown after the birth of her first child, and she even left her baby behind at a public park. She got the help she needed, but with the birth of her second child, she lives with the fear that she will have another breakdown.

And then Isabelle moves onto Essie's street, and Essie suddenly fears different -- more alive if you will. Everyone is curious about a single woman renting in the neighborhood when there are all families who have bought their houses, and even Isabelle's job seems to be a bit of a mystery; however, Essie is charmed. She becomes almost obsessed with spending time with Isabelle despite warnings from her friends and mother, and it's not until later that Isabelle's presence in the neighborhood makes sense.

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR is a compelling story about women who live in a "'perfect" neighborhood" but have many secrets. Both Essie and Isabelle are definitely not what they seem and definitely represent that appearances can be deceiving. I enjoyed this novel and its characters quite a bit and definitely thought the novel was intriguing. The ending was packed with quite a few surprises and I think many readers will be kept guessing about these women's past actions.

The story was told in alternating chapters through the voices of various characters in the novel, and I thought the author did a good job in bringing each woman's character to life. I felt as if I got to know each of the characters as well as their secrets, and I was definitely vested in each of them.

At its heart, THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR represented that everyone has secrets that threaten to come out no matter how much we try to hide them. Each of the woman in this story were flawed and trying to cope with having imperfect lives which many readers will relate to. However, some of the secrets these woman were hiding were pretty dramatic (much more so that the average woman.) I appreciated the intriguing stories that these woman were hiding, and they definitely made for good reading!

Fans of Liane Moriarty and even the show Desperate Housewives will want to check out THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

This was my first Hepworth and I liked it a lot. I want to read more of her work now.

Unknown said...

This is the 4th Hepworth, and I have now read them all. This is a very good book that I enjoyed a lot. I would have to say, though, that I liked the 1st 3 just a smidge more. Admittedly there's not much to choose from among the 4. Just read them all in any order that you want.