Sunday, March 4, 2018

✱✱ Book Review ✱✱ The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

The Family Next Door
by Sally Hepworth  


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.


The Family Next Door releases March 6th

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Momma Says: 2 stars ⭐⭐

This one had great potential to be a gripping story of suspense. Unfortunately, I didn't find it particularly gripping or suspenseful. There is a bit of mystery, but even with a few red herrings thrown in, it wasn't hard to figure it out. The whole thing reads a bit like a soap opera or a bad Lifetime movie, except that there are fewer characters here likable enough to root for. I spent a good portion of this book feeling sorry for Essie's husband, Ben, who seems to be the only person on this street that has any sense. And not to belittle postpartum depression in any way, but I might've had more than a hot minute's worth of sympathy for Essie except that three years later, she has a second child who is apparently the perfect baby - until she's not and Essie isn't getting enough sleep, so starts having similar problems as she did the first time. Of course, the rest of the people living on this street aren't any better. Among the men we have one who can't keep it in his pants and another who makes a bad financial decision and goes through a rather exaggerated depression, and among the women, we have the one who gets pregnant to keep her husband, the one who's baby may or may not belong to her husband, the clingy mother/grandmother, and the mysterious single woman who's in everybody's business. A couple of these not so likable characters do redeem themselves somewhat toward the end, but it wasn't enough for me to care much about them. After glancing at the many four and five star reviews for this story, I realize I'm in the minority here, but for me, this was a rather depressing story and the mystery, which could've been a redeeming element, was just too easy to figure out. 

**ARC provided by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press

Momma😘

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