REVIEW – The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

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Expected publication: March 6, 2018, by St. Martin’s Press

 

This is my second read from Sally Hepworth. I wondered if I could possibly enjoy this novel as much as I enjoyed her previous novel, “The Mother’s Promise”.  Well I did, I absolutely loved this novel.

“Do you ever really know your neighbours?”

The suburb of Pleasant Court really lives up to its name. It’s a perfectly pleasant place with perfectly pleasant people. An ideal place to raise children.

Essie Walker had quite a hard time adjusting to motherhood the first time around. In fact, one day almost ended in disaster. Thankfully, disaster was averted, and Essie improved. Now it is three years later, and Essie has another daughter, Polly. Things have been easier this time around and Essie is lucky to have her mother living next door, able to help out. Polly had been quite an easy baby at first. However, lately, she’s been waking almost hourly and almost never naps. Essie’s mother and husband are a little worried about how Essie is handling things.

But now everyone is distracted by a newcomer to Pleasant Court. Isabelle Heatherington has apparently moved to Melbourne for work. But why would a single woman with no children rent a four bedroom home for just her to live in? And why is she asking so many questions about her neighbours and their children?

When Essie meets Isabelle she feels an instant connection. She could use a new friend. Though she gets along with her neighbours, Fran and Ange, they aren’t what you would consider friends…more like friendly acquaintances.

 “If Ange was the image of the life you wanted to lead, Fran was the image of the person you want to be”

But there’s more to Fran and Ange than meets the eye….

Fran constantly has the feeling that her life is a moment away from unraveling completely. Her husband, Nigel wonders why she is constantly breaking down in tears. Fran runs for miles every day until her legs and chest burn. It’s almost like she’s punishing herself, literally running herself into the ground.

Then we have Ange and her gorgeous husband, Lucas. The perfect husband and father…though she can never seem to find him when she needs him. Why won’t she ask the questions that continue to plague her? Are the pictures she constantly posts on Instagram really to show everyone how great her life its? Or is she #tryingtoconvinceherself

So many secrets!!!

During this Melbourne summer heat wave, things definitely start to heat up around Pleasant Court.

PHEW! As I said at the beginning of my review, I LOVED this novel. Sally Hepworth has a remarkable ability to create stories with relatable characters that are completely entertaining. The story is told from multiple points of view, which can sometimes be hard to keep up with, but I honestly had no problem keeping things straight.

This novel deals with many different issues, some that I wouldn’t have expected, and I can clearly see that the author has done her research. It made me think about the things we will do to keep the peace. The questions we don’t ask. How complicated marriage, relationships, and parenthood can be.

While reading the last few chapters, nothing short of a 911 emergency would have made me put this book down. I HAD to know how things were going to turn out. Everything is revealed at a perfect pace. We learn what’s happening in each household, and it all comes together in what I thought was a fantastic and satisfying way.

Sally Hepworth has written another thought-provoking and entertaining novel with the perfect amount of intrigue and suspense.  A story of love, family, secrets, lies, forgiveness and so much more.

“The Family Next Door” was one of my top ten most anticipated reads for 2018 and I can honestly say that although it’s still the beginning of the year, I’m pretty sure that this book will be on my top ten best reads of 2018.

I can’t wait to see what Sally Hepworth comes up with next!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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