Review: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Genre: Adult, Women's Fiction, Mystery 
Source: ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 
A gripping domestic page-turner full of shocking reveals, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Amanda Prowse and Kerry Fisher.

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It's the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.

Isabelle Heatherington doesn't fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.

But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange's compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won't let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park - and returned home without her.

As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread - and they'll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.
The truth was, despite appearances, she didn't know much about her neighbors at all. - eARC, Loc 663  
Throw in a Liane Moriarty comparison, as Sally Hepworth's The Family Next Door does in its synopsis, and a book quickly becomes a instant must read for me, no questions asked. 

As it turns out, The Family Next Door is indeed perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty. Gripping, well constructed, and deeply emotional, The Family Next Door sets out to answer an important question: how well do we know our neighbors? 

The Family Next Door focuses on five neighbors: Isabelle, Ange, Fran, Essie, and Barbara. Five seemed like a daunting number at first. I was worried about keeping everyone's narrative straight. Luckily, Sally Hepworth makes it easy. Each character is well developed, possessing a unique voice as well as their own distinctive issues. What I liked even more, however, was how the stories overlapped and came together. At the beginning of the book, the five women weren't all that close, but as the book progressed, they came closer and closer together, and I loved the freindship that developed. It wasn't perfect by any means - some bonds were stronger than others, sometimes lines were crossed and words misconstrued - but it gave the book an authentic feel. Additionally, I appreciated that none of the five women were flawless. I won't go too much into each women, but I will say that I found all to be likable as well as easy to root for. Even the ones who appeared villain-like were still likable - I could always find the redeemable amongst the bad. 

Additionally, I thought Sally Hepworth did a fantastic job of developing the plot. It was intricate as well as suspenseful. It was so hard to put this book down once I started. I just wanted to know more - what was Fran hiding? What were Isabelle's true intentions regarding her move? What was going on with Ange's husband? All these questions and more drove this book in a fast and tantalizing pace. I especially appreciated that Sally Hepworth relied on everyday problems to drive the book forward. It brought a realistic feel to the book. I also enjoyed that nothing was as it seemed. Sally Hepworth put so many fantastic twists and turns into play. I also thought she did a great job of evoking emotions with her story lines as well as her characters. Let me say it's so hard to maintain dry eyes during some of this book. 

In all, Sally Hepworth's The Family Next Door is a compelling addition to contemporary fiction. This may be my first book by her, but it certainly won't be my last. 

Also that ending? PERFECTION! It was bittersweet in some respects, but I couldn't have been happier with how we left the characters. 
4.5 stars!

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I'm looking forward to this one. I absolutely loved one of her books and was disappointed by the last, but still want to read this one. Sounds like it has a bit more mystery than her other novels!


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