The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.
The secrets of suburbia are always deliciously scandalous…. And sometimes they are downright criminal.
The perfect neighborhood, perfectly manicured lawns, perfect families. It all looks so picturesque from the outside, but when new neighbor, Isabelle, moves into the neighborhood of Pleasant Court, cracks suddenly begin to appear in that perfect veneer.
Elle, Fran, and Ange, are very curious about Isabelle, wondering why an older, single woman has moved into their family- oriented neighborhood. But, the three ladies all have major issues, besides drawing out their new neighbor, that are commanding their time and attention, behind closed doors, where their seemingly perfect lives are, in fact, unraveling.
I have not read any of this author’s other books, but this one was advertised as ‘for fans of Liane Moriarty’. I’m not sure if this is SH's usual style of writing or not, but while the comparisons to other authors is a marketing ploy I despise, in this particular case, I can see some similarities, but this author takes that format and puts her own unique spin on it.
There is just something about taking a nosy peek into your neighbor’s private lives that is irresistible. Getting to be the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’, this novel allows us to vicariously live out our unrequited desire to get a glimpse into what our neighbors are really like, without being accused of spying on our nearby residents.
But, what makes this story really work is that each of the three featured women are coping with identifiable issues we are all sympathetic to. Postpartum depression, infidelity, money issues, and the everyday challenges of parenting are real problems many marriages face. But, while these subjects are highly dramatic and always engrossing material, the author manages to somehow take these common enough domestic issues and give them a more sinister tone. I was on pins and needles as the author unveils secrets and crimes at a tantalizing pace. I was furiously turning pages, completely lost in the lives of these seemingly ordinary suburbanites. There are a few shocking twists, but at the end of the day, there is also plenty of character growth. The characters made much needed progress, and adjusted bravely to a new normal, which set each character in an entirely different frame of mind than the one they were in, when we were first introduced.
I liked the strictly feminine viewpoint and the fluidity in which the author segues one POV into another, making it easy to keep up with all the characters and gain more insight into their personal feelings and struggles, in the process.
I truly enjoyed this novel! I am really looking forward to reading more books by Sally Hepworth!!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives. The Secrets of Midwives has been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s debut novel as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”. The Secrets of Midwives was also the highest selling debut Australian fiction of the year in 2015.
Sally is also the author of The Things We Keep, published in January 2016. The Things We Keep was a Library Journal Pick in the U.S. for January 2016, and an Indie Next Pick in the U.S. for February 2016. NYT bestselling author of The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion praised The Things We Keep calling it ‘A compelling read that touches on important themes, not least the different forms that love may take.”
Both novels were published worldwide in English and have been translated into several languages.
Sally is currently working on her next novel, to be published in early 2017.
Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children.