The Family Next Door: Book summary and reviews of The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

The Family Next Door

by Sally Hepworth

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth X
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies." - Library Journal

"Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations." - Booklist

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Reader Reviews

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Betty Taylor

Know Your Neighbors
There sure is a lot of drama in the suburb of Pleasant Court. Fran, Ange, and Essie, all married with children, are all surface level friends. Everyone thinks the family next door is so perfect. Then Isabelle moves in – single, no children.
But behind closed doors, all have their secrets. Like Fran, who compulsively runs several times a day. She also is reluctant to leave baby Ava in the care of her husband Nigel. Ange must be in control of every part of her life, almost to the point of neurosis. The biggest secret is probably Essie’s when three years ago, she took her baby Mia to the park and returned without her. Fortunately nothing happened to Mia but after Essie’s psychotic break her mother Barbara moved next door to help look after Essie and Mia and now the new baby Polly.
Isabelle seems to be the catalyst that begins the unraveling of the carefully guarded secrets. As Essie and Isabelle develop an especially close bond, it becomes apparent that Isabelle had a specific reason for moving to Pleasant Court.
This book is a quick read and kept me turning the pages, eager to know what happens next. It was told from the viewpoints of all five ladies. It a story of female relationships, love, family, betrayal, and moving forward. But I was left with a sense of unfulfillment (is that a word?) I felt there were subplots thrown in to deliberately bring the women together but then that subplot went nowhere. I also felt that the ending was rushed and wrapped up a bit too neatly, although not as I had expected (surprise!). I still felt it was a quick, fun read. Good for an escape day. Relax on the lounge with some coffee/tea/wine and enjoy your visit to Pleasant Court.

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Author Information

Sally Hepworth Author Biography

Sally Hepworth is a former event planner and human resources professional. A graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, Sally started writing novels after the birth of her first child. She is also the author of Love Like The French, published by Random House Germany in February 2014 and The Secret of Midwives (Feb 2015). Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the U.K., and Canada. She now writes full-time from her home in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband and two young children.

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