Title: The Family Next Door
Author: Sally Hepworth
Date of Publication: 22nd March 2018
Date of Review: 18th July 2018
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 captures 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’re about to find out that when you look at something too closely, you’ll see things you never wanted to see.
This multiple first-person narrative alternates point-of-view between Essie, Fran, Ange, Isabelle, and Barbara. With each character battling their own problems, there’s never a dull moment and each chapter left me hanging, before moving onto another character.
Fran, Ange, and Isabelle’s perspectives are equally weighted but it is clear that Essie is the protagonist. Barbara is Essie’s mother, so her point-of-view also connects to what is going on with Essie.
Isabelle is new to the area but with Pleasant Court being a neighbourhood for families, the residents are intrigued as to why a single and childless woman would choose to live there. With Ange being the letting agent for Isabelle’s property, suspicion arises when Isabelle’s references don’t check out. But just who is she? And why does Essie lie to her husband about spending time with her?
It’s soon discovered that Isabelle has moved to the area to find somebody, with Essie, Fran, and Ange all being mothers of two children the reader is left guessing as to who it is that Isabelle is looking for. It might not be who you think!
Before reading I’d heard this book had similarities to Little Lies by Leanne Moriarty’ and it certainly does. But it also reminded me of The Friend by Dorothy Koomson; it also reminded me of the Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish.
Under Literature Love’s rating scheme, this book has been awarded 4 out of 5 stars. This means I really enjoyed this book. This book is highly recommended.
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book.