Book Review: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Firstly, a big thank you to Lucy from Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and feature The Family Next Door here on the blog.
I have read one of Sally Hepworth's other books, The Mother's Promise, previously and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was really keen to read her latest novel.
At the beginning of The Family Next Door, we are introduced to Essie, who is over-tired, over-stressed and clearly struggling to adapt to life as a mum with 8 week-old Mia. A snap decision that she makes almost ends in disaster, but thankfully, no harm comes of it.
The story then skips to three years later; Essie is now mum to 3 year-old Mia and 6 month-old Polly, living with her husband Ben, and coping a little better with the pressures of parenting.
Her mother, Barbara, lives next door to them in their beachside suburb of Sandringham.
Other neighbours include real-estate agent Ange, who is married and has two sons, and Fran and Nigel who also have two children.
The latest resident to call Pleasant Court home is Isabelle Heatherington, who has made the move from Sydney to the close-knit community in Melbourne supposedly for work purposes.
But the other residents are skeptical as to her reasons for making the move to a rather large 4 bedroom home on her own, particularly when Isabelle starts asking questions and behaving curiously...
Essie feels a strong connection to Isabelle when they are introduced, and it isn't long before the two women become friends.
However, as we soon discover, each of the women in the neighbourhood have their own motives for their behaviours, and their own secrets that they want to keep hidden.
But what lengths will each of them go to in order to keep them unacknowledged?
The story is told in alternating chapters which I thought was great.
As we learn about Essie, Fran, Barbara, Ange and Isabelle, we realise that there are numerous different issues and struggles that each of the women face in their personal lives.
Although the story centres around the females, it would have been interesting to have one of the male characters share their point of view.
The characters are all realistic and that makes the story even more engaging. There were a couple of little things that I predicted were going to happen, but quite a few surprise twists thrown in that I certainly didn't see coming at all!
I raced through the book in a matter of days as the element of intrigue and suspense kept me turning the pages.
The Family Next Door is available now through Pan Macmillan Australia. For further information on this title, head here.