Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers / Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth | The Family Next Door

the family next door sally hepworth

The Book: 

The Family Next Door, by Sally Hepworth, 2018

The Characters: 

The residents of Pleasant Court: Essie and Ben, Essie’s mom Barbara, Fran and Nigel, Ange and Lucas, and the new neighbor Isabelle

The Plot (from the publisher):

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbors, 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 neighbor 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.

Click here for book spoilers
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Family Next Door, I suggest you turn back now.

The Secrets: 

Fran cheated on Nigel and doesn’t know if their newborn is his or her lover’s. 

Ange thinks Lucas might be cheating on her (she found an unexplained cell phone, and he had done it once before). Ange lied about being pregnant to Lucas to keep him from leaving her the first time he cheated. We find out that Lucas has a daughter with another woman.

Isabelle is looking for a missing child in Pleasant Court but makes them all think she’s working for a missing child foundation. She’s not, but we don’t know what she’s actually doing there. She steals hair from Essie’s child for a DNA test. 

Essie has a crush on Isabelle. She makes a pass at her and Ben brings her to the mental hospital.

The Twist:

Isabelle is Essie’s sister. Barbara abducted Essie when she was an infant. Isabelle saw Essie on the news, recognized her, and tracked her down. Essie refused to believe it, but when Isabelle confronts Barbara, she dissociates and kidnaps Essie’s daughter, thinking she is Essie. The police find Barbara, and Isabelle’s story is confirmed. 

The Ending:

Ange and Lucas separate, but Ange is happier on her own.  Fran confesses to Nigel, but he forgives her and determines that their daughter is in fact his based on the fact that they are all O- blood type. Essie is reunited with her biological family. She forgives Barbara, and they end up as one big happy family.

The Review: 

This domestic fiction novel delves into the fact that although your neighbors may seem perfect, nothing is ever as it seems. Sally Hepworth creates wonderful and relatable characters–many of the struggles that the characters encounter are likely happening to your own friends. 

I enjoy these light mystery novels where you’re always trying to guess what lies the characters are telling to try to figure out where the story will go. The book was a very quick but enjoyable read–I finished it in a single day. 

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the family next door sally hepworth
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