The Family Next Door

“What was so great about fresh air anyway? Given the choice, she’d have opted for the less fresh, temperature-controlled air of the indoors any day. She wanted to be indoors now, preferably at Cuppa Cottage, drinking a cup of English Breakfast out of a vintage teacup. Better yet, she wanted to be in bed, catching up on the billion hours of sleep she’d lost in the past eight weeks.”

The Family Next Door
By Sally Hepworth
Published: March 2018
Source: Advance review copy

Essie may seem to have it all, a loving and helpful husband, a mother who helps out and two healthy children. She’s been able to put behind the terrible moments years ago when for one moment she left her first born baby alone in her carriage while she went to have tea. After treatment for her postpartum depression, life has gotten better but she now has a new baby and doubts about her ability to be a good mother plague her.

Soon Essie will have a new neighbor who she finds fascinating. While most other neighbors wonder why Isabelle has decided to make their community her home, Essie wants to become her friend. Essie’s neighbors and friends don’t really approve of Isabelle, or are at least are more cautious about welcoming her fully, but they all have their own lives and problems to deal with.

Before too long Essie is spending more time with Isabelle and starts keeping secrets from her mother and husband. Both of course are worried about her and remember just how fragile Essie was after the birth of the first baby so could she be falling back into a depression or is something else going on?

The narrative is told from the perspective of several of the women so while there are quite a few characters to keep track of, as well as all of their problems, I didn’t find it difficult at all to keep up with and actually liked reading all the different plots. An enjoyable story of domestic intrigue.

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