Why did I read this book? I was expecting some really engrossing Liane Moriarty-esque drama and secret lives, but oh no honey, all I got was confused. In The Family Next Door, the author, Sally Hepworth was trying way too hard to make storylines happen simultaneously that were bigger and bolder than the last, and she failed miserably.
The story starts with Essie, who leaves her brand new baby at the beach. She goes back for her of course, but then years pass and we don’t hear much about this incident again. As she has gotten older, she’s had another baby, but you can see that she still holds on to some of her mental instability.
Then there is Ange, Essie’s neighbor, who has her own secrets. Not to mention Fran, who has her own set of issues as well. See a theme here? Everyone’s hiding something. All three of these neighbors have really big deep dark secrets, but that’s just not that fun. Let’s throw in a random stranger, a new neighbor named Isabelle who has the biggest secret of all. All of the girls want to be friends with her because she’s just so aloof and carefree. That’s not enough for you? Toss some scandal in there and make one of the girls fall in love with the new neighbor. Gasp. Shock. Awe. Wow…not.
Ugh. This book. It was just sooo cliche and boring. I got almost done with it and I just gave up. I already knew what’s going to happen, I already figured everything out, even though it was extremely confusing to keep all of the secrets in order. I was fed up about 2/3 of the way through when he story started going in a million different, even weirder directions, that weren’t explained from the beginning. Plot twists were just thrown in willy-nilly, and I hate that about a book. I was just supposed to believe that this was the pain the entire time? No. Just no.
Hated it. Wouldn’t recommend it. Don’t read it. There are millions of other books with probably the same name out there that are way better. 1 out of 5 stars from this girl.