Title: The House We Grew Up In
Author: Lisa Jewell
Release Date: July 2014
My Rating: 9/10 Almost There
The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.
But when something happens one Easter weekend, it is so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can talk about it.
The family shatters, seemingly for ever.
Until they are forced to return to the house they grew up in. And to confront what really took place all those years ago.
I was really prepared for this just to be a light, easy read, that I would mildly enjoy. I needed something to bridge the gap between all the thrillers I’ve been reading lately, and this seemed to fit the bill. What I wasn’t prepared for, was to be immensely moved by such a beautifully written tale of distorted family life.
If I’m honest, I’ve never heard of Lisa Jewell until now. Maybe that’s just my ignorance, but I never really opt for this sort of thing. It would be found in a bookshop securely among the Jodi Picoults and Jojo Moyes’, as a female author who has written lots of female targeted books. I would normally avoid this section in favour of something a bit grittier, but I have read Me Before You recently and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give this a go.
If I gave you a full summary of what happens in this book, you would probably think it sounds boring. Not much actually happens, and the majority of what does happen isn’t overly exciting, but that isn’t the point. The writing is so subtle and understated, with pure emotion running through the whole thing.
Essentially, this is a book about a family who suffer a terrible tragedy, and the effects this has on each of them in turn. Each chapter represents a different Easter weekend, with present day Easter alternating in between. Through this small snippet of each year, we learn the progression of the family’s relationship with each other, and how tragedy can tear apart even the most loving and stable of families.
I always find it so difficult to review books that I love. I can never find the right words to explain exactly what was so good about it, but this book really moved me in a way I really didn’t expect. I can also often pinpoint a moment, character or particular aspect of a book that I enjoyed most, but I’m struggling to do that here. It’s a book that will stay with me, and I am really excited about reading more of Lisa Jewell.
I’ll apologise now for such an undetailed review, but this book really needs to be read to be understood. Beautiful writing and an incredibly moving story; I would highly recommend to anyone, not just fans of family/romance/female books. I really didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I will definitely be on the look out for more by Lisa Jewell.