#BookReview: The Family
by Louise Jensen
About the Book:
The latest psychological thriller from master story-teller, Louise Jensen, will leave you breathless.
COULD ONE MOTHER’S MISTAKE COST HER DAUGHTER EVERYTHING?
Laura is devastated when her husband dies, leaving her and their almost grown-up daughter, Tilly, alone. When the insurance company refuses to pay out, Laura is in danger of losing the house and has no choice but to seek help from elsewhere.
Oak Leaf Farm, a community that lives just outside of town, seems to be everything that Laura and Tilly need, so when this self-made family offer Laura the lifeline she’s been looking for she gratefully accepts.
But all is not right on the farm and when both Laura and Tilly are drawn to the community’s handsome and charismatic leader, mother and daughter find themselves on opposite sides of the battle lines…
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for a free ARC of this book.
The Family brings us the sudden death of a husband. An argument with the inlaws. A widow and her daughter left alone and in financial difficulty. Then enters Saffron and Alex, who offer Laura and Tilly shelter at a local farm turned kind-of-cult. As if things weren’t bad enough already, they soon take a turn for the worse.
I love good psychological thrillers with plenty of twists and turns and familial betrayal. Somehow, this book offered all that but failed to fully deliver. Many of the thrilling bits ended up feeling like ‘the boy who cried wolf’, in that they never ended up being what you’d been led to believe. Read that scenario enough times, and you find yourself not reacting anymore. Add to that lots of typos and miswritten sentences, and the whole thing starts to feel frustrating. As this is an advanced review copy, I have to let a lot of the technical issues go in the hope they will be rectified before publication.
The narrative jumped between Laura and Tilly for the most part, with the odd visit to Alex’s head. I didn’t find myself connecting with or caring for any of the characters. I never got to know them well enough to invest in them. Everyone remained vague and not all there for me.
Finally, the end was so unsatisfying and left way too open. Also, the sheer number of coincidences felt too far-fetched and unbelieveable. Large parts of the book did keep my interest, however, so this has left me feeling somewhat ambivalent while writing my review.
I’ve given it two stars, because it wasn’t an awful read. Some parts were quite good. On the other hand, I didn’t love it either. So, two stars it is (see my review notes below).
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.