Category Archives: The Family Next Door

Review: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 341 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.

From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby.

When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.

The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.


The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth is an engaging and intriguing novel about the lives and secrets of five women who are neighbors.

Pleasant Court is a quiet and somewhat tranquil neighborhood where everyone looks out for one another. Eppie, Barbara, Fran and Ange are all neighbors who are on friendly terms but they are not overly close. However, when Isabelle Heatherington moves in, their curiosity about her brings them closer together. As time passes, the cracks in each of the families become more apparent and by the time they know the reason for Isabelle’s presence, their lives are forever altered.

Essie is mum to two daughters, three year old Mia and six month old Polly. Her husband Ben owns a fitness gym so she relies on her mum, Barbara, to help out with the girls. Essie is happy with her marriage and kids, but will the same darkness that overtook her after the birth of Mia engulf her again when Polly begins having trouble sleeping?

Fran is also a mum to two daughters, three year old Rosie and six week old Ava. Her husband Nigel went through a rough spot but the birth of their second daughter seems to have helped. Unfortunately, while Nigel is content with their family, Fran has something weighing so heavily on her mind that she has become a compulsive runner. She knows that a secret she is keeping could have an adverse effect on her family but can she continue to maintain her silence?

Ange owns her own business so her photographer husband Lucas is quite involved with their sons, eleven year old Will and eight year old Ollie.  Ange never has a hair out of place, her home is spotless and she is the consummate hostess. Following a trip to the ER with Ollie for a broken arm, Ange has reason to wonder about the future of her marriage.

Isabelle is carelessly glamorous with a beautifully decorated home. Essie is particularly happy to meet her since she could use a new friend. But she, along with Fran, Essie and Barbara, cannot help but wonder what prompted Isabelle’s sudden move from Sydney to Melbourne? And why is a single woman with no children so keen to get to know the women and their children?

Written from each of the  five women’s perspectives, readers get to see what happens behind the closed doors. Each of the women is harboring a secret that could have serious implications for their families and/or their respective futures. Although not a mystery, there is an aura of suspense as each woman wrestles with their particular issue. And of course, there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding Isabelle and exactly what she hopes to gain by moving into their neighborhood.

The Family Next Door is a compelling novel that is fast-paced with appealing characters.  Sally Hepworth once again has penned an imaginative story that grabs readers’ imaginations and attention right from the start. This heartwarming and poignant tale that has quite a few unexpected twists, turns and surprises.  A thoroughly captivating novel with just a hint of suspense that will delight readers.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Rated B+, Review, Sally Hepworth, St Martin's Press, The Family Next Door, Women's Fiction