Book Reviews

Book Review – The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell


THWGUIThe House We Grew Up In – Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Published by Century, part of Cornerstone Publishing
Release Date:  18 July, 2013
Rating: 4.75/5
Source:  Sent over by Random House
Synopsis:  Meet the Bird family.  

All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.

But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.

The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it’s almost as though they’ve never been a family at all.

Almost. But not quite.

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.

I’m going to hold my hand up right here, right now and admit to loving crap reality TV, especially shows like “How Clean Is Your House” and “Hoarders”.  Lisa Jewell’s newest novel, out this week, is like one crazy, in-depth episode of “Hoarders.”  The House We Grew Up In has all the right elements for a cracking summer read–family drama, illicit relationships and a bit of mystery.

The Bird family are a close-knit bunch, despite the normal growing pains and forays into teenager-land that come into play as the children get older.  Much of the flashbacks within this book revolve around Easter, Lorelei Bird’s favourite holiday.  It’s interesting to see Easters “before and after” and how things shift and change, how relationships between the Bird children and their parents are irrevocably altered.

There was so much going on with this book… everyone in the Bird family has a story both before and after the horrible event that sent them scattering away from one another like dead, dry autumn leaves.  Picking through these stories made me feel a bit like a magpie, picking through bits and bobs to find the gold (or truth) beneath all of the rubbish and heartache.  I loved every second of this book.  Normally I’ll fly through a novel like this one however I found myself absolutely rationing out the last 100 pages–I just didn’t want it to end!

The House We Grew Up In is out this week on 18 July and will be available at all the usual bookstores and online.  One lucky reader will be able snag my pre-loved copy.  Head on over to Facebook and “like” The London Diaries for your chance to win.  Competition closes on Thursday, 18 June (publication day!) at 5pm (London time, of course).

For more information on The House We Grew Up In, check out Random House’s website.  If you’re interested in the lovely Lisa Jewell (she is lovely, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her) or any of her other books, check out her website which features a blog as well.

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If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.

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