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Momma Says to Read

Avid reader/reviewer and editor. I don't pull punches when I review, love it or hate it, you get what I think.

The Family Next Door

The Family Next Door - Sally Hepworth

This one had great potential to be a gripping story of suspense. Unfortunately, I didn't find it particularly gripping or suspenseful. There is a bit of mystery, but even with a few red herrings thrown in, it wasn't hard to figure it out. The whole thing reads a bit like a soap opera or a bad Lifetime movie, except that there are fewer characters here likable enough to root for. I spent a good portion of this book feeling sorry for Essie's husband, Ben, who seems to be the only person on this street that has any sense. And not to belittle postpartum depression in any way, but I might've had more than a hot minute's worth of sympathy for Essie except that three years later, she has a second child who is apparently the perfect baby - until she's not and Essie isn't getting enough sleep, so starts having similar problems as she did the first time. Of course, the rest of the people living on this street aren't any better. Among the men we have one who can't keep it in his pants and another who makes a bad financial decision and goes through a rather exaggerated depression, and among the women, we have the one who gets pregnant to keep her husband, the one who's baby may or may not belong to her husband, the clingy mother/grandmother, and the mysterious single woman who's in everybody's business. A couple of these not so likable characters do redeem themselves somewhat toward the end, but it wasn't enough for me to care much about them. After glancing at the many four and five star reviews for this story, I realize I'm in the minority here, but for me, this was a rather depressing story and the mystery, which could've been a redeeming element, was just too easy to figure out.