When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?
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 absolutely love Lisa Jewell’s books, so wanted to read some more of her back catalogue. The House We Grew Up In was next on my list!
This is an intense, beautifully written family saga following the Bird family. In some ways, the Bird children’s upbringing is lovely and in other ways, it’s not (partly because of the behaviour of their well-meaning but often over-the-top mother). Then, one Easter weekend, a tragedy occurs and everyone’s lives change forever…
Although there is a sense of mystery throughout this novel, as we try to work out firstly what happened that weekend and then why it happened, this novel feels very different to the other books I’ve read by Lisa Jewell, which focus much more on the psychological thriller/mystery aspects. For me, the most addictive part of this book – the part that made me not want to put it down – was the brilliant characterisation Lisa Jewell creates. Each family member has their own story as well as their part in the overarching family dynamics, and I found it utterly engrossing. The family members felt realistic and well-rounded, and each was interesting to read about in different ways.
There are some heartbreaking parts to this book, and parts where I felt so frustrated at certain family members -showing the power of the book’s writing. The House We Grew Up In deals with some serious issues and heavy topics, but sensitively handled.
The House I Grew Up In is a well-crafted, absorbing novel with many layers, and I hugely enjoyed it.