Thursday 18 July 2013

Review! The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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.

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.

Review: wow! What a novel! Just when I thought there couldn't be any more family drama crammed into this storyline-bam! Another fantastic secret revelation or betrayal! I wasn't sure I was going to be all that into this book. I love this author and Ralph's Party is one of my favourite novels, but I wasn't sure how I would cope with another novel featuring a tragic secret-boy was a wrong with my first impressions! This book really does have it all, death, suicide, adultery, family feuds, arrests, questionable relationships, you name it, it went on in this book. And yet there is something heartwarming about the fact that at the very centre of this novel, there is a family, trying to find out who they fit in with one another, and coming together, in some way, every Easter Sunday...

All of the characters in this novel were incredibly well written, making them all strong characters, not all like able, but all a key feature in their own right. The matriarch of the bird family-Lorelei-begins each novel just before the present day with an email to an Internet lover, this proves to be a platform for many of the bird family secrets to be released. We also have dad Colin who has his own dramas going on from tales told when the children were little, right up until present day. The children in the family, Meg, Beth (yes meg and Beth, very little women, love it!) and twins Rhys and Rory. All the children and parents have various partners that play important roles in the story too, but these characters all have their own issues and their own insecurities which contribute to this wonderful twisting tale.

The story is not written in chronological order, each section begins with an email between Lorelei and her Internet lover Jim, and then jumps about from time to time. The passage immediately following the email is always set in the present day (April 2011) and then we are taken back to various Easter Sundays from the last, sometimes in the UK, sometimes in other parts of the world. Now I am not always a fan or novels that jump about between times, but I find that it is something Lisa Jewell does incredibly well, and in this case, it was entirely necessary so that the complexity of this tale could be fully realised.

I really like that fact that each of the characters has their own drama to deal with, and none of them just sit at the side, an innocent bystander. The children become independent, as do their parents, and I found it really interesting the ways in which each of them chose to live their lives. I could go on and on about each of the dramas, but I don't want to give anything away, just be assured, that if you think it MIGHT  happen, it probably will, and to the extreme.

If you have never read anything by this author before, this is the one to start with. It will definitely keep you entertained this summer and you don't need to know anything about her previous work to enjoy this fabulous summer drama. Be warned that there might be some tears, but on the whole you will Find yourself unable to refrain from turning the pages, as I did, long into the night! 

To get your copy of The House We Grew Up In click here

To follow this fabulous author in twitter just follow

I will be attending a Lisa Jewell/Jenny Colgan event this time next week, so if you have any comments or questions leave them below and I will try to include them in my write up of this, what is sure to be fabulous, evening! 


  1. I love the sound of this. It's been a while since I read a new Lisa Jewell book but I'm a massive fan of her earlier books.

    1. You will honestly honestly not be able to put it down!