Hello, my name is Judith! Welcome to my blog, ReadandReview.
The Family by Louise Jensen is a thriller about exactly that: family. Struggling to cope following the death of her husband, Laura and her teenage daughter Tilly are offered a home at Oak Leaf Organics, a local community. Initially, Laura and Tilly are welcomed as “family” members. However, Laura begins to suspect all is not right at Oak Leaf Organics, uncovering a plethora of secrets and lies. Unfortunately, Tilly has fallen for the community’s charismatic leader, Alex, and refuses to leave his side. Soon, Laura fears they’ll never be allowed to leave the Family.
I love finding new authors to be enthusiastic about, so I was very excited to be approved for a NetGalley copy of The Family.
I was fascinated by the creepy, cult-like manipulation of the people – the “family” – within the commune, and I was interested in exploring how these manipulative strategies affected Laura and Tilly differently. In parts, this reminded me of The Girls by Emma Cline, a novel which details how girls in the 1960s were attracted to – and manipulated within – communes such as the Manson Family.
The Family is full of secrets and it was infuriating (yet enjoyable) to see the amount of information twisted, warped, and being passed around behind characters’ backs, making it impossible to trust anyone.
However, whilst I very much enjoyed The Family, some parts were a little repetitive. This is due to Jensen’s writing style and characterisation of Laura and Tilly, as each chapter alternates between their perspectives, retelling certain events which omit or focus on particular details, drawing attention to what was or wasn’t said. On the one hand, I did initially like this writing style because it helped to highlight how out of touch they were with each other, arguably justifying why they turn to the “family” members for much-needed love and attention. Laura, as a mother, has no idea what her daughter is truly thinking or feeling. Tilly, as a frustrated teenager, feels as though her mother doesn’t support her enough or ask how she feels. On the other hand, this writing style meant there are quite a few scenes which are repeated with the same dialogue and the same descriptions, which after a while felt repetitive.
My overall impression of The Family is that it is a thrilling novel full of twists and secrets, and I really enjoyed it. By chance, the day after I started reading The Family, I found another of Louise Jensen’s novels in a local charity shop! I immediately bought it, keen to read more of her work.
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars
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I acquired this book for free in exchange for a review via NetGalley and HQ, which is an imprint of Harper Collins UK.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
This post was last updated in January 2020