Review: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Title: The House We Grew Up In
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publication Date: August 12th, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 400
ISBN13: 978-1476702995
Source: ARC from Publisher

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children's lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they've never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in -- and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.

Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family's desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

Lisa Jewell (born 19th July 1968, Middlesex, London) is a popular British author of chick lit fiction. Her books include Ralph's Party, Thirtynothing and most recently 31 Dream Street. She lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband Jascha and daughters Amelie Mae (born 2003) and Evie Scarlett (born 2007).

      There is something to be said about an author who can take a story reflecting the simplicities of every day tradition and the dysfunction of varying family dynamics and materialize it into a novel that captures your attention. The Bird family could easily be any family. Throughout the book, I found myself associating the characters with either myself or people that I know. Lisa Jewell is one of those gifted writers that can take the reality of life's messiness and turn it into a masterpiece. This is my first impression of Jewell, and I was not disappointed.

In The House We Grew Up In, we follow the Bird family, past and present, through their struggles and interactions as a family unit. Jewell does well to cover all four corners of the family dynamic with the cynicism of Megan, the traditional (and slightly insane) Lorelei, the lovely Bethan, and the troubled Rhys. We spend several Easters with the family, watching tradition dwindle as everyone grows older and separates into their own. One fateful year, everything changes when tragedy strikes the household. We journey with the family as they overcome shock, bitterness, confusion, and regret. 

This is such a good story I just couldn't put it down. It's one of those books that really makes you feel and connect to it. It is a masterful work of fiction, and I would recommend it to anyone in search for a heart-tugging journey that will leave a lasting impression on your soul.

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