It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Louise Jensen, not because I haven’t wanted to, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to read all the books I would like to. I have heard great things about the author’s latest book The Family and knew it was one I just had to read. Here’s my review but first the book description…..
ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.
Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.
But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.
Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…
OMG! I actually loved The Family by Louise Jensen, this book is a masterclass in how to write a Psychological thriller, it’s a compelling, all–consuming, chilling tale of secrets, lies, blackmail, and manipulation. It’s definitely one of those books that will shock and surprise you in equal measures. After the sudden death of her husband, Laura is struggling, overwhelmed by grief, she finds her financial problems growing by the day, with no family to speak of, Laura has nowhere to turn. Then a lifeline is thrown to Laura and her 17-year–old daughter, Tilly. Laura is offered a home and work by Alex ‘The Family’ leader of Oak Leaf Organics, a ‘retreat’ of sorts for those it need. On the surface It appears to be the answer to Laura’s prayers. It’s always been my motto “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, if only poor Laura had heeded these words!
I really enjoyed how the author alternated chapters between Laura and Tilly, this gives the reader a fascinating insight into their relationship. The author explores the psychological of her characters with such conviction; she breathes life into her characters, making them very credible. It was interesting to read how they misunderstood each other’s thoughts, actions and feelings, this leads to conflict, anger, and pain. Their relationship isn’t an easy one, that’s for sure, but despite their difficulties Laura is like a fierce lion who will do anything to protect her daughter. There are chapters narrated by the charismatic Alex, these chapters felt much darker, intense and disquieting.
From the first description of Oak Leaf I had a creeping sense of unease, The setting of Oak Leaf farm felt sinister and claustrophobic, the descriptions of the crows and building give this book a gothic feel, it’s a place which feels incredibly dark. As Laura and Tilly become part of ‘The Family’ the plot takes on a sinister tone, each of ‘The Family’ has a secret, and as the story progresses you learn more of their backstories (sometimes it’s shocking other times desperately sad), it’s gives the reader an insight into how and why the characters are drawn to the sanctuary of Oak Leaf. Laura and Tilly are at their most vulnerable, and from the off I got the sense Alex would use this to his advantage. As the author weaved her tale, you realise that Oak Leaf might not be the haven it first appeared, manipulation, remoteness from the outside world, all point to it being a ‘cult’ of sorts. The Family frighteningly highlights how people can easily be manipulated and coerced when they are at their most vulnerable.
The Family holds so many secrets, and we all know it doesn’t matter how deep you bury them, they have a way of surfacing when you least expect it, secrets that can be used against you, secrets that hurt, or secrets that have far-reaching consequences, as Laura and Tilly find out. The author drops subtle hints, slowly building on the tension and adding an increasing sense of unease. Just as I thought I had it all worked out, I realised Louise Jensen had misdirected me at every given opportunity, naughty, naughty! But so cleverly done. I always find a book much more satisfying when I’m taken by surprise. The Family explores what makes a family, and then turns it on its head, making this book a twisted, and shocking read. A must-read book, that I would highly recommend.
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Publisher: HQ (25 Sept. 2019)
My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.