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The House We Grew Up Inby Lisa Jewell
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Jewell's most recent novel (after Before I Met You) is a melodrama starring the Bird clan: happy-go-lucky mother Lorelai, patient father Colin, headstrong eldest child Meg, meek Beth, and dissimilar twins Rory and Rhys. 'They lived in a honey-colored house that sat hard up against the pavement of a picture-perfect Cotswolds village and stretched out beyond into three-quarters of an acre of rambling half-kempt gardens.' The narrative alternates between 2011 and flashbacks to the kids' childhoods, and the reader sees Lorelai's eccentricities (including her propensity for hoarding) gradually begin to weigh her family down. Easter is Lorelai's favorite holiday, replete with massive egg hunts and festivities, but when a catastrophe occurs, it forever alters the course of the Birds' lives. Each member of the family begins to drift away from the others, and the subsequent years find them dealing with affairs, abandonment, and death. Years later, following another loss, the family once again gathers and is forced to confront its troubled past. Jewell keeps the reader engrossed with her characters' winding, divergent paths." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Jewell cleverly frames the destruction of the Bird family...an absolute page-turner." Booklist
"Clever, intelligent, and believable on a subject few of us really understand. Lorrie is one of the most vivid — and complex — characters I've read in years. Wonderful." Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You
"[P]rose so beautiful that it glitters on the page. Lisa Jewell lays down piece after piece of mosaic, revealing the heart of the Bird family, filled in equal measure with love and loss. Unforgettable." Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Solomon's Oak, Finding Casey, and Owen's Daughter
"Lisa Jewell's quixotic Bird family functions like an operatic ensemble — each voice distinct, each singing its heart out, seemingly oblivious to the others. Yet somehow by the end of this engrossing, beautifully crafted novel, their separate stories will draw them back together, reminding us that, however hard we struggle against them, family ties are not easily undone." Judith Ryan Hendricks, author of Bread Alone
"This richly rendered family saga is populated with such compelling characters and told in such luscious, insightful prose, that a singular tragedy is made universally relatable. You won't be able to stop thinking about it long after the book is over." Jessie Sholl, author of Dirty Secret
"A gorgeous, powerful, affecting tale of a family both ordinary and extraordinary. Lisa Jewell is a wonderful storyteller, and The House We Grew Up In grips you from the first page to the last. I'm afraid to say it made me neglect both my children and my husband. The Bird family might be dysfunctional, but I was strangely sorry to leave it." Anna Maxted, author of Getting Over It and Running In Heels
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