From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone…
OUR HOUSE. OUR FAMILY. OUR SECRETS.
Meet the picture-perfect Bird family: pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and towheaded twins Rory and Rhys, one an adventurous troublemaker, the other his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet, gangly man, but it’s their beautiful, free-spirited mother Lorelei who spins at the center. In those early years, Lorelei tries to freeze time by filling their simple brick house with precious mementos. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She hangs all of the children’s art, to her husband’s chagrin.
Then one Easter weekend, a tragedy so devastating occurs that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, while Lorelei has become the county’s worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband and children and has been living as a recluse. But then something happens that beckons the Bird family back to the house they grew up in—to finally understand the events of that long-ago Easter weekend 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.
Wow. I was so attached to this book and loved it so much. Easily one of the most talented writers, I brag about her weeks later. Would give 5 stars if the ending weren’t so unsatisfying/boring/movie like. So disappointing.
Thoughtful, but often out of realm of reality
I really wanted to like this book, and for the first half I really did. But there became a few too many viewpoints and the subplots became too unrealistic that I found it hard to enjoy. There were certain plots I wanted to know more about and they were overshadowed by the sillier ones (particularly Rory and Beth). I also found some of the timeline confusing because many of the stories were only a few years apart and it became disorienting. As usual, Lisa Jewell has a beautiful, detailed writing style but this book could have benefited from a focus on a few less characters and a more satisfying conclusion.
Subtle and powerful
A very compelling story of the frailties and strengths we all have. I anticipated the ending but it was nonetheless extremely satisfying to see the deft way she handled it.