The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

thehousesource: purchased
title: The House We Grew Up In
author: Lisa Jewell (Twitter)
genre: fiction/family issues
pages: 386
published: August 12th 2014
first line: Tuesday 2nd November 2010
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
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.

my thoughts:

After having read Then She Was Gone this past January I knew I wanted to read Lisa Jewell again. The House We Grew Up In centers on the Bird family and their secrets, heartache and healing. The story goes back and forth from past to present day as we get each family member’s story. The matriarch of the house is a hoarder. When the children were growing up Lorelei seemed like an eccentric stay at home mom with a house full of knick knacks and the walls covered in her children’s drawings, but as the years passed this turned into a full on hoard situation. Her husband Colin is a quiet teacher who turns a blind eye to the hoarding, their twins sons are Rhys and Rory and the daughters are Meg and Beth. The neighbor Vicky and her children also become part of the Bird’s lives.

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Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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source: free ARC via Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing
title: Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
published: May 19th 2020
genre: fiction
pages: 300
first line: It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

my thoughts:
If you want to read an emotional story revolving around important issues that will pull at your heartstrings may I suggest Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

As the story starts off Brooke is a 30 something divorced single mom living with her mother and 2 year old daughter Etta. Brooke takes Etta out one evening to the movies when she is carjacked and dragged out of the car. The carjacker proceeds to speed off with baby Etta still in her car-seat. A mother’s worst nightmare right?

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Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

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source: purchased
title: Dolores Claiborne
author: Stephen King
pages: 305
genre: psychological thriller
published: November 1992
first line: What did you ask, Andy Bisette?
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
“Everything I did, I did for love…”

When Vera Donovan, one of the wealthiest and most ill-natured residents of Maine’s Little Tall Island, dies suddenly in her home, suspicion is immediately cast on her housekeeper and caretaker, Dolores Claiborne. Dolores herself is no stranger to such mistrust, thanks to the local chatter and mysterious circumstances surrounding her abusive husband’s death twenty-nine years earlier. But if this is truly to be the day of Dolores Claiborne’s reckoning, she has a few things of her own that she’d like to get off her chest…and begins to confess a spirited, intimate, and harrowing tale of the darkest secrest hidden within her hardscrabble existence, revealing above all one woman’s unwavering determination to weather the storm of her life with grace and protect the one she loves, no matter what the cost….

my thoughts:

I found my copy of Dolores Claiborne at a local used book and record shop while I was out Christmas shopping last year. I figured it was time to read this one, I saw the film version many years ago.

As the book starts off, Dolores is a 65 year old widow from Maine who is suspected of killing her employer, a woman named Vera Donovan. Vera was a rich and miserable widow and tough on her staff. She would fire people for any minor thing like stopping to chat. Dolores worked as her live in housekeeper for decades. Towards the end of her life Vera had dementia and Dolores especially struggled to care for her because of Vera’s sadistic mean streak.

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

thenshesource: personal copy
title: Then She Was Gone
author:Lisa Jewell
genre: crime thriller/mystery
published: April 17th 2018
pages: 359
first line: Laurel let herself into her daughter’s flat.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

my thoughts:
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is my first read of 2020. I happily kicked off my new reading year with a great crime thriller. This is my first foray into this author’s work and it won’t be my last.

The book centers around Laurel Mack whose daughter Ellie disappeared ten years ago. Since then Laurel’s marriage has ended, her other two children have moved out and she lives in a small apartment alone and works part time. When a few more clues are found concerning the case, Laurel finally tries to move on with her life. She meets a single dad named Floyd. He lives with his daughter Poppy.

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Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan

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source: free review copy via Library Thing/ Harper Collins
title: Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop
author: Jenny Colgan / Twitter
genre: Christmas fiction / Romance
published: November 7th 2013
pages: 341
first line: Lipton was quiet underneath the stars.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5
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blurb:
Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait. But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

my thoughts:
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan is a nice read mainly centering on family life during the holidays in a small town. Rosie Hopkins left her life as a registered nurse in the big city to move to a little village in Lipton and open up a candy shop. She lives with her boyfriend Stephen, who is a Mr. Darcy type. His mother is Lady Lipton and she lives in the large estate of Lipton Hall. She is cold towards Rosie. Rosie wants Stephen to propose and she wants to start a family with him, this is a biggie for her. She wonders if staying in small town Derbyshire with no family is worth it if she doesn’t ever marry and have a family of her own.

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