The Family by Louise Jensen: a menacing and mesmerising new novel from exciting author, Louise Jensen - book review -

The Family
The Family
Share this article
0
Have your say

A widowed mother’s vulnerability, the manipulation of a troubled teenage daughter’s mind, and the sinister attraction of an isolated rural commune that seems to offer friendship and solace are all explored in a deep and dark story that will leave readers breathless, bothered and bewildered.

‘We do what we have to for our children, don’t we?’

This intriguing question lies at the heart of a menacing and mesmerising new novel from exciting author, Louise Jensen, now firmly established as one of the contemporary queens of psychological thrillers.

A widowed mother’s vulnerability, the manipulation of a troubled teenage daughter’s mind, and the sinister attraction of an isolated rural commune that seems to offer friendship and solace are all explored in a deep and dark story that will leave readers breathless, bothered and bewildered.

With a multi-stranded narrative, which offers three differing perspectives on a mother and daughter cast adrift and isolated from friends and family by grief, loss and shocking secrets, The Family is a blistering and addictive page-turner.

Laura Evans is grieving after the sudden death of her builder husband Gavan who fell from scaffolding six weeks ago. Both Laura and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly are struggling to cope emotionally, and as any insurance money pay-out could take up to six months, they also face losing their home and Laura’s already failing florist business.

Gavan’s construction company, a business he shared with his brother Iwan, had recently been rocked by scandal after one of their housing estates was found to have been built on toxic land, causing deep resentment in the local community.

Taken suddenly ill in her shop, Laura, who was disowned by her own family many years ago, is grateful for the help of Saffron, who lives and works at a local technology-free community called Oak Leaf Organics, and offers Laura and Tilly a home there.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, disturbing things begin to happen and when one member of the community dies in suspicious circumstances, Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the handsome, 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…

Jensen’s taut and psychologically astute thriller serves up some truly chilling moments as Alex and his commune grow more menacing by the day, and the darkness of disturbing events in the past slowly start to close in on Laura and Tilly. Both women hug explosive secrets to their heart, and the truth is laid bare in a series of jaw-dropping twists.

Written with Jensen’s trademark clarity and remarkable eye for family dynamics, this is a heart-pounding, fast-paced story filled with emotional intensity, moral conundrums, powerful atmospherics, and plenty of spine-chilling moments.

From the terrifying prologue right through to the final, mind-bending revelation, The Family won’t let you go until the last page has turned.

(HQ, paperback, £7.99)