Today it’s my pleasure to share my thoughts on The Family, the brand new thriller from author Louise Jensen. I’ve been a fan of the author’s work since I read her debut, The Sister, and it’s always a pleasure to get a sneaky early copy so thank you to HQ for the ARC. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books
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…
Communes, secrets, lies and loss are the key themes of this latest offering from author Louise Jensen. Following on from successes such as The Sister and The Surrogate, this is a psychological thriller that will draw you in, keep you hooked and that heaps on the mystery and tension from the very start.
This is the story of Laura and Tilly, a mother and daughter whose lives have been turned upside down by an unimaginable loss. Forced to leave their old lives behind, they accept an offer of help and accommodation from Oak Leaf Organics, a small community of people who are seeking a better life away from the stresses and strains of the everyday world. It is not exactly a commune, not in the fire and brimstone worship thy leader kind of way, but there is definitely something unsettling about the people who live there. Something not quite right … As to what that might be and how it will affect Laura and Tilly … You’ll need to read for yourselves.
What I love about Louise Jensen’s work is the way in which she manages to create characters that you become quickly invested in. You may not always like them, and there are parts of Laura’s character that I did find left me cold, but you cannot help but feel a kind of empathy for her position, and you do feel her fierce protection of Tilly coming through, even if she cannot always make her daughter see it. As for Tilly, she is a typical teenager-come-young adult. Struggling at college, she has seen her whole life turned upside down, so I guess I could sympathise with her position. It certainly made her infatuation with the commune understandable as she sought a place that she belonged – a kind of family – that she felt she was missing. Both were larger than life, very authentic, and their choices and actions had me shaking my head, incredulous at times, but completely engaged in their story.
Although this is set in a commune of sorts, it’s not quite one of those kinds of stories. Each of the people who live there has their own story, and throughout the novel you get a clearer picture of what brought them to, and keeps them at, Oak Leaf. That said, this isn’t all organic produce and healthy living either and there is dark and suspenseful undertone that floats through each chapter. You get that uneasy feeling about the motivations of certain people, and the sense of isolation of the community – cut off from internet, mobile phones, and family – really seeps from page. Add in atmospheric weather conditions and you are set for a read that never quite lets you get comfortable but still keeps you hooked.
The story is laced with deceit and each person seems to have a secret that they hold very close to their chest. It is told from several points of view, primarily that of Laura and Tilly, but with the occasional foray into the mind of the community leader, Alex. There is an underlying obsession at play, but by who and for whom? Even when you think you have a handle on what is going on, you probably don’t, and you should prepare for a whole host of shocking revelations. It certainly turned what I was thinking on it’s head.
This is another completely absorbing read, a great study of character and psychology, so prepare to lose a good few hours lost when you tuck in. The tone, the tension, the atmosphere and the sense of jeopardy will keep fans of the author glued to the page. Read it and enjoy.
About the Author
Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s fifth thriller, The Family, will be published in Autumn 2019 by Harper Collins.
The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film.
Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.
Follow the tour: