Friday, September 19, 2014

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Paperback: 422 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Random House 2013
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences: Well, I must say, I didn't think for a minute you'd be called something earthy like Jim! The Barbour and natty waistcoat in your profile photo make you look more like a Rupert or a Henry, something serious with two syllables, you know!
Review Quote: "Compelling. possibly the author's best yet. An intensely moving study of grief and family relationships, this is also a fantastically gripping story with a couple of powerful shocks." (Hello!)
My Opinion: A pleasant read involving complicated relationships and believable characters

Lisa Jewell is an author whose name I was familiar with, so when this title was selected as a Book Club read I checked to see what other titles I have read by her. Surprisingly just three over a period of two years in the mid noughties before I started writing reviews.

This was a pleasant read involving complicated relationships and believable characters about a family that has kept a dark secret for years. Everything unravels when the family are forced to return altogether to the family home one Easter. The four children, Meg, Beth, Rory and Rhys had all grown up with memories of an idyllic childhood in the cottage in the country with its rambling garden. Something happened during that period of their lives that they all pushed to the back of their minds, although the event still manages to almost unobtrusively come between them. They are about to discover the truth about a family tragedy.

It is one of those novels where if one says too much the story is spoilt and as I do not believe in spoilers, this all I am going to say. Sorry but some reviews in my opinion are in danger of completely ruining the element of surprise, which is surely what reading a good book is all about!

 Fans of contemporary fiction are bound to enjoy this one, especially if they are already fans of this author.
 I will probably pick up her new book The Third Wife to read having enjoyed this one.

Author Profile

Lisa Jewell was born 19th July 1968 in Middlesex, London. She was educated at St. Michael's Catholic Grammar School in Finchley, North London, leaving school after one day in the sixth form to do an art foundation course at Barnet College followed by a diploma in fashion illustration at Epsom School of Art and Design. 
She worked in fashion retail for several years, namely Warehouse and Thomas Pink.
After being made redundant, Lisa accepted a challenge from a friend to write three chapters of a novel in exchange for dinner at her favourite restaurant. Those three chapters were eventually developed into  Ralph's Party, which then became the UK's best selling début novel of 1999. See below for her list of published novels.

Lisa Jewell now  lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband Jascha and daughters Amelie Mae (born 2003) and Evie Scarlett (born 2007).


  • Ralph's Party (1999)
  • Thirtynothing (2000)
  • One Hit Wonder(2001)
  •  A Friend of the Family (2004)
  • Vince and Joy (2005)
  • 31 Dream Street (2007)
  • The Truth About Melody Browne (2009)
  • After The Party (2010)
  • The Making Of Us (2011)
  • Before I Met You (2012)
  • The House We Grew Up In (2013)
  • The Third Wife (2014)

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads - Author Profile    Lisa Jewell - Facebook Page  Lisa Jewell on Twitter   

Author - Amazon Page