cover image The House We Grew Up In

The House We Grew Up In

Lisa Jewell. Atria, $24 (400p) ISBN 978-1-476-70299-5

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. (Aug.)