Publisher: Century (18 July 2013)
Meet the Bird Family
All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.
But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.
The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it’s almost as though they’ve never been a family at all.
Almost. But not quite.
Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.
The story of the complicated relationships of the Bird family is told with therapeutic emails from Lorelei (mother) to Bill in the not so distant past, the now … and with Easter being a key point in their lives, we go back to their childhood as they grow up at this time. I enjoy stories structured in this way. From each part we find out a bit more, the plot building and filling in the missing blanks as the three ‘sections’ weave in and out.
Before the tragedy occurs, we come to understand how one sibling Megan, is not so accommodating to mum Lorelei’s eccentricity or quite comfortable with one of her twin brothers. Whilst others find Lorelei endearing, Megan is quite strident in speaking out. Although it’s a reaction to Lorelei’s own childhood, it does become an illness and overtakes her life. As we move through the story, Megan is a strong character, being a protector for her more vulnerable sister Beth and making her own way through life. Although I loved all the characters, Megan is my favourite.
The tragedy affects the family in different ways. Rory is angry, Lorelei pushes it away and doesn’t really accept it and Beth hides from life, using Megan’s life as a crutch. Dad Colin is very much in the background until he makes a life-changing decision that overturns the whole family.
Despite the sadness and emotional trauma, the family are drawn back together as they clear the Bird house. Are they able to forgive? Love each other again? Accept each other?
The House We Grew Up In is a poignant read. It tackles so many real life issues including those we don’t like to acknowledge. The writing is beautiful, the pace just flows and will carry you along as you become involved in this one family’s life. I recommend you add to your reading list.
I would like thank the publishers for accepting my request via Netgalley.