The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth (Book Summary)

Essie lives in Pleasant Court with her husband, Ben and two children, Mia and Polly. When Mia was still a baby, Essie has gone into port partum depression when Mia was still a baby. She just left Mia in the park. She went home and her mother, Barbara, asked her where Mia is. Fortunately, when they went back to the park, Mia is still in the same spot she left her.

Polly is Essie’s second baby and she is trying to make everything right this time. Barbara has also moved to a house in Pleasant Court to help her.

Essie is sort of friends with her neighbors, Ange and Fran. They will be having another neighbor, her name is Isabel. Unlike the usual resident at Pleasant Court, Isabel is living in the house alone. It was said that she is moving because of her work. They also assumed that Isabel is gay, because she mentioned a partner and she doesn’t have a family of her own even when she is already around 40 years old.

Ange organized a neighborhood watch meeting, she came up with this idea when they talked about that incident a few years before when a baby was snatched from her home. Essie intended to go to this meeting but she decided to drop by Isabel’s place first because she thought it would make Isabel more comfortable or more welcome. However, Essie and Isabel ended up just having dinner and wine, and skipping the meeting. Essie had so much fun that night.

Just as expected, Ange asked Essie why she wasn’t on the meeting. Essie told her that she was looking after Barbara, who has a cold. This was a lie, and even thought she did nothing wrong, Essie also told the same lie to her husband.

Lately, Barbara and Ben noticed that Essie is acting unusual, it looks like she’s going to have another episode of post partum depression. Barbara decided to let Essie relax, by booking an appointment for her to a salon. When Essie came back Barbara was shocked because of how Essie looked – she copied Isabel’s hairstyle. After having that new hairstyle, Essie phoned Isabel, wanting to meet her so she could show her her new look. Isabel was about to go to Essie however her boyfriend, Jules, arrived. They haven’t seen each other for a while and Isabel missed him, they had sex and she forgot about going to Essie.

Essie was waiting for Isabel and was looking at her house through the window. She saw someone going inside with her and she decided to go to Isabel’s house, and check what was happening. She saw Isabel with Jules. At that moment, Essie realizes that she loves Isabel.

Just in time, Ben found Essie and asked her to come home. She refused to leave, and she only agreed to come with Ben when Isabel went out of the house and saw her. That night, Barbara left Mia and Polly at Ange’s as they took Essie to the hospital.

While in the hospital, Isabel visited Essie. Essie ended up confessing that she has gone obsessed with Isabel, that she’s attracted to her, that she loves her. Instead of being surprised, Isabel said that it all made sense. Isabel explained that they are sisters, and what Essie is feeling is just Genetic Sexual Attracted. She revealed that Essie’s real name was Sophie, that she was snatched from the hospital when she was a baby. Isabel also has proof, she took a strand of hair from Mia and had it tested, the result confirmed their relation. Essie doesn’t believe this, she insists that Barbara is her mother and Isabel may have made a mistake. She asked Isabel to leave.

Back at Pleasant Court, Isabel decided to confront Barbara about stealing Essie as a baby. Barbara looked shocked, it wasn’t the reaction that Isabel expected. Barbara insisted that Essie is her baby. After that, she went inside her car with Mia as they are headed to the hospital to visit Essie. However, it has already been over an hour and they haven’t arrived at the hospital. Ben started looking for them and Isabel confessed that her confrontation may have affected Barbara.

Barbara got very confused during the car ride with Mia. She has confused the past from the present, she thought the child she is in the car with is Essie, not Mia. She got confused on why Mia calls her gran, and she insisted that she is her Mum. A woman saw Barbara’s confused look and got suspicious. When Mia started crying, Barbara pulled her shirt even though it looks like it is hurting Mia. The woman took a video, and the police was able to locate them.

When Mia was already in the car, they drove away once more. Barbara is confused where she is going, so she decided to get out of the car to ask for help. However, Mia also made a run outside because she wants to go to the tram. Barbara ran after her because another vehicle was approaching. Mia was safe, but it was Barbara who got injured.

Barbara survived, and after being released to the hospital, she is going to stay at a psychiatric facility. Essie already believed Isabel’s story about Barbara kidnapping her, but Essie does not hate Barbara. Barbara will not go to jail because she wasn’t mentally stable when she did the crime. Essie also got her back, because after all, Barbara has been a great mother. In the end, Barbara lived in a home that is not too close and not too far from Pleasant Court. She stays in touch with Essie and her family, even though she is not allowed to spend time with the children without someone else’s supervision.

In the end, all went well. Isabel gave birth to a baby girl and they named her Sophie.

Other relevant scenes.

      • Ange is also facing her own problems. She found out that her husband, Luke, cheated again. He cheated on her first with Josie. Luke was about to leave Ange for Josie that time, but Ange isn’t ready to be alone so she told him that she’s pregnant. She is not, but she had sex with Luke multiple times to get herself pregnant. Their marriage survived, Josie is no longer an issue.
      • This time, Ange found out again that Luke cheated again and he had a daughter with the woman. Luke asked for forgiveness, and she tried forgiving him. However, Ange later on realized that she no longer wants to settle with Luke. She realized this when she noticed how Ben looks at Essie, Luke doesn’t look at her like that. Ange and Luke broke up.
      • Fran also has her own problem. When her first child was born, her husband Nigel, went through depression. During that time, she had an affair with a workmate. She got pregnant again and she wasn’t sure if the baby was Nigel, or the man she had multiple one night stands with. She later on confessed this to Nigel. It affected their marriage, he went away for a business trip. When Eva was rushed to the hospital due to high fever, Fran called Nigel and he flew back immediately. They decided to work things out. Fran discovered that her mom, who seemed not to care about her at all, has called Nigel and apologized for her. In the end, Nigel held on to the huge possibility that Eva is really his daughter because her blood type is O-, which is a very rare blood type.

The End of The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth.

Published by

Eva Harmoni

There was one night when the rain poured so hard, and i didn't want it to stop. Weird, because i was afraid and amused by the sound of the rain and thunder. The sound of it made me less alone that night. The next day i woke up to find my collection of journals soaked. I keep it near the window to make sure no one could read it. The writings can still be read but i was devastated by the damage. I wanted it preserved but i don't want it published. Still amused by the rain but afraid of the wrath it could bring to my journals, i created this blog.

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