The new psychological thriller from master storyteller, Louise Jensen, will leave you breathless.
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…
About the author…
Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead. Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.
Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a dog and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.
It's my stop on the blog tour for The Family by Louise Jensen. Grateful thanks to Jess at HQ Stories for my copy. I was hugely excited when I heard Louise had written another book, I have devoured every book she has written and with each the tempo, pace and bar is raised. She has immense talent, an author that sucks you right into the heart of the story from page 1.
This book follows the story of Laura and daughter Tilly as they navigate their way through the path of grief, Gavan, husband and father died tragically after falling from the roof of a house he was building. At the same time they are faced with sudden isolation from the rest of the family too, for reasons unknown to them. Almost from the very first chapter I had a nervousness low in the belly, a grey, miserable feeling of dread that hung like a cloud over me. Laura is struggling to cope both emotionally and financially and is trying to hold it together for Tilly. Tilly is finding herself without friends and ostracised at school by her friends and both try to keep their hurt and grief from each other.
There are hints and insinuations that Gavan, Lauras husband didn't die as a result of an accident and the insurance company are withholding payment of his life insurance whilst it is investigated. The family are at rock bottom and broken. Laura is about to lose the roof over their heads and has no idea what she is going to do, how they will survive, where they will live. She is thrown a lifeline in the form of Alex and Oak Leaf Organics - Saffron came to Laura's rescue one day after she fell ill and they became friends, she told her she should visit the farm, that she'd be made welcome whilst she gathered her thoughts and planned a strategy for the months ahead.
Laura reluctantly accepts the lifeline, she has no choice, things couldn't get any worse. Family have turned their back on her and she is desperate. As her car rattled up the potholed, lane to the secluded farm I was internally repeating don't do this, turn around, don't go in. The atmosphere as I read felt tight and claustrophobic I had the most uneasy feeling and my senses were on full alert.
The farm turned out to be a commune of sorts that was a refuge to several others - they were welcoming and caring and welcomed Laura and Tilly into their fold. So why did it feel so wrong, why did I feel anxious and had a gut feeling that screamed things weren't quite right? Laura and Tilly were at rock bottom, they'd lost everything and gave off a sense of empty hopelessness. Saffron, Alex & commune should be their saviour but oh boy, I so wished she'd had second thoughts. Oak Leaf Organics turned out to be both heaven and hell as both Tilly and Laura got sucked into the life there and were pulled in different directions. I didn't trust anyone.
The more I read, the more I couldn't shake the sick feeling of dread that rose from low in the heart of my stomach. I had that feeling that makes you want to stop reading or start reading in equal measures. Too scared to know what’s behind the story yet a burning need to know what comes next. This was a book that haunted me whilst I read it and haunted me when I finished it. Nobody is who they seem, everyone has a back story and a hidden agenda, with individual stories so separate yet joined like the links on a bracelet.
Louise Jensen is a firm go to author of mine, an author that I would buy and read without having read anything about the story. Louise thank you for yet another page turning thriller that hooked me in and gripped me so tightly I felt captive, breathless and broken as I walked in the footsteps of Laura and Tilly. An outstanding read that will stay with me forever, a read I have already recommended to so many friends, thank you.