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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Family Next Door

ISBN: 9781801625579

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 07/27/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 4.5 Stars (ARC)

On the quiet street of St Brigid’s Terrace in Dublin, Eileen Murphy lives alone at number 26 with her dog Dora. Virtually a recluse, she keeps herself to herself as she tries to come to terms with her tragic past.

Next door in number 28 lives beautiful Lucy Walsh, her husband Neil and their 5-year-old daughter Anabel. To Eileen, who watches from her window, the Walshes are the perfect family.

But one fateful night, Eileen is pulled into their world and she realises that Lucy Walsh’s life isn’t as perfect as she thought.

With the unexpected help from little Anabel, the women become a lifeline for each other to overcome the demons in their lives.

Through Eileen’s help, Lucy finds the courage to overcome her fears and in aiding Lucy, Eileen is forced to emerge from her solitary world and take baby steps to confront her own past.

As the bonds of friendship change these women forevermore will Lucy find the courage to forge a new life for herself and her daughter and will Eileen find it within herself to forgive for her old mistakes?

My Review

Caroline Finnerty's latest novel, THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR, brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers (neighbors) with dark secrets who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.

A beautifully written story of two unlikely neighbors who find they have more in common than they know.

Set in Dublin, Ireland, Lucy Walsh (makeup artist) is married to her husband, Neil (gym owner), and their beautiful 5-year-old daughter, Anabel. They have renovated #28 St. Brigid's Terrace row house, and now Lucy would like to consider having a second child as a sibling for Anabel. Neil is against it.

Next door at #26 is Eileen Murphy, who lives alone with her dog Dora. She appears to be a recluse. She watches out her window at the perfect family next door. She has been through so much, but no one knows her past in this neighborhood. She has worked hard to forget it.

However, The Walshes are not as perfect as they seem. It turns out Neil is controlling, verbally and physically abusive. The two neighbors collide when during a big fight between the parents, Anabel knocks on Eileen's door for help.

Due to Eileen's past, she typically does not get involved in things like this but hears the noise and must help Lucy and Anabel. She urges her to file charges; however, Lucy chooses not to.

Neil promises it will not happen again, and he will seek counseling. He uses the excuse of his abusive father. However, the next time comes, and it is much worse. This time Eileen calls the authorities and is there for Lucy and Anabel. Lucy winds up in the hospital, and the two women share their darkest secrets.

Lucy wants to return the favor by helping out Eileen. She learns of her dark past and wants to help her regain her family— leading Lucy, Eileen, Anabel, and Dora to the charming Provence to face her past.

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR is a testament to unlikely friendships and the power of hidden strengths—a heart-stirring novel about love, loss, fears, and moving forward.

Endearing, bittersweet, and heartwarming! Both Eileen and Lucy will find the courage to step out of their comfort zone, overcome their demons, face their fears, forgive themselves, and be open to second chances.

Character-driven, an unforgettable story of courage. An unexpected bond between two women in an uplifting novel about the past—lost and found.

Often "family" does not have to be blood-related; it can be right before you. Oh, how I loved this story. The author dives deep into emotionally charged topics of mental illness, postnatal depression, and domestic violence with compassion and sensitivity.

I adored Eileen, Dora the dog, Lucy, and Anabel. I also enjoyed Tim, the social worker's character. I love reading multi-generational stories—there is much to learn from those older/younger. Life is messy, and families are complicated. Things do not always turn out the way we plan. But you must pick yourself up, reset and not let it define you.

I was drawn to Eileen's story and how the two women embraced one another when they needed one another the most. My first book by the author—(impressive), and I look forward to reading more! I love discovering new authors I have not read previously. If you are in the US and a fan of authors Catherine Ryan Hyde (favs) and Elizabeth Berg —you will love THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR!

Special thanks to Boldwood Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4.5 Stars— rounded to 5

Pub Date: July 27, 2023

About the Author

Thank you for visiting my author page. I am an Irish author living on the banks of the Grand Canal in Co. Kildare with my husband and our four young children. My books have been described as emotional tearjerkers and always have a big dilemma at their heart. I love to explore the different sides of human behaviour and why we do what we do. My 7th book A Sister's Promise is out now. You can find out more about me on my website or contact me on Facebook (carolinefinnertywriter) or Twitter (@cfinnertywriter).

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