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Too Close To Home by Susan Lewis
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Too Close To Home (edition 2015)

by Susan Lewis (Author)

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7721261,874 (4)None
The compelling and heart-breaking new novel from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. Jenna and Jack Moore have moved their family to Wales for a fresh start. For vivacious, happy-go-lucky fifteen-year-old Paige the future is full of promise. But suddenly everything changes. Paige becomes more and more withdrawn. The closeness she once shared with her mother a distant memory. It then becomes clear that Jack has secrets too. Preoccupied with her younger children, her husband's fidelity and their fledgling publishing company, Jenna doesn't realise the extent of her eldest daughter's unhappiness until the unthinkable happens. And the nightmare is only just beginning.… (more)
Member:PamCoulthard
Title:Too Close To Home
Authors:Susan Lewis (Author)
Info:Arrow (2015), 432 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
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Too Close to Home: A Novel by Susan Lewis

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Too Close to Home by Susan Lewis is a rather grim novel about a family who slowly begins to unravel. Difficult subject matter is deftly handled but the pacing is slow and the message is sometimes lost in the tedious details of day to day life.

Jenna Moore is a happily married mother of four. Despite the loss of her husband Jack's job the year prior, they and their children have settled into a rather idyllic life in Wales following their move from London. Just as she and Jack are on the verge of launching their internet publishing company, she is struggling with writer's block as the deadline for her next novel approaches. While Jenna could not be more thrilled with how well their life is going, slowly, but surely, cracks begin to appear in her marriage and as her once happy union begins to fall apart, so does the rest of her family.

Initially, Jenna is a likable character who is, without a doubt, an involved and caring mother. She is a little naive and trusting and since she is the creative side of their upcoming publishing company, she never thinks to question Jack's business decisions despite a few anomalies that come to her attention. Even when faced with Jack's increasingly secretive behavior and inconsistent explanations, Jenna remains woefully blind to what should be glaringly obvious to her. But when the full truth comes out about Jack and their business, Jenna's over the top and outrageous behavior puts her in the completely unsympathetic category. While her anger and hurt is understandable, her inability to put her children first makes it impossible to feel sorry for her. But what is completely beyond comprehension is Jenna's inability to see how terribly wrong things are with her oldest daughter.

At the beginning of the novel, fifteen year old Paige has everything going for her. Although she does not have a huge circle of friends, she is well-liked and popular. She is doing well in school and she is very excited about a few upcoming projects she is involved in. But the tide begins to turn for Paige after her Facebook account is hacked and a stranger befriends her online. Her situation deteriorates quickly and despite her best friend's attempts to convince her to tell someone what is going on, Paige keeps quiet in hopes that things will improve on their own. The escalation of what is happening to her coincides with her family's problems and Paige's trust in the wrong person leads her down a very dark path.

While the different story arcs are interesting, the novel moves at a snail's pace. The first half of novel is filled with superfluous details of the family's day to day life and it is not until about the halfway point that anything noteworthy occurs. The next several chapters are sometimes cringe worthy as Jenna makes one bad decision after another regarding Jack. Paige's situation rapidly deteriorates as her situation worsens and she continues making misguided choices. The last quarter of the novel moves at a breakneck speed once Jenna finally discovers what has been happening with Paige.

Despite its flaws, Too Close to Home is well worth reading. Paige's storyline is sadly true to life and her reactions to the situation ring true. Although Jenna's portion of the novel is a little hard to relate to, her circumstances are also dishearteningly realistic. Life is not always sunshine and roses and I commend Susan Lewis for tackling such difficult (yet topical) topics in her latest release. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
This went straight to the top of my guilty pleasure reads list. There was more family drama here than you'd find in a season's worth of daytime TV. Nothing actually fell outside the realm of possibility but the non-stop piling on of one crises after another certainly pushed the limits. And all it did was make me turn the pages that much faster.

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Too Close to Home starts out as a tame enough book....until everything starts falling apart! In fact, I found it easy enough to lay aside....at first! Then it started building up some intrigue, and tension, and you weren't sure where it was going.....what was behind what was happening. That's when I couldn't put it down, and stayed up until 2am on night to finish it!! There's not one, but 2 events going on here, simultaneously. Things are not what they seem in this seemingly happy family....the wife is trusting, the husband appears to be a devoted family man....but all is not as it seems. And the teen becomes moody, and you are wondering what is the issue? It wasn't what I suspected at first, but it was a very well written story of a sadly common issue in our society. All in all, an excellent read!! ( )
  macnoid | Feb 29, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this book--there were two main things happening in it (one: the protagonist's marriage was falling apart and she was blindsided by it; and two: the eldest daughter was being severely bullied at school and online). Both of these subject matters would have been interesting to read about on their own, but the combination of them made the story so much more realistic, in my opinion. It seems like, in life, bad stuff often hits us all at once! (As does good--I'm not trying to sound negative.) I appreciated the realistic feel of this story. Also, I appreciated the setting--it's set in Wales, and I'm completely unfamiliar with that area, being an American who's only traveled a bit around my own country.

I will definitely recommend this to friends & family!!! ( )
  trayceetee | Feb 25, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
After moving to Wales, Paige’s perfect family is unraveling at the seams. Her mother and father have started fighting constantly; her father is leaving home and lying about where he’s been. Her mother is more and more anxious and not like her usual self. Paige has her own problems which she feels she can’t share with her already stressed family. But Paige needs help: she is being bullied at school and someone has hacked her social media accounts. She is desperately trying to handle things by herself but it’s escalating dangerously.

Susan Lewis has written an intense novel that kept me up at nights worrying about what would happen to Paige. Cyber bullying is still happening and she has put us in every family’s nightmare. The transitions between Jenna (the mother) and Paige’s point of view are well done. Her characters are very true to life and I got angry and sad and anxious and laughed and felt their joy as I read her words. My warning is that there are some graphic dialogue and adults situations. 4 stars ( )
  PamelaBarrett | Feb 23, 2016 |
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The compelling and heart-breaking new novel from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. Jenna and Jack Moore have moved their family to Wales for a fresh start. For vivacious, happy-go-lucky fifteen-year-old Paige the future is full of promise. But suddenly everything changes. Paige becomes more and more withdrawn. The closeness she once shared with her mother a distant memory. It then becomes clear that Jack has secrets too. Preoccupied with her younger children, her husband's fidelity and their fledgling publishing company, Jenna doesn't realise the extent of her eldest daughter's unhappiness until the unthinkable happens. And the nightmare is only just beginning.

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