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06 October 2019

Book Review: The Family by Louise Jensen *AD Gifted

HQ sent me a free review copy of The Family by Louise Jensen ahead of the blog tour.

It has been years since I read Louise Jensen's first book The Sister, and I remember liking it, so I was eager to read The Family, especially since it had such an intriguing blurb. And I was not disappointed, it's a really thrilling read.

The Family by Louise Jensen coverAdd to Goodreads button
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…

Source: Review Copy

5 Words: Family, belonging, money, safety, love.

Content Warnings: Sexual assault, rape, blackmail, coercion, manipulation, cult, violent crime, bullying.

I went in to The Family knowing that I'd like it - I'm a sucker for a cult story and Oak Leaf Organics had cult written all over it. So take notice of those content warnings because I was not fully prepared for how dark this book got.

First off I have to say that I loved the writing style. As you can see from my Book Beginnings, it is lush and almost lyrical, and it really brought the settings to life.

I really liked the way the narrative jumped between characters, especially when Laura and Tilly would present the same scenes in such different ways. It made the familial resentment feel more real, I had a great sense of empathy for the two of them. I could really feel their desperation, and especially at the start when everything was first falling apart in their world.

I wasn't such a fan of Alex's take on everything, but then again I don't think you're meant to be a fan of Alex at all. He's a source of darkness in the story.

The Family does have some twists and I didn't see all of them coming, especially as we got to the end of the story. There was a certain amount of predictability, but I feel that with most thrillers nowadays. It's fast paced and I flipped the pages quickly, eager to see how it all panned out.

Ultimately I enjoyed this book, although it was a bit predictable. I did think that the predictable elements made it somehow more enjoyable, like in my mind it was "AH HA yes I was right". It's a perfect thriller for long autumn nights. I just wish there had maybe been some warnings about the on page sexual assault and perhaps some helpline numbers in the back, because it was brutal.


  1. I love a good twisty, turny thriller and this looks like it's exactly that! Though I'm not such a fan of super dark subjects, but I do love a great writing style, so I think I might have to invest in a copy!

  2. Ooo I am definitely going to get my hands on this one!

  3. A cult huh? I like the promise of twists and turns, but there is something about a cult that creeps me out so that I need to be in the right mood for a book like this.

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this too! I thought Tilly and Laura's perspectives almost mirroring each other was really clever.
    I do like being able to predict twists as well but it's that bit more fun to be surprised.

  5. Oh, cults? I am sold! Adding it to my TBR now!


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