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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.3 out of 5
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  • Couldn’t Put It Down!

    It’s a steamy summer day, and something isn’t right at the West house. On a normal weekday, the house should be teeming with noise and activity; John going to work and Katherine herding her five-year-old twins out the door to walk to school. But today their neighbor Gladys notices that the house is silent and the blinds are drawn. Later in the morning, deliveryman Logan attempts to deliver a package, only to be told that Katherine can’t open the door. Both Gladys and Logan are unsettled and know something is off, but neither could imagine that inside the house, Katherine and her children are being held at gunpoint. The action in this book took place all in one day, and that’s how long it took me to devour this book – all in one day! The storyline is well plotted and the character development is outstanding. Told in alternating viewpoints between Logan, Gladys, Katherine, and the gunman, the story begins with gunshots and then gradually reveals what led up to that terrible moment. The action had my heart in my throat, as the reader often knows what’s happening in the West house but Logan and Gladys do not. My first read from Nicole Trope had me on the edge of my seat and I can’t wait to read more by this author!

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  • Katherine and John seemed to have a perfect life

    Katherine and John seemed to have a perfect life, a great marriage, and adorable 5 year old twins. But everything changes one day. Gladys the "nosy" neighbor doesn't see Katherine or the kids and becomes concerned. Logan the delivery guy is suspicious when Katherine won't take her package that she needs to sign for. Told in alternating POV we learn over the course of seven hours why Katherine is stuck inside her house and why her and her children are being held hostage. This was my first book by Nicole Trope and I am so glad that a few of my friends recommended it to me. Her writing was superb! The twist at the end definitely got me and it tied up all of the loose ends perfectly. If you are looking for a compelling read that you'll have a hard time putting down, pick up a copy. Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for my honest review

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  • An engrossing, nail-biting read!

    What an engrossing, nail-biting read! This compulsive novel grabbed me right from the start, with a shotgun being fired inside a neighbour’s house. And so begins the fast-paced action! The story is told via flashbacks to the build up to this situation and from three POV: Katherine, the mother inside the house with twins George and Sophie; Logan, a heavily tattooed ex-con, trying his hardest to conquer his anger issues and turn his life around; and Gladys, an elderly ‘nosy’ neighbour, looking after her husband whose health is rapidly declining. This is a strongly emotional and all-absorbing story, all the back stories had me gripped, caring about all the characters and the complexities of their individual lives. It has been intricately plotted with twists aplenty. It is, at times, quite brutal, but always realistic and totally absorbing. I read late into the night to reach the final, nerve-wracking conclusion but was relieved that the story was completely wrapped up for me. Totally recommend this book!

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  • Thrilling read

    The Family Across the Street will grab you from page one and not let go. I sat down to read one or two chapters and I could not put the book down , I just had to know what happened. A few hours later I had my answer and I did not see that ending coming at all. Gun shots ring out in a quiet neighbourhood . Before that both the neighbour and a delivery driver just have a gut feeling that there is something wrong at the house of Katherine and John. The book is tense and the pages turn themselves. Nicole Trope always tells a good story but this is my favourite by her.

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  • A gripping domestic drama set in Sydney

    Nicole Trope's latest, The Family Across the Street is a gripping domestic drama set on a scorching summer's day in Sydney, Australia. The story opens with new mother Margo soothing her baby son Joseph, who's uncomfortable in the heat. She's about to change him when she hears a loud crack outside in the street. Going to investigate, Margo encounters Gladys, the septuagenarian who lives across the road - known as the neighbourhood busybody - who frantically warns her to return inside immediately, as shots have been fired. She's stunned to realise that the disturbance seems centred around the well-kept home of Katherine West, her husband John and their five-year-old twins, George and Sophie. From this point, the narrative reverts to seven hours earlier, and unfolds from four alternate perspectives. Logan, a parcel delivery driver, is hoping to get through his deliveries early, before the worst of the forecast scorching heat settles over Sydney. He has a package to deliver, one that will need to be signed for. When he knocks on the door, the addressee - a Mrs. Katherine West - eventually answers from inside, but refuses to open the door to him, asking him to "please understand". He leaves, but spends the rest of the morning preoccupied by a feeling that something is wrong. Meanwhile, the Wests' neighbour, Gladys, is tied to her house for the day, caring for her husband, Lou, who suffers from Parkinson's disease. She's a little nosy, but yearns for the close community connections that existed for previous generations. She notices that the West family's curtains remain uncharacteristically drawn and that Katherine hasn't emerged to walk the children to school as usual. Concerned that the family may be unwell, she knocks on the front door a couple of times during the morning, only to be told by Katherine through the closed door that it's "not a good time". When she spots a makeshift sign in one of the upstairs windows, reading "Halp Us" in childish handwriting, she's galvanised into action. Our remaining two perspectives are from within the West home - those of Katherine herself and her increasingly agitated armed captor. All four of the intertwined storylines comprise compelling character studies, as each narrator relates their past formative experiences and present challenges. Nicole Trope skilfully uses the alternate perspectives and a little clever misdirection in leading the reader towards the dramatic conclusion. The Family Across the Street addresses a variety of contemporary themes, including the way relationships - particularly marriages - evolve and power balances shift over time and the importance of neighbourhood and community bonds. She also depicts parent-child relationships from the perspectives of both children and adults, depicting both deeply caring and selfless love and terrible abuse and neglect, probing the long-term impacts of both on the developing self. Characters who suffer debilitating internalised pain make choices when faced with current stressors, some paths leading to redemption, others to the prospect of annihilation. I note that the title has been changed shortly prior to the publication date, from Home Sweet Home to The Family Across the Street. I can't say I find the new title particularly compelling, although I'm sure the publisher has their reasons for the change and there does seem to be a current trend towards these rather bland descriptive titles. Personally, I felt that Home Sweet Home carried an intriguing irony and better encapsulated the ensemble nature of the cast of characters. This was a thought-provoking and stimulating read, which I finished in a couple of sittings. I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy nuanced domestic dramas, although there are potential triggers associated with domestic abuse, violence to children and child neglect. My thanks to the author, Nicole Trope, publisher Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.

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