The House We Grew Up In – Book Review

by Jennifer Donovan

5M4B disclosure

the house we grew up in

I love a good family drama. I’m not sure if it’s because I do see my family in them or because in comparison, my family looks nice and normal, but that kind of fiction does ring true for me and draws me in as I get to know the characters and as I cheer for a favorable resolution to whatever is bothering them.

Lisa Jewell has never disappointed me, and this book is certainly no different. Jewell portrays a family full of people with flaws, but they are still likable or at least understandable in their own ways.

The beginning of her latest novel
The House We Grew Up In was a little tough for me, because it was skipping around in time, featuring the life of the Bird family in the past, plus what was happening in the present with some relatively present emails from Lorelei to Jim.

So, we know something has happened, but we aren’t quite sure what or why. Eldest daughter Megan is at the old house with her teen daughter Molly. Lorelei is gone. We don’t know much about the rest of the family, but the flashback scenes show twins Rhys and Rory growing up as the babies of the family, Beth staying in the shadows and older sister Megan pushing the boundaries, beginning to see her family in a new light, beginning to see their dysfunction, in particular Lorelei’s hoarding tendencies.

The flashbacks center around Easter Sunday, a holiday important to Lorelei, not for religious reasons,but for the festivities that she likes to create. One Easter something awful happens to Rhys, and it changes everyone in the family, pulling them further and further apart.

This is a complex novel of complicated characters, but it’s not quite as dark as it sounds. I was riveted and tried to squeeze as much reading time as I could to figure out what happened to Rhys, how and when Lorelei’s dysfunction grew so strong, how she and Colin split, what caused Beth and Megan to stop speaking, and more.

Enter to Win

I loved this book, and I’m so glad we get to give away a copy. Follow the instructions in the widget below.

Start off by leaving a comment telling me if you are already a Lisa Jewell fan, which is your favorite novel (I loved this one and also The Making of Us). If you have never read any, you’re in for a treat, so just leave a comment!

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Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 amy tolley August 4, 2014 at 8:39 am

ive never read one of her books but this one sounds pretty interesting thanks for this chance

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2 Rhonda August 4, 2014 at 9:28 am

This would be my first sounds like a perfect read forme,

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3 Angel wells August 4, 2014 at 9:55 am

I have never read her books but am looking forward to adding her to my list. This book sounds awesome.

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4 anne August 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

I haven’t read this author’s novels but this book sounds captivating and wonderful. thanks.

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5 Christine L. August 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I’ve not yet read any of Lisa Jewell’s work but enjoy a good family drama so would like to give one of her books a try.

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6 DEBIJOT August 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I have not had the pleasure of reading any Lisa Jewell books.

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7 Kristen August 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I haven’t read anything of hers yet.

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8 Beth Skaret August 4, 2014 at 11:44 pm

I’ve not had the privilege of reading any of Lisa Jewell’s work yet. The review is intriguing and I look forward to getting acquainted with her work.

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9 amyc August 5, 2014 at 7:31 am

I have not read anything by this author. This is the first I have heard of her.

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10 Jeanna August 5, 2014 at 9:27 am

I have not ready anything by Lisa Jewell, but your review makes me want to start!

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11 Anita Yancey August 5, 2014 at 10:37 am

I have not read any of Lisa Jewell’s books. But I would love to read this one.

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12 Amy M August 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I haven’t read her stuff, but I’ve seen her name around a lot. I’m most curious, and excited to get into a new writer!

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13 sara haaf August 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I have never read her books, but this sounds interesting! Thanks for the chance to win.

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14 Daniel M August 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm

haven’t read anything by her yet

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15 Linda Kish August 6, 2014 at 12:50 am

I haven’t read any of her books yet.

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16 Samantha Londer August 6, 2014 at 3:01 am

I haven’t read any of her other work yet but I am partway through this novel and it’s wonderful.

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17 Liz August 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I have not, but it sounds good!

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18 Cindy Brooks August 9, 2014 at 1:47 am

No, I’ve not read any of her books. I love finding new authors!

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19 Sunnymay August 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm

No, I’ve not read any Lisa Jewell’s books yet. However, now that I’ve read your review, her story is very moving and I want to get a copy soon.

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20 amanda hardesty August 9, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I have not read her books before

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21 Nancy August 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I have not yet read her books.

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22 danielle August 9, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I’ve never read any of her books

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23 carol gentry August 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm

I have not read any of her books.

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24 samantha wagner August 10, 2014 at 1:04 am

I haven’t read anything of hers yet.

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25 Patricia T August 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

I have not read Lisa Jewell, before, but look forward to reading this one.

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26 Debbi Wellenstein August 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I have not read Lisa Jewell, but I am looking forward to!

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27 Valerie Taylor Mabrey August 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I have not read any of her work, yet.
vmkids3 at msn dot com

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28 Daniel Darcy August 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

I have not!

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29 Shannon F August 11, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I have not read any of her work yet but it sounds great!

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30 Nannypanpan August 12, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I have not read her books

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31 Helga August 13, 2014 at 11:05 am

I have not read her books yet.

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32 Anita August 14, 2014 at 4:24 am

I have yet to read a Lisa Jewell book I couldn’t put down! I don’t think for one minute that this one will be any different.

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33 Lexi August 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

I have not read anything by her but it looks like something I would like. I love to read and I’ve made a goal to read one new book a month this year.

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34 Ru August 14, 2014 at 10:35 am

Haven’t read any of her books, but better late than never.

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35 Jane Thomas August 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

No I havent read any of her books yet, but would like to.

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36 kathy August 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I have not read any of her books as of yet.

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37 sue v August 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

have not read any of her books

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38 Brenda Elsner August 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I have never read her books.

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39 Heather Giovannitti August 15, 2014 at 9:09 am

I have not read one of her novels, but I would love to!

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40 carolyn d August 15, 2014 at 10:26 am

I have not, but I am always looking for good new books!
Thanks!

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41 danielle hall August 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm

i have not read them but im looking forward to checking them out

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42 Ed August 15, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I have not yet read Lisa Jewell.

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43 Hesper Fry August 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I haven’t read any of Lisa Jewell’s books yet.

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44 Lori Walker August 15, 2014 at 6:24 pm

I haven’t read her before but am looking forward to it!

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45 Jenny Q. August 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I have not read any of this author’s books,but it looks like a good book! Recent book I read was Cinder, but I like to read quite a few different genres.

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46 denise a August 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

No, I haven’t read any of her books yet.

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47 Della Barker August 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

No, I haven’t read any of her books, and would love to

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48 Carla August 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm

No, I haven’t read any of her books.

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49 Sue J. August 16, 2014 at 12:42 am

No, I have not read any of her books yet!

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50 LeAnn Knott August 16, 2014 at 4:16 am

I have never read anything by Lisa Jewell. Hope I get the chance!!

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51 Sally Carroccia August 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

Just put this on my to read list after reading a great review on bookbrowse

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52 kathy dalton August 16, 2014 at 8:15 am

I haven’t read any of her books yet.

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53 Lori A. August 16, 2014 at 9:47 am

I have not read one of her books but I’m checking her out now! :)

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54 James Coyne August 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

I have never read any of her books

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55 Mihaela Day August 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

I have never read her books but am looking forward to

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56 Kelley Roach August 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I haven’t read anything of hers yet

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57 Jenny Moses August 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I have not read her yet but I’m very excited to check it out.

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58 lacie spurlock August 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Never have read a book by her, but always hear good things!

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59 wen budro August 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I haven’t read anything by this author yet. The plot of this book sounds like my kind of read.

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60 Kimberly Schotz August 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm

I haven’t read any of her work but I look forward to it.

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61 Diana Hatch August 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I have not read any of her books yet but this one sounds great!

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62 Charlene Kuser August 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm

I am surprised that I haven’t read any of her books.This one sounds very enjoyable.

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63 Laurie Emerson August 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm

I have not read any of her books yet but after reading what this book is about, I am looking forward to finding her books and reading them.

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64 Buddy Garrett August 16, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I haven’t read Lisa Jewell.

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65 joyce mcdowell August 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

i have not read her book

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66 Emma August 28, 2014 at 5:04 am

I’m 30% my way through this book and I’m loving it…I can’t wait to get on the tube for my next fix…I agree with Jennifer it can be quite hard as it jumps around lots, but once you get into the story it seems to all fall into place.

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