The Family Across The Street
August 4th, 2021
The Family Across The Street is Nicole Trope’s latest novel. Her American debut was in June of this year with the outstanding book, The Boy In The Photo. With all her books, readers get a vivid plot that grips them and grabs their full attention. The stories usually delve into everything from emotional abuse, child abuse (both psychological and sexual), and domestic violence.
The Boy In the Photo was first published by Grand Central Publishing this June. It takes readers on an emotional roller coaster involving love, hurt, heartbreak, and joy. The story is told in two parts: six years ago, and six years later. Megan Kade divorced her abusive husband, Greg Stanthorpe. Intending to get Megan back or to hurt her he kidnaps their son and goes off the grid. Six years later the boy, Daniel, appears at a New South Wales police station, reporting that his dad died in a fire. Daniel is distant, volatile, and in some ways resistant to Megan. He believes all the horror stories told to him by his father. The flashbacks of how both Megan and Daniel feel in the six-year gap emphasizes their grief and apprehension.
The Family Across The Street, her latest book, can be purchased as either an e-book or a paperback. The plot begins with Kathleen and her five-year-old twins, George and Sophie, being terrorized by someone in their house. Logan, a delivery driver, gets a strange feeling that something is wrong after he tries to deliver a package that requires a signature, and the homeowner tells him she can’t open the door. He is not alone; Gladys, the caring across the street neighbor, also suspects something is wrong. Both grapple with deciding if they should intervene. Would they be interfering and falsely calling the police or should they be disinterested and mind their own business. This is a subject explored throughout the plot along with how Kathleen plans to protect her children.
All her books are riveting reads with another two books that readers might want to read first, The Nowhere Girl and The Life She Left Behind.
The Nowhere Girl has Alice married to a wonderful man, Jack, and raising three wonderful children. But as with many of Trope’s books this character has a secret. She has told Jack that she ran away from home when she was younger, but she didn’t tell him the whole story. Her husband doesn’t know about the guilt she bears about her little sister she failed to save. Trying to come to grips with her emotions, she starts a blog for those abused. One of the women she is in contact with wants to meet her. But she wants her past to stay in her past, until she realizes that her abusive father is watching her and waiting to attack. The story goes back and forth explaining Alice’s childhood and how she plans on protecting her family.
The Life She Left Behind also has a wife not able to confide in her husband about her past. Twenty-eight years later the secret does not stay buried. Rachel and her husband Ben, along with their young daughter Beth, have just moved into their very first house in a new housing complex. But what should be a happy and joyous moment is shattered when someone breaks into their new home leaving Rachel with memories of a childhood she wishes to forget. Someone is leaving her childhood Troll dolls in places for her child to find. It seems her mother and she escaped the domestic violence inflicted by the husband/father. But has he returned?
As with all her books, Trope skillfully keeps readers guessing, always having a twist at the end of the story. She has the reader take a journey with the characters as they try to protect themselves and their family. She also has the reader ponder a question about what would they do: would they call the police, would they leave and start a new life, or would they stay? Because of the abuse scenes, readers will be on the edge of their seats hoping that the heroine can overcome the evil in her life.
Elise Cooper: How would you describe your books?
Nicole Trope: There is a family where, in a certain moment, something changes in their life, and how they react. Usually there are troubling characters, where I hope to redeem them in some way. I want readers to understand why they behaved the way they did. Many of the books deal with abuse and families in crisis.
EC: How did you get the idea for your last book, The Family Across The Street?”
NT: Looking at Facebook, I saw a post by an American photographer who took pictures of gang members’ and their tattoos. One guy had a very emotional reaction after seeing his picture where the tattoos were photoshopped out. He felt without them he looked like an average person. I thought about someone who might not have had a good start and wanted to change their life. Yet, they are marked forever. In this book, Logan, the delivery driver was like that and after he entered my head along came the story.
EC: In most of your books the abusers have a certain persona?
NT: They are dominant, distrustful, angry, violent, and like to inflict fear. Many times, they like to be in control because they cannot control their own rage, anger, and fear. There is an underlying reason for their emotions.
EC: There are also mothers who want to stay close to their children?
NT: In this book, The Family Across The Street, the heroine Katherine West has a wonderful new start. Yet, she does not want to be cut out of her older child’s life. She is very much a mother who is trying to do her best.
EC: Gladys, is the neighbor across the street?
NT: She is an elderly woman who is from a different generation when all the neighbors knew each other. She is struggling because her best friend, her husband, is dying. She must contemplate a future without him in her life. She never had children, so she is lonely.
EC: This book shows how many people feel about getting involved?
NT: This is something that fascinates me. When to call the police? Does someone call if they hear a child crying or do they go over to their neighbor’s house to make sure everything is OK? I understand the reader wants someone to call the police because they know more than the neighbors. I made sure the event takes place only over one day because I want the neighbors and Logan to consider what to do. People are afraid to put forward the wrong foot yet, the consequences could be devastating if wrong. The Family Across The Street had people afraid of overreacting, but worried their neighbors are being harmed. It is very difficult to know what to do.
EC: Did the five-year-old George steal the show in your latest book?
NT: He is very protective, caring, and will grow up into a lovely man. I loved him. He is a brave little soldier.
EC: What about your next book?
NT: It comes out October of this year, titled, The Mother’s Fault. It is in the same vein as the last book.