“FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?
FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?
TILL DEATH US DO PART.”
I was kindly invited to take part in the blog tour for Our House by Jess at Simon & Schuster, and if you were around over the weekend you would have seen a brilliant guest post on the blog written by the author, Louise Candlish. When Jess approached me about the tour, I didn’t think I would be able to fit a review in. But, in the end, I just couldn’t help myself! (And I know I promised you that review on Monday but I’m afraid life got in the way a little, as it does to all of us sometimes.)
I did, however, finish reading Our House over the weekend and I’m still feeling a number of the unsettling emotions it has left me with. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a GREAT book but flipping heck, it made me really quite uncomfortable at times. It’s a strange one (a good strange one). I struggled to put it down but at the same time, I didn’t want to pick it again once I had put it down. Isn’t that a weird thing to say?! I knew things were only going to get worse for the Lawson family and whilst I was seriously intrigued by their situation, at points, I wasn’t sure I wanted to witness them. It was like I wanted to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible. Gosh, I hope I’m making some sort of sense here. It felt a little like slowing down to gawp as you pass a road traffic accident, a little ghoulish…
Fi returns home after a romantic break with her new man to find a young couple moving into their family home. There is no mistake about it; the funds have been transferred and the names on the deeds have been changed. Fi’s beloved family home is no longer hers. But this is the first she’s heard about it. Fi would never even consider selling their house; it was meant to be passed down to her boys. It was their inheritance. To complicate matters Fi’s estranged husband, Bram is missing. He’s not picking up his phone. No one has seen hide nor hair of him. What’s going on? How could this happen? Are Fi and Bram the victims of some complex property fraud, or is the source of the crime much closer to home than anyone imagines…
The way Candlish has told the story is exceptional. We meet Fi as she discovers the horrible truth, her home is no longer her own. The reader watches from the shadows as she argues and debates with the new owners, urging them to understand what a terrible mistake this must all be. But it has to be true, the paperwork says so, as does the missing two million pounds. Which takes us to ‘The Victim‘, a Podcast that “tells the true story of a crime directly in the words of the victim. ‘The Victim’ is not an investigation, but a privileged insight into an innocent person’s suffering.” [taken from Louise Candlish’s website]. These sections are where we get to see the real Fi; her naivety, her good nature, her gullibility and her strong love and devotion to her two sons. The reader also gets to hear Bram’s side of the story which doesn’t make for a pleasant read. Bram is an idiot. He’s probably King Idiot actually! I wanted to thump him at times and, truth be told, I also wanted to give him a big cuddle and tell him it would be alright in the end (that really isn’t a spoiler by the way!). Bram’s devotion to his boys, if nothing else, melted my heart. The dawning realisation of what was happening to him and what the repercussions of that was tough going at times.
Before I turn this into the longest review I have ever written, I want to talk briefly about the end of this book. I was warned about a big twist and it really is quite devastating as books go. It wasn’t a WOW moment for me though, I found myself inhaling sharply and then slumping in a heap. If at any point in the book, you feel any kind of fondness or warmth for the characters, I expect you may feel the same. Several days later and I’m still turning over the story of Fi and Bram in my mind. I wish it had ended differently for them, but the ending was perfect.
Would I recommend this book? I would. It’s quite different to many other domestic suspense novels I have read over the years. It’s a triumphant step up for a genre that I often feel can be quite samey. Full of emotion, probably more than I could handle at times, and totally devastating in places. With characters that leap off the page at you and with situations you could easily find yourself in, Our House is a must read.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an ARC of Our House. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Our House by Louise Candlish was published in the UK by Simon & Schuster (UK) on 5th April 2018 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and grew up in the Midlands town of Northampton. She studied English at University College London and lives in Herne Hill in South London with her husband and daughter. She is the bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Swimming Pool (2016) and The Sudden Departure of the Frasers (2015), Her new novel Our House, will be published in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster in the UK and in August 2018 by Berkley in the US.
The Sudden Departure of the Frasers has been optioned for TV by Hartswood Films.
Besides books, the things Louise likes best are: coffee; TV (so much TV, too much, probably); cats and dogs; salted caramel; France (especially the Ile de Re); Italy (especially Sicily); tennis; soup; Vanity Fair magazine; ‘Book at Bedtime’; lasagne; heavy metal; ‘The Archers’; driving towards the sea (but not into it); anything at the Royal Opera House; white wine; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or, failing that, a Starbar).