Release date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.
Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.
When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.
Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.
The premise of this one captured my attention immediately, I can’t even imagine coming home and seeing another family living in my house, so crazy! As implausible as it sounds Candlish did a fantastic job at giving weight to such a preposterous idea, so much so that I kept wondering if it could happen to me.
The structure of this was really well done, it goes back and forth between the day Fiona realizes that strangers are occupying her home and then snippets from a podcast called The Victim where she appears after the incident. It also has a journal style narrative from Bram’s point of view going back months and laying the groundwork for what is to come. The style kept me really engaged and eager to see how what had happened in the past had such a devastating effect on the Lawson family in the end.
This was a slow burn, it’s on the longer side for a psychological thriller and the chapters are also fairly long. The pacing is more subtle than fast and furious but I remained engrossed and I think the unique structure helped to keep me interested. I think this will be on many lists for recommended summer reads and I can really see why, it has a truly original plot, some great twists and is extremely well written, Candlish has a nuanced style that had an air of sophistication that isn’t always found in thrillers and was really a breathe of fresh air.
Our House in three words: Original, Engaging and Secretive.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.