Our House by Louise Candlish
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 5th April 2018
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 448
Genre: Mystery, 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.
For better, for worse.
When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blind-sided. Trinity Avenue has been her family’s home for years. Where are all her belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared.
For richer, for poorer.
The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been turned upside by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party? What has Bram hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him?
Till death us do part.
I am a big fan of Louise Candlish – she, like almost no – one else, can write gripping, dark and tense stories with twists that you never see coming. Her stories are clever and complex and never straightforward, and this is what I love – and this is why I was so excited for her newest release, “Our House”. This novel’s proofs are also one of the most brilliant ones, and just imagine my frustration when, deep into the story, I was trying to read and my daughter wanted to open and close the doors on the cover. If it were someone else, I’d bite their head off.
One day, Fiona Lawson arrives home to discover other people are moving in her house. Why? She has never sold it! Trinity Avenue has been her and her family’s house for years and there was no reason to sell it, so what’s happening right now? Her soon ex – husband isn’t answering his phone and he’s actually her only hope to explain things. Has he disappeared? What has Bram been hiding? Can they solve the mess?
I’ve never even heard about property – fraud to be honest, but I went into the book with an open mind, and well, after discovering what has happened, it all started to sound very plausible and, what’s worst, possible to happen! The novel was brilliantly well constructed. First we get to know Fi’s point of view, through her recorded podcast, and then Bram’s, through a word document, and so we slowly start to see what has really happened. It was all so easy to follow and there was never a moment of confusion, as everything was brilliantly sorted and logically structured. This alternating narrative works so great that soon I had a feeling I’m in the characters’ heads, living Fi’s life, being part of her world. This way of telling the story, this she said/he said, she did/he did absolutely fits the plot and the author uses it to its full potential.
The characters were proficiently and marveloussly portrayed, however they were not all so much likeable. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that Fi was too forgiving and too naive and yes, she was too whingy and self – centred, just like Toby said at the end. Nonetheless, you wanted to ask yourself what you would do in Fi’s situation, how would you react. It was so easy, thanks to the rich and descriptive writing, to feel her confusion, her fear. Bram was weak, and even the lengths he will go to to somehow solve the situation, his desperation and genuine sorrow and grudge couldn’t change my mind about him. I also couldn’t believe there was really nothing he could do about it – he probably could, he just didn’t want. All the same, nothing was of course so straightforward in this story and they both, Fi and Bram, made wrong choices, had their flaws and they just felt like normal, real people.
As much as I adored this story there were moments that it just dragged on too much, and not in a good way. It spoiled the reading for me but ultimately it didn’t affect me so much, as it is this kind of novel that you read holding your breath – you can’t believe the things that happens, you wonder how much Fi is going to still handle and the chain reactions, like the proverbial flutter of butterfly wings, quickly turns into an avalanche of lies, secrets and misunderstandings that is building up to a shocking outcomes that are going to change so many lives.
This story touches upon so many issues – property fraud, betrayal, lies and secrets, adultery, murder but it never feels too jammed, overcrowded. There were many twists and turns along the way and while some of them I guessed, the rest I haven’t seen coming, and it made the reading even more exciting. It focused mostly on the characters and their interactions. The author has so well captured all of their emotions and feelings and inner thoughts and filled this family drama full with very relatable and genuine domestic dilemmas. Dark and very detailed but I liked it – in this kind of books I just need to have everything clearly expounded.
Altogether, “Our House” was an exceptional psychological suspense, with a very unconventional end, when the author really and literally allows her readers to insert the end of this story by themselves. It was immaculately written, hooking and hard to put down. This is a story not to be missed, it’s unique, clever and brilliantly crafted and full of surprises. Highly recommended!