Book Review: Our House by Louise Candlish

What’s it about?

On a bright morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought on Trinity Avenue.

Nothing strange about that. Except it’s your house. And you didn’t sell it.







My thoughts

I really enjoy Louise Candlish’s writing and therefore, despite my already over-flowing TBR book shelf, couldn’t resist this charity shop bargain.

I liked the contrasting stories told by way of a journalist’s interview and a confession; it was certainly a different way of drip feeding the story.  I found the characters to be relatable, particularly Fiona, imagine everything you know to be true, however, you find it to be completely unproveable!

You’d think that by now, given all the books I’ve read like this, I would see the twists coming.  But oh wow, one particular twist in this book I didn’t see coming – where was my brain?!?  Nice work Louise! 🙂

However, I did have a somewhat small issue with a small part of the book.  As I work for a solicitor, in conveyancing, I know that a purchase transaction is not registered with HM Land Registry on the same day.  Paperwork is sent between each solicitor that is needed for the registration process and once this is received by HMLR it can take a couple of days for the registration to be effective.  And, in the case where there is a mortgage to repaid (as was the case here) it can take even longer as the bank needs to notifiy the Land Reg to remove the charge against the property however I appreciate that taking a certain ‘poetic licence’ is required to make the plot work.

I get the end, I understand what I’m supposed to assume has happened but it’s still open-ended – I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying, did he or didn’t he?  Given everything else that happened I’m going with I suspect not!!

Although this book offers plenty of tension and twists, my favourite of Louise’s books is still The Disappearance of Emily Marr.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Second-hand purchase
No of pages: 448
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

What’s it about?

My name is Amber Fraser. I’ve just moved in at Number 40, Lime Park Road. You’ll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.

This is a lie.

When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to Number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers, had renovated the entire property yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.

As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house’s previous occupants – and the dark and shocking secret
that tore the street apart . . .

My thoughts

I’ve read a couple of Louise Candlish’s other books and whilst one I loved, one I could have passed on but was still pleased to pick this one up in a local charity shop.

Told in turn by the two very different women owners of the house the start of the book does entice you in with the hint of mystery and your mind will go into overdrive with all the possibilities of what did make the Frasers flee overnight and of course human nature and sheer nosiness makes us want to find out what’s going on behind all the closed doors in the street.

There is so much build up in this book which does make it somewhat overly long and at times I’m afraid I started to get a little bored along the way and then one character divulges something in confidence it’s kinda obvious where we’re going with the plot, and when everything comes to a head it’s not so much of a shock.

I can’t fault the author’s writing style though, it’s very well written but just with unbelievably horrible stuck up characters that I couldn’t give two hoots about.

If you enjoyed Candlish’s The Swimming Pool then this one would be a hit with you too.  I, on the other hand, much preferred The Disappearance of Emily Marr.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased – second hand
No of pages: 512
Publisher: Penguin

Book Review & Giveaway: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming PoolWhat’s it about?

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

My thoughts

I just happened to catch Twitter at the right time when the publicist for this book was offering a limited number so I was really pleased to get one. I’d only read one other Louise Candlish novel before, The Disappearance of Emily Marr, which I really enjoyed so it surprises me that I’ve not read more because she’s such a good writer.

The prologue will have you hooked and then throughout there’s a sense of foreboding that something terrible will happen and as a reader, you’re watching it unfold in slow motion.  This makes for compelling reading even though not a lot seems to be happening. It’s like reading an account of someone’s day, every day.  However, Louise’s way of drip feeding events and information just makes it captivating reading that still manages to keep you turning those pages.

Natalie is over-whelmed by Lara’s interest in her, and her glamourous lifestyle…that grass is always greener feeling of envy. We all quite possibly know someone that we think we’d like to trade places with because from the outside their life is far more appealing.  I volunteer in a charity shop on a Sunday afternoon and quite regularly a woman comes in her with her daughters, I would estimate she’s around my age (early 40s) with 2 daughters around late teens and one about 10, she’s very attractive and just oozes money. She has these gorgeous natural corkscrew curls that I would die for (not literally but you know). I look at her and think yeah, she’s got it all and I imagine this is how Natalie felt about Lara and I can totally relate how she got swept along with it all, to the point of alienating her husband and her friends.

A tale of obsession, guilt, and what happens when your past catches up with you. I love Louise Candlish’s writing in this novel, so atmospheric…just like the cover!

Many thanks to Francesca at Penguin for the ARC…..And you can get your hands on a hardback copy (proof) too as I received an extra from the publisher. I’m afraid it’s UK only as I’m paying for the postage myself. The giveaway will run until Monday 30th May so get your entries in now 🙂

**Enter the giveaway via the link below**

Click HERE to enter giveaway

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Louise Candlish

Twitter | Website

My favourite reads of 2013

Out of the 64 books I’ve read this year, I gave 12 5 stars on Goodreads; these were:

(click on the titles to go to the reviews)

Perfect People by Peter James

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes

The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish

The Second Life of Amy Archer by RS Pateman

A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

The Humans by Matt Haig

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Take a Look at Me Now by Miranda Dickinson

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Lost and Found by Tom Winter

The Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thompson

It’s not always about how well a book is written but also about how much I’ve enjoyed it and I suppose at different times you enjoy certain books more than others.

What were your favourite reads of 2013?

Book Review: The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish

The Disappearance of Emily MarrWhat’s it about?

Arriving on the windswept Ile de Ré off the coast of France, Tabby Dewhurst is heartbroken and penniless, unable even to afford a room for the night. Then she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door and, hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the villager to leave and lets herself into the house . . .

And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emmie, whose sudden offer of friendship is at odds with her obsession with her own privacy. Soon Tabby begins to form suspicions about Emmie, suspicions that will lead her back to England – and to a scandal with shattering consequences.

My thoughts

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book and was quite eager to read it as I love a good mystery.

With the title referencing The Disappearance I was expecting more of a criminal disappearance, a murder or an abduction but no, this is more of a chosen disappearance but under exceptional circumstances.

The novel highlights media persecution and how as UK citizens have a lack of the right to privacy. Emily’s persecution drove her from her home and her family and highlights how damaging the press can be and I thought her’s was the strongest story between her and Tabby.

The timeline switches back and forth but I found this gave the book an all round view. Each chapter is dedicated to either Emily or Tabby giving them both a voice and from very early on I was drawn into this story.

Tabby comes across a little immature in her actions but also has a heart of gold with her friends best interests at heart. I love that she goes nosing around people’s houses. I’m sure we’ve all done that at some point in our lives 🙂

There’s a brilliant twist which I did not see coming at all which turned the whole story on its head, consequently giving me a couple of late nights to finish it.

Oh and I can’t believe that the novel ended on a cliffhangar. I was utterly mortified that this character didn’t get a proper finale but it didn’t make me love it any less.

This mystery is sad yet intriguing, a definite page turner! This isn’t regular chick lit, it’s on a different level with the mystery angle. Read if you enjoy either, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Available as Paperback | Kindle

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