Louise Candlish has taken domestic noir to new and disturbing heights!
We have all, at one time or another, misplaced our wallets, or had them stolen. We can all relate to the period of panic that that type of experience generates. Imagine then… what if someone stole your house???
We begin “Our House” with Fiona Lawson arriving home to find another couple moving in to HER house. They say they’ve bought it! Her distress, panic, hurt, and confusion is palpable. The house, located in a desirable area of London is worth more than two million pounds. With investigation, the sale is proven to be legal with estate agents and lawyers involved.
To Fi’s knowledge it was never for sale so how could this other couple own it? Where are all of her possessions? the furniture, clothing and children’s toys etc.? She loves her house. It is home to her and her two young sons.
Due to an act of adultery her husband Bram only lives at the house on weekends. The couple decided it would be best for the boys if they adopted what is called ‘bird’s nest’ custody. The boys staying in the house while the parents take turns living there with them. The idea is that this will be a less disturbing and more stable environment for the children. Their co-parenting seems to be working out well.
Yet now, when Fi needs him most, Bram is nowhere to be found. His phone seems to be turned off. No one has seen him. Left in an unimaginable predicament, Fi struggles to come to terms with this profound traumatic event.
“A marital atrocity so heinous it made adultery seem like charity…”
The days and weeks following this trauma show Fi participating in a podcast called “the Victim” in which her story is told from her point of view. Understandably, she finds it almost impossible to get her head around the fact that her husband has betrayed her in this horrific way.
“just another unforgivable man”
Meanwhile, the reader is also privy to her husband Bram’s point of view. Filled with wrenching guilt he admits to his devastating betrayal of his family. He was driven to this betrayal by blackmail – his feeling of being trapped and terrorized culminates in depression, panic attacks, and ultimately…heartbreak.
As the reader realizes just what Bram did, and how events transpired to lead him to this point makes for a compelling story. A culmination of bad choices, indiscretions, and yes, even criminal acts, all added up to be more than one person could live with.
After the podcast, Fiona’s story is far from over. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the author throws a few curve-balls your way. Plot twists make you wonder just what more could possibly happen to this fractured family. Then, at the very end of the book, there is yet another twist that will chill you to the core.
This is my first Louise Candlish novel. WOW! What just happened?
This author is a master at portraying the devious side to human nature, as well as the profound weaknesses and strengths. I thought I ‘should‘ be on Fiona’s side in the conflict, yet the author’s talented writing had me actually rooting for Bram at least half of the time. He was a weak, weak, man. Charming but weak. You almost wanted to mother him. He completely takes responsibility for the tragic turn his life has taken. He knows that what he has done to Fiona and his two beloved boys is all down to him.
While reading this novel I felt a deep sense of unease, some might call it foreboding.
Many thriller novels come with the warnings that they contain plot twists. This one has the best twists I’ve read since reading Clare Mackintosh’s “I let you go“. This is a thriller that checks ALL the boxes for me. A very clever plot, characterization, setting, writing…. Kudos to Louise Candlish for making me a huge fan with just one novel. I will definitely seek out her other work with relish. Highly recommended to everyone who has ever enjoyed reading thrillers of the ‘domestic noir’ variety.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Berkley Publishing/Penguin via NetGalley in consideration of a review which I was only too happy to provide.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 author of twelve novels.
Besides books, the things Louise likes best are: coffee; TV; 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).
Follow Louise Candlish on Twitter.