Hardcover, 416 pagesPublished August 7th 2018 by Berkley (first published April 5th 2018)
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.
You guys are NOT going to like this! 🙂
Oh my God, it’s been a long time since a book has annoyed me enough to get me to ranting, since I’ve hobbled and reader-suffered through a book that made me want to just BE DONE WITH IT ALREADY! But this book, Our House, by Louise Candlish, just seemed to just go on and ON. Seriously, there was NO reason for this book to be 400 pages. There were way too many asides throughout this novel, which slowed the pace greatly and contributed to the superfluous word count. Not to mention, those peanut gallery comments from the “viewers” of the crime podcast that Fiona Lawson is telling her story to (which allows for the author, Louise Candlish, to tell Fiona’s story under the guise of recounting her story to these podcast listeners) really burnt my biscuit! They were so annoying, ridiculous, distracting and borderline tacky that I trained myself to skip them entirely whenever I encountered them. Though it is a genre I tend to enjoy for the most part (see my reviews of Ruth Ware and Fiona Barton) this novel was everything that I hate in British cozy thrillers: centered around a meek woman who’s “gullible” and made a victim as she tries to take back the power in the end. It also was not very well-written, quite honestly. Candlish has obviously never heard of Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory,” because, for this being a thriller, she certainly didn’t trust her reader to come to any conclusions on their own, which really took all of the bite and fun out of reading this book for me.
Our House is an easy read that won’t tax your mental faculties or take too much thought. It’s a cozy “housewife” thriller meant to be enjoyed with tea and fuzzy socks. I recently joined a Twitter discussion where a very outspoken literary agent was asserting that reviewers should NEVER tag an author with a bad review because it’s “rude” and because these authors have already had countless people critiquing them and “professional editors” editing them. (This, by the way, was rather self-righteously stated as though literary agents and editors know best and as though their stamp of approval a good book makes. As a writer, former lit agent and former publishing intern, and current book reviewer I can confidently assert in response that this is not necessarily the case.) Here, you fill a fantastic example of a book that needs further editing! Literally, my mind started wandering by page 60 as my mind started calculating how many paragraphs of text I’d just written that really could have been removed from my life altogether.
All in all, the premise of Louise Candlish’s Our House is phenomenal, the execution is mediocre if not terrible in parts, and the aside bits nearly drove me mad – in a bad way. If you’re looking for a streamlined, heart-pounding thrill of a ride, don’t waste your time with this one. I really don’t have much else to say about this one because I’ve already turned my mind to finding my next book, which will have to be GREAT to wash away the annoyance I’ve built up from pushing through this one.
I have a friend who reads my reviews and once told me it’d be SO hilarious if I just wrote the word “TRASH” as a book review for the next truly terrible book I encounter and then just dropped the mike. I won’t do that here, but there were parts where I was honestly tempted. 2 stars for premise and premise alone — and maybe even because I fancy the cover; it’s brilliant! 😉 **
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Louise Candlish studied English at University College London and worked as an editor and copywriter before writing fiction. OUR HOUSE is published in the US by Berkley in August 2018 and is out now in the UK, published by Simon & Schuster.
Louise is the bestselling author of eleven previous novels, including THE SWIMMING POOL and THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF THE FRASERS (Penguin, 2015), which has been optioned for TV by Hartswood Films.
Louise lives in South London with her husband and daughter. Follow her day to day on Twitter at @louise_candlish or get updates at www.louisecandlish.com.