by Louise Candlish
Publication Date : August 7, 2018
Pages : 416
Synopsis from Publisher :
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.
Earlier this year I read The Old You by Louise Voss. In my review I stated the book was special, it made readers really think about what they would do if they were in the lead character’s position. Our House is in this same special category. Our House will challenge readers to evaluate what is really important and what they would do if those things were threatened.
Your house is supposed to be safe place, the place where you can regroup and recover after dealing with the stresses of the outside world. When Fiona Lawson arrives home from a weekend away she finds all of her and her family’s possessions removed from the house and another family in the process of moving in. Fiona’s husband is missing, phone disconnected, and no way of contacting him. The assumption is identity theft but as Fiona learns more and connects the dots with odd recent events, she soon finds herself at the center of a very tangled, twisted, story in which she was an unknowing key figure.
Fiona is the “victim” in Our House, the one readers should cheer for. However I found her quite unlikable. She seems to be a kind, caring, mother and a loyal wife but to me she was preachy and self righteous. Fiona looks for flaws in her husband, Bram (and she finds many) as though anticipating disappointment. When she identifies these flaws she feels validated and then feels better about herself. I found it very hard to connect to Fiona. Instead I was able to connect with Bram, the “villain” of the story. Although Bram has his faults and he does his best to hide them, he was very aware of his short comings. I usually find it disappointing when I cannot connect with the lead character ; this was not the case with Our House. The lack of connection with the lead character made the story more realistic. Our House is a story of two flawed individuals, who make bad decisions and judge others, a much more realistic story than one of a completely innocent victim against a born evil villain.
I have read several books over the last twelve months which included Podcasts as a part of the story line. I love true crime Podcasts so this element is always welcome. The way Candlish has included Podcasts into Our House is the best I have read. In other books, the Podcast element sometimes read like a transcript rather than novel, overshadowing the story and making it a little tiresome. In Our House the story is enhanced by the Podcast, with the subject of the Podcast telling their story rather than a Q & A session.
Creating a story with a house at the center made Our House one of the most unique books I have ever read. The house is not a bone of contention between two parties but more like central point to which all aspects of the story lead back to. The house is just as much of a main character as Bram and Fiona. Its looming presence is felt throughout the entire book like a dark cloud before a storm.
Our House is one of my favorite books of the year. Despite slowing down a little about half way through, the story is consistently compelling. Readers will want to push though to the end and they will be glad they did. Fans of Clare Macintosh and Alice Feeney should add Our House to their list of must reads.
** Thanks to Berkley for my free copy of Our House**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 Stars out of 5