Title: Our House
Author: Louise Candlish
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
Date of Publication: 5th April 2018
Date of Review: 26th March 2018
FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE. When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?
FOR RICHER, FOR POORER. Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?
TILL DEATH US DO PART.
Before I start this review, I would just like to say, as a bookaholic, the aesthetic beauty of this book’s cover just can’t go without a mention. The door on the front cover actually opens and you can see the hallway inside. I fell in love with this book before I read the first word!
So did the narrative paint such an intriguing picture as its cover? And did each page entice me further into the story?
This contemporary domestic noir combines a blend of narrative techniques to tell the story of this couple’s nightmare. As an English Literature and Creative Writing undergraduate I am taught how crucial it is to keep every detail of the storyline essential to plot. Louise Candlish takes this literary device to a whole new level; where her unique style of narration is absolutely essential to the way the breath-taking finale of this novel is delivered.
The present day storyline has an omniscient third-person narrator. The past storyline uses first-person epistolary style narratives, from the perspectives of the two main characters. Fi, the protagonist, tells her story through a website called The Victim, where other forum members post their comments. Bram, her husband, tells his story through a word document. But you have to wait until the end, and I mean the very twisty end, to appreciate the relevance of this.
Fi is a likeable character and many readers, particularly those who are mothers, will easily relate to her. Bram, although you want to slap him on more than one occasion, is not intrinsically bad; he’s just a man suffering with his own internal demons and has poor judgement. The antagonist; however, is of the most evil kind. I can’t say too much about him without giving the plot away, but aggghhh, readers everywhere will want to see this man get his comeuppance. During the first part of the book, there were times when I thought I would like to have seen the antagonist through his own first-person narrative; but as the story progressed, it was easy to see why the author had not done this.
What makes this story so compelling is the way the author builds on small stupid mistakes, mistakes that many ordinary people might make, and then blows them up until they’ve massed into one uncontrollable time-bomb. At times I was on the edge of my seat, almost shouting at Bram, willing him to do the right thing. Then just as you start thinking he is a complete waste of space: another twist - the reason why he’s taken the actions he has.
I read this book in three days; which is unusual for me. I’m not a fast reader; I like to soak up every word rather than whizz through. I know it’s a cliché, but I literally could not put this book down. There are lots of twists and turns but the final one left me so stunned it took a while for it to sink in what had happened.
We might only be a couple of months into this year, but I can definitely see this book being on my top ten favourites for 2018.
I give Our House a deserving 5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Goodreads for sending me this ARC copy in exchange for an unbiased review.