Our Houseby Published 07 Aug 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.
"Our House" Reviews
Man, I wanted to love this book more. I was hooked after the first chapter, and I could feel the tension jumping off the page.
I thought it was a brilliant premise. Fiona pulls up to her house to find a moving van parked out front and strangers moving in! Just the thought of that is enough to make my heart race. Fiona will tell her story through a crime podcast and her husband, Bram tells his side through a typed word document. I really did enjoy both characters.
A wonderful, detailed plot and a good twist was not enough to keep the story from drowning in a repetitive narrative and somewhat tedious pace. I did figure out the twist, but I enjoyed being shocked as soon as I figured it out (if that makes any sense)!
I was left underwhelmed, but still a good twisty read. Thanks to Berkley/Netgalley for my ARC. Check out my blog for all my reviews https://dressedtoread.com/
Oh my God, it’s been a long time since I’ve 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 and distracting 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.
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’ll find a fantastic example of a book that needs further editing! Literally, my mind started wandering by page 60 as I 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. 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 book 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 read 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! ;) . **
**I received an advance-read physical copy of this book from the publisher, Berkley, in exchange for an honest review.**
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Fiona ( Fi ) Lawson lives in a very desirable London suburb, and she always gets a warm tingly feeling when she enters her street. However, on this particular beautiful winter's day she spots a removal van outside her house - but it can't possibly be her house, the house a few doors down has been on the market, it must be that one. As she reaches her house, the realisation that someone is moving their furniture in, their personal possessions, hits her like a sledge hammer, but she'll sort it out ( won't she?) it's just a ridiculous mistake surely. Well actually no it isn't a mistake, and she desperately needs to contact her estranged husband Bram - problem is, Bram is nowhere to be found, and not only that, but their two boys Harry and Leo aren't where they should be either!
Well goodness me, what a roller coaster ride of a story this is, and what avenues it takes us down as deceit becomes the major player. It isn't a thriller in the normal sense of the word, but it's gripping nevertheless. The characters speak to us through various mediums, ( Bram via Word document ) and in that respect we get to know much more about Bram's part in all this than Fi does. You know the old saying "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we set out to deceive"? Absorb that thought because this is deceit at its most profound. Add in numerous twists and turns and you've got a real winner. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
* Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for my ARC in exchange for an honest review*
4.5 Stars Filled With Madness 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5
🎵Father wears his Sunday best
Mother's tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister's sighing in her sleep
Brother's got a date to keep
He can't hang around
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our
Our house it has a crowd
There's always something happening
And it's usually quite loud
Our mum she's so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed
-Madness-Our House 1982
Fiona was certainly house proud, but whether or not she liked a mess she certainly found herself in the middle of one... imagine returning home to find someone else has moved into your house... The problem? As far as you know your house was never for sale... and why can you not reach your ex-husband on his phone? Where is your stuff, where are your children? Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it?
The unraveling of this story was quite brilliant... told from Fiona‘s perspective through podcast episodes... Fiona was such a likable generous person who absolutely put her children before all else.... and truly this “bird nest “custody arrangement really played nicely into her house being sold right out from under her... BUT I’m absolutely not going to blame the victim here! We also got Brahm’s perspective through a letter/word doc.... now it was really hard for me to elicit any sympathy for him, he really was a reckless selfish individual.... The one good thing I can say about him is I do think he truly loved his wife and children, he just didn’t know how to go about it.... but what a horrible mess he left for Fiona to clean up!
Along with the podcast and word doc we also got the real time story... this was a TS read and some of the sisters found this to be repetitive.... however, I did not... I really liked getting to see events unfold from both Fiona and Brahm’s points of view... and I felt the use of different medias really kept it fresh....
This book was such a crazy ride! Such a rollercoaster... I got all buckled in and then... that huge hill that starts your heart kmbeating faster and fills you with anticipation... and just when you least expect it you’re headed down that huge hill being turned upside down and then you come to a screeching slamming jarring stop!.... that really is this book so many twists, so many turns, and an ending that will leave you reeling!
Strongly recommend this book to all psychological thriller lovers and I hope you enjoy the ride!
*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***
3.75 Stars (rounded up)
Imagine walking down your street to find someone else moving into your home. The problem? You haven’t put it on the market! Yeah, that has just happened to Fiona Lawson.
Fiona’s terrifying discovery gets even worse when she tries and fails to get a hold of her estranged husband, Bram, only to find that his phone has been shut off and that he’s MIA.
What on earth is going on here? Is any of this for real? Getting to the bottom of it will make your head spin, it did mine!
“Our House” is told in alternating timelines and POV’s. Though I felt that it stretched the realm of believability, I was intrigued enough to keep reading and boy was there a payoff! The ending was like shazam!
A buddy read with Kaceey, so happy we read this together!
Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Louise Candlish for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on Edelweiss and Goodreads on 7.8.18.