If you like contemporary, suspenseful and dark domestic thrillers, which take place in London, and you only have time to read one novel, you need to read Our House, straight away.
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.
I read the review for ‘Our House’ on Linda’s Book Bag, two weeks ago, ‘Our House is an absolute corker of a thriller. I didn’t so much read Our House as gulp it down.’ Linda is a brilliant reviewer, and I love suspenseful thrillers, so I decided to read it as soon as possible.
I’ve just finished listening to ‘Our House’ on Audible. You need to know that I started yesterday afternoon at about five and read, intermittently, until the early hours. Fortunately, today is my morning off at work, so I went out for my morning walk and busied myself around the house, listening to the novel, until it was, sadly, over. It was a beautiful morning which strongly contrasts with the dark subject matter of the novel.
Bram and Fiona, in their forties, have recently broken up after sixteen years of marriage, but they have shared custody of their children with a ‘bird’s nest’ arrangement. This means the children live in only one house (Our House), and it’s the parents who take turns living in that house with the children, although never at the same time. In this case, to complicate matters, they also share the flat where they live when they’re not with the children, in order to lessen the financial burden of the separation.
Bram and Fiona get on well, mainly because Fiona is such a kind and thoughtful person. She is too gullible for her own good. On the other hand, while mostly disapproving of Bram’s behaviour, I did grow to feel a tiny bit sorry for him as the novel progressed. I kept thinking ‘get counselling!’, because I’m sure if Bram had received professional help, instead of Bible lecturing from his mother, and too much understanding from his wife, he wouldn’t have been so weak (and pathetic).
Basically the plot revolves around Bram’s disloyal, dishonest, criminal and cowardly actions, and how he just keeps making matters worse, not only for himself, but also for his wife and children.
The plot is cleverly unfolded starting near the end, and going backwards and forwards to gradually disclose the events leading up to the loss of their house and the total disintegration of their lives.
I was completely drawn into the story, which is told from the alternating points of view of Fiona and Bram. I was unable to get the characters and events out of my mind, even after listening to the last line.
The ending is devastating, and yet satisfactory. If there is an underlying moral lesson, or message, in the novel, and for me there is, it’s one I highly support: Face the music. If you mess things up, don’t pretend it didn’t happen, make excuses, or cover it up. Own up, get professional help and sort matters out as quickly as possible. If there’s a price to be paid for what happened, you better do it sooner rather than later.
It was a dark read, because as the novel progressed, it became clear that there was no way out, so the final twist in the ending, on the final page, shocked me at first, until I realised it was the best ending the author could have written.
The audio version was brilliant. I mostly read on my kindle, Scribd or Audible, but I always buy the print versions of my favourite books and I’m getting Our House in hardback for my bookshelf, and reading the rest of Louise Candlin’s books, too!
About Louise Candlish
Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including The Sudden Departure Of The Frasers (2015) and The Swimming Pool (2016). Her new thriller Our House is published in the UK in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster.
Though her stories are about people facing dark dilemmas, Louise tries to get through the day without too much drama of her own. She lives in South London with her husband and daughter and is very attached to her dog Maggie and cat Tilly.