The House Swap
|July 4, 2018||Posted by admin under Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Women|
Written by Rebecca Fleet
Published by DoubleDay Canada
Distributed by Random Penguin House Canada
Reviewed by Christine Gordon Manley
Publication date: May 2018
Reviewed posted: July 4, 2018
In an effort to focus on their bent (but not yet totally broken) marriage, Caroline and Francis agree to a house exchange—an agreement that sends them to a London suburb for a week. It’s not Paris or Madrid, but this holiday is less sun and fancy dining experiences and more about space they need to heal. It’s been two years since Caroline ended an extra-marital affair, and Francis, a recovering addict, is learning how to focus on his family again.
The couple leave their young son with family and arrive at their home looking forward to peace and relaxation; however, it isn’t long before Caroline realizes that something is off in the too clean, sterile home they are living in.
Rather than being able to let go of the past and focus on their future, the couple is trapped in a past that refuses to let go of its grip. Subtle reminders of past sins committed, less-than-innocent text messages, a neighbour who seems way too interested in Caroline, and questions about who is staying in the home they left behind … all add up to this psychological thriller.
The House Swap switches perspectives from Caroline to Francis and also moves from their present day, house exchange and the events from two years prior that led them to where they find themselves now. The time and character switches are easy to follow because the author guides the reader via descriptive titles.
I enjoyed this book very much and found it a great summer read. The pace is fast and the story drew me in. I became engaged in Caroline and Francis’ lives and the author did a great job of dripping little nuggets of their secrets in front of me, making me flip page after page after page until I reached the suspenseful ending.
While writing this review, I glanced over at the back cover and I laughed to see an endorsement from Shari Lapena, author or The Couple Next Door because this book reminded me of that read. Not for the story, but just with the fast paced nature of it and how, rather than rely on traditional thriller conventions (stalkers, violence, threats, crime…and so on), both lean heavily on the the psychological to add to the suspense. Both detail a crime, but as the reader is drawn in to the worlds of the various characters, they wonder who knows what and who can be trusted. In other words, these authors successfully create characters that are not completely trustworthy, leaving the reader second guessing who knows what and who is the most guilty…pretty much for most of the book.
None of the characters in The House Swap are perfect; they’re all flawed in some way. I appreciated this. Too often, a person is judged by one single action, and Rebecca Fleet reminds us that humans are more than one action. That every decision we make not only has consequences but arises from somewhere. And while, perhaps, redemption can be found in even the most hopeless of situations, sometimes a choice does have lasting consequences that reach beyond your own self…
To find out more information about this book, visit the publisher’s website here.