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The Housewarming: A completely unputdownable psychological thriller with a shocking twist Kindle Edition
|Length: 350 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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- File size : 1784 KB
- Publication date : October 23, 2020
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 350 pages
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B08F273DPR
- Publisher : Bookouture (October 23, 2020)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,339 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I have read every single book by S.E. Lynes and enjoyed them all. Until this one.
The writing is great, as always. The characters are distinctly written, the story draws you in. But in the case of this book, those weren’t enough ...
I found myself skipping many pages at a time due to the redundant chapters. On and on and on with the circling thoughts of the main character. My interest didn’t pick up until I was about 60% in, because finally, there was some action. But by that time, despite feeling empathy over what the characters were going through, I just felt no connection with any of them.
The twists towards the end were ludicrous to me, and I felt very cheated after slogging through the whole, monotonous story.
I’m also getting tired of the missing toddler trope so prevalent in the British suspense and psychological thriller genre. But I knew what it was about going in, so that’s on me, and I didn’t base any of my review on it.
I can understand why some readers reviewed this highly, but it just wasn’t for me.
Then the neighbors have a housewarming party to show off their house that they have been renovating for the past year- everyone has connections to these neighbors- the wife has become somewhat of a friend to Ava, and Matt's best friend Neil is the builder who worked on the renovations. Ava has to be convinced to go, but when she does, there are a lot of alcohol-infused conversations that make her question what role others had to play in Abi's disappearance.
The book really picks up the pace at the point of the party and follows it through to the end. There are a lot of secrets and confessions and when the truth is revealed, it's really very heartbreaking. Lynes also throws in another twist just when you think you had everything figured out. Though the book started off a little slow for me, the ending made it all worth it and I know this is a story that will stick with me.
Overall, I'd recommend this book, though prepare to feel sad. I have liked everything Lynes has written and this is no exception. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The story could have been great, had the the first half of the book not dragged out forever. I had to skim most of it out of boredom.
Top reviews from other countries
Not only is this an entertaining and totally engrossing psychological read, it is emotionally intelligent, conveying line after line the horror and panic of a mother whose child suddenly disappears. The depth of emotion experienced by Abi's Mum Ava, her husband Matt, neighbours Neil and Bella Johnson and other neighbour Jen is rich, diverse and utterly compelling. I literally held my breath for Ava, running around the streets of Riverside Drive, desperate and terrified to locate 2 year old Abi having discovered the front door open and the buggy empty. I had physiological symptoms of racing heart and nausea, connecting immediately with grief stricken Ava, and my affinity with her simply deepened as the story unfolds.
We meet Ava one year after the events of that fateful early September morning but frequently travel back to the day itself. The power of the past, present and future colliding, of the way in which grief builds and rips apart what once was, hits the reader from the outset. I thoroughly enjoyed the switches in time, back and forth and I liked the use of multiple narrators, hearing from Matt, and later on others too.
The sense of not knowing whether your missing child is actually dead rather than simply presumed dead, or whether she has been snatched and is living a different life elsewhere is all consuming and written about so compassionately by SE Lynes. The trying to continue with life, keep a marriage surviving and exist through the pain to live day to day and yet all the while the events of one day are circulating endlessly in your head, over and over and over, leaps of the page in a word or two. A torture no parent ever wants to endure.
The plot is tight, fast paced and written to hold on to every reader in a vice like grip whilst remaining sensitive and intuitive. This is what makes the book so readable, because every character, their actions, motivations, and relationships with one another are minutely observed and you feel as if you too live in the same road, part of the community who should have been able to help Abi but who ultimately failed to do so because of the way in which we become way too absorbed in our own little pockets of life.
Friendships will be tested and many tears shed as Jen and Johnnie's housewarming party acts as a catalyst for some shocking revelations which eventually bring to light some inconsistencies that are very hard to face.
I will not write any more for fear of spoiling the plot and undermining some HUGE twists. They left me open mouthed and incredulous at how clever this plot is. Not only does the final section of the book leave one gasping, the truths also get you thinking about human behaviour and for me that is what makes a good book GREAT.
Thank you to the publishers, the author and Netgalley for a read I will not be forgetting in a hurry.
My heart broke with Ava’s. I can’t imagine one of my boys as a toddler vanishing without a trace. I’d be in bits, devastated. Not to mention blaming myself given the situation Ava found herself in. I don’t know how this woman coped with her life from the day Abi disappeared.
But then my heart broke again and again as the story developed. Ava’s life around her was crumbling as the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance looms. Ava is still killing herself emotionally and mentally over Abi but you would wouldn’t you? Without closure, it’s so hard to move on.
Lynes’ writing took me by surprise; not entirely sure why, given I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. But what I didn’t expect was to be gobbled up into the world she’d created, unable to escape. I was there in that street, I was Ava. I felt the torrid emotion that Ava felt as she lived life without her daughter, coping again as a new mum. And oh the party…
I have given myself a severe reprimand for failing to join the S E Lynes party before now. I’m in serious trouble with myself. The Housewarming has so many twists and turns throughout, I felt dizzy. She spins a serious web to confuse and intrigue a reader. Its an impressive art to perfect and Lynes has definitely done that with The Housewarming….
Now I need to squeeze in all my purchases of her back catalogue…..
Ava only left Abi alone for a few moments. But that was all it took for the two-year-old to wander off and vanish. She didn't realise she'd left the front door open or that she could unbuckle herself from her pushchair. She didn't know she would never see her again.
A year later Ava is struggling to accept her daughter's death and to live with the guilt she carries. When their neighbours invite them to their housewarming party, her husband Matt convinces her to go, saying it is time they start to rebuild their lives. But that night Ava discovers something that changes everything she thought she knew about the day Abi disappeared and makes her look at those around her in a new light.
Could the truth about her daughter's disappearance actually be more sinister than she believed?
"Second by second. Beat by beat. A metronome keeps time for the frantic melody of my life's unravelling. I watch myself from above. I shout out the things I should have done, places I should have looked, the order in which I should have done it all."
This was one of those books that I knew you're going to love immediately. The author drew me in from the first pages with her melodic prose that oozes with panic, fear and despair as she recalls the moment she found Abi was missing and frantically searched for her. She looks back scathingly at the decisions she made and the mistakes she sees as costing her daughter's life.
After that night at the party, the tension rises as Ava notices the inconsistencies and begins to doubt the things she believed about Abi's disappearance. A cloud of suspicion now hangs over those she never suspected as small details begin to reveal a dark and horrifying picture. As I approached the jaw-dropping finale, my heart was in my throat and I got book whiplash from all the twists and turns.
"It is simply that the party has pulled the plug on the weird, stagnant pond of our lives, has drained the water from details half submerged, which lie now in the shallows, exposed."
Compelling, heartbreaking and harrowing, this was impossible to put down. Lynes is a master of stories that have you on the edge of your seat but also full of heart.
Don't miss this sensational thriller.
The author really controls the story beautifully, and as I started to pick up little hints and clues in the plot, the characters would discover them right alongside me. The revelations came in such a way as to never give me enough to work out what had happened, just enough to will the characters onwards to bring the story to its resolution.
I also loved the way the characters were handled. Ava herself has become so defined and consumed by the events at the beginning of the story that there’s not much else to her - only hints and nods at the person she was before, and this feels totally right. The characters are, by and large, all shown by the way they interact with and relate to the people around them, not in isolation, which is not something I’m usually left considering.
Overall, in case you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. It entertained me, gripped me, carried me right along with the plot and left me thinking. There’s not much more I could ask for!
The Housewarming has everything. It’s a page-turner, a desperate search for the truth. It’s exquisitely painful, heartbreakingly sad, beautifully told. It’s a tale of friendship and isolation, suspicion and betrayal, love and loss. And yes, it’s a thriller, of course, it’s a fantastic psychological thriller with perfectly drawn protagonists and things happening to them and being done by them that keep you hooked, that keep you reading, but what you’re really reading for is that beauty, again: exquisite, heartbreaking, painful as it may be.
I’d set The Housewarming alongside two other extraordinary recent crime novels, Jane Harper’s The Lost Man and Rosamund Lupton’s Three Hours, as examples of the very finest this genre can present: a gripping story, but more than that, an understanding of people, of what makes them do the things they do, whether that be the unthinkable or the mundane, the extraordinary or the inevitable. Let no one tell you that crime fiction can’t be truly great. There are a handful of books every year that prove it can, and the Housewarming, without doubt, is one of them.