Thursday 10 January 2019

The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet Book Review

Just a few days after my last book review which was Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews if you haven't seen yet, I've already got another for you. Despite having a ridiculous list of books that I want to get through this year, I spotted this when we were last in London and I just had to get it so I got stuck in as soon as we were home and it didn't disappoint.
The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet Book
'When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they've worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son's sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple. On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness - it's hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life - signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she's desperate to leave in her past. But that person is now in her home - and they want to make sure she'll never forget...'

My review

I was intrigued by this just from the synopsis because it seemed quite similar to other thrillers I've read recently and it's a genre where anything can happen. Even just the small reviews on the cover had me interested. Once I started, I could see why people have said they got through it all in one sitting because you're pretty much thrown straight in at the deep end with it. We start each chapter from the point of view of the person staying in Caroline's home, the one who has orchestrated this whole thing and just from those small glimpses you get an idea of just how dark the story is going to be.

The book then goes into multiple person narrative as we hear from Caroline, her husband Francis and this mystery person so we can build up the backstory from several points of view. As I've said in many book reviews before, I can find this a little bit confusing if it's all over the place but Rebecca did it really well. Though there were flashbacks and we were always switching from one person to another, it flowed seamlessly and I found it easy to follow right from the start.

What I liked the most about this book is how complex it was in that it wasn't just a story about this crazy stalker which it might lead you to believe. There was a real dark history there and there was so much more to it than the book originally leads you to believe. Though the culprit might seem a little out of the blue at first, I found the reveal to actually be quite sad and it made me see Caroline and some of the other characters in quite a different light. That leads me onto say I think Rebecca did a great job in really making you question how you feel about each of the characters as the book unfolds. One minute I was feeling sympathy for one character and then the next I hated them, and that sort of went on all the way through as it showed that though some of them may have redeeming quantities and come across quite likeable at first, actually each had a dark side which we might not have originally picked up on. She also tackled the tough subject of mental health brilliantly too which I imagine could be quite a tough one to get right.

If thrillers are the type of book you usually go for then this is definitely worth a read. It's sinister, dark and full of tension. I'm pretty sure this is Rebecca Fleet's debut novel too so I'm incredibly excited to see what else she writes in the future.

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