Tuesday, 12 May 2015

"The Sudden Departure of the Frasers" by Louise Candlish

Thanks to http://www.lovereading.co.uk/ for sending me a review copy of this title...

When you feel something is too good to be true, it tends to be fact.  But if you want that something badly enough, you can ignore niggling feelings and take a chance.  In this novel from Louise Candlish, young couple, Christy and Joe Davenport bag the bargain of a lifetime when they buy a beautiful three story residence in the exclusive area of Lime Park Road, London.  The price may have been well below the average in the area, but the house is finished to perfection, with top of the range extras and immaculate attention to detail.  The previous owners, Amber and Jeremy Fraser, seemed to have left in a hurry, and Christy begins to wonder why they would sell so quickly and at such a low price.  When she tries to ask the neighbours about the Frasers' departure, she gets curt responses and even manages to block friendships she had yet to form.  Why all the secrecy surrounding her house?  What kind of people were the Frasers?  Digging deeper may lead to digging herself into a hole that she cannot clamber out of...

London author, Louise Candlish is one of many writers who are underrated.  Comparisons have been made to Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain, but I feel she has even more to offer.  Placing this book into women's fiction would be accurate but the writing is above par and teeters on the borders of the thriller genre as well as literary.  There are some stunning passages that bring the standard above general women's fiction and because of this, there is a possibility that fans of more mainstream fiction could lose interest in the plot at times. At 505 pages, it was a little long. On the (big) plus side, there is the great enigma that is Amber, the dangled carrot throughout the novel,  and what a character she is.  Cunning, self-motivated and a master of deception, she is forever lingering in the background of Lime Park Road.  Even when she has left.  When Christy becomes more than a little obsessed by the former mistress of her house, the narrative becomes very similar to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca; the meek bored wife, wondering why she cannot be as striking as the former head of the big house.  Joe, and indeed Amber's husband, Jeremey, are two men who seem highly intelligent but lacking in basic cop-on.  The women rule this story.  Christy, Amber and a host of bored housewives lead the reader through a maze of rumour, innuendo and the world of the wealthy.  This is a thriller/female/literary fiction hybrid, along the vein of  Girl On The Train, but at a slower pace.  A great story, one that will have you desperate to know why the Frasers left so abruptly, and why at all?  A fantastic read, that had me ignoring my family for two solid days.  It had a hook that kept reeling you in, and that hook was Amber.  Just like Rebecca's Mrs DeWinter, even hearing her name gives you desire to know more.

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is published by Penguin on 21st May 2015 and is available in paperback and ebook format.  

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