Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The House Swap - Rebecca Fleet

I've stayed in numerous B and B's while travelling, but have never actually swapped houses with someone. And honestly, I don't think I would want to. My penchant for suspense and thriller reads provides too much fuel for an abundance of imagined scenarios.....

The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet gives rise to those imaginings.

Francis and Caroline's marriage has been rocky for the last few years. They are trying to pick up the pieces and get past what has happened. A week away will give them some together time, away from their day to day life. And they could save money by house swapping with someone. Uh huh.

They do swap, but the house they land in is oddly sterile, with not many personal touches. But there are a few and they seem to be oddly familiar to Caroline. The neighbour a few houses down also seems strangely interested in Caroline as well. Caroline is indeed keeping secrets - and it seems like someone else wants them revealed.

What happened in the past is only slowly revealed in entries from 'then'. As details are added, what's going on in the present becomes clearer. That slow reveal makes for addictive reading. The 'who' and 'why' ended up not being what I had imagined. Fleet adroitly manipulates the reader's expectations and assumptions along the way. The unknown other person is given italicized entries - and they will keep you guessing.

Fleet's depiction of a marriage in trouble is believable, harsh and sharp in its presentation. Francis is also given a voice, providing an alternate look at Caroline's depiction of their marriage. I must admit, I didn't like either Caroline or Francis at all. I felt sorry for their young son as he doesn't seem to be the priority in either parent's life.

The House Swap is a combination of domestic drama and suspense. It's a bit of a slow burn, but does pick up speed midway. I didn't love the ending, but enjoyed the journey there. A good debut and I would pick up Fleet's next book. I do have to say that The House Swap has cemented my decision to not house swap! Read an excerpt of The House Swap.


bermudaonion said...

I can forgive a slow beginning more than a less than stellar ending so this might not be for me.

Kay said...

I think you and I already mentioned that house swapping would not be to our taste. Right? I want to read this one, but I'm not rushing. Yours is not the first to say that the characters are so likable. Why is that always the trend these days? I'm not quite burned out on that theme, but I'm getting close. Sigh.

Luanne said...

Bermudaonion - I thought it was a good debut, but somehow felt a bit let down by the ending.

Kay - we did indeed agree that house swapping was not for us. Yes, there is a most definite trend - and I'm still on the train - but am mixing it up with different genres.