Simon & Schuster April 2018
On a bright Friday morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that.
Except it’s your house.
And you didn’t sell it.
So, Our House have you read it? It’s a book that had been on my radar for a while, an interesting premise, wouldn’t you agree? I saw Louise Candlish speak in September at the Guildford Literary Festival, where she further whetted my appetite for this book and where I learnt that property fraud is actually a thing, prior to this I had no idea but it makes sense right? Property is where most people hold their wealth, so obviously holds an appeal to those less scrupulous among us who may wish to get their hands on said wealth.
On to the book itself now, I finished it this morning having struggled to put it down over the last couple of days. In my opinion this book was brilliant, a truly horrifying premise, one that I think is highly relatable. Fi arrives home, as the blurb states, to find another couple moving into her home. A joke? A misunderstanding? And then the agonizing reality that this is neither and it appears that Fi’s property has been sold, obviously on a Friday so a long weekend follows before further clarity can be sought. Clearly this is a hideous situation for all involved.
What I had not expected was the circumstances of the fraud and this is where Louise Candlish deserves praise for her well executed plot, which builds over the duration of the book. I was kept guessing throughout with unexpected twists aplenty. The ending, and I mean the very last page was glorious another great, final twist which had me gritting my teeth in horror. It was splendid.
The writing is original and is written in three distinct formats which are interspersed throughout. We spend the day with Fi as the horrors of her situation unfold, we sit in the kitchen with her and the new owners as they seek to resolve the situation and trust me this situation is excruciating, and doesn’t make for comfortable reading! This house is Fi’s ‘forever home’ and while the material value is of concern, for Fi, this is her home, her neighbourhood, her friends… her life all at stake. And think for one moment about the new owners, out yourself in their shoes, everything they have done is above board yet hear is this woman claiming now not to have sold the house…
The rest of the story is told via a podcast featuring Fi called The Victim and a written account by Bram (Fi’s husband) detailing the circumstances leading up to the sale of the house. This structure was both engaging and readable and hearing the stories of Fi and Bram provided a broader, multi faceted story and elicited sympathy from me as the reader.
To say this situation was horrific is an understatement and I think this book was really enhanced by the authenticity of the tale, while I thankfully don’t know any victims of property fraud this really did read as a situation that, given the right circumstances anyone could find themselves in. A strong plot, engaging characters, authenticity… combine these and you have one compelling read!
Absolutely recommended by me, I thoroughly enjoyed this well plotted crime fiction that was highly original in both plot and writing style.
Thank you as always for reading and tell me, have you read The House?