Publish Date: August 7, 2018
“There is a thin line between a victim and an idiot.” – Our House
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.
When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.
Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.
This book is domestic noir at its best, full of secrets, lies, betrayals, infidelity, swindling, and twists.
All of Louise Candlish’s books are on my wish list, because each of her book’s plots are so relatable to a typical reader, especially mothers. So when a copy of Our House was offered to me, I jumped at the opportunity.
This book caught my eye because of the “bird’s nest” custody concept between an estranged couple. Bird’s nest custody is a shared custody arrangement for divorced or separated parents where the children live in only one house, but the parents take turns living in that house with the children, never at the same time. In other words, mom leaves when dad comes home and dad leaves when mom comes home. The concept originated in America.
It got my attention because I am a divorced parent and this seems to be the least disruptive living arrangement for the children. I’m not sure how that would work for me personally, but I totally get the approach.
I like the format of the story because it is unusual. The reader gets both wife Fiona (“Fi”) and husband Bram’s perspectives through the present, and a series of recollections as told by Fi on a podcast series called The Victim and Bram’s Word documents. Getting both perspectives on the same events was fascinating.
Fi is living a mother’s biggest nightmare, with her home sold right under her and her children’s whereabouts unknown. I think I would have lost my mind!
I absolutely hated Bram because of all of the horrible things that he did to Fiona. But slowly I learned that things are not what they seem, and learning the truth made me change my initial opinions of Fiona and Bram. To be honest, I didn’t like any of the characters and their judgement was definitely questionable. But I like the way the story unfolded and the different directions that it took. The twists in the swindle were unexpected. The surprises sprinkled throughout made my mouth hang open a few times, and I liked how most things were revealed by the end. The truth stunned me! It wasn’t what I had expected at all.
The book is fast paced and an easy read. It’s quick, fun, entertaining. It will make you think about your ex-spouse and your custody arrangement if you have these. And, you’ll be glad if you don’t.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is my first Louise Candlish book but it’s definitely not my last! I’ve heard that she is called the queen of domestic noir and now I understand why.