Cover Image: The Housewarming

The Housewarming

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The Housewarming by S. E. Lynes⁣
⁣
This was an emotional read for me. One of my best 2020 books btw. It was sad, thrilling, intense, marvellously written and most especially, intriguing. I've never read a book by this author before, so I didn't know what to expect. The title and cover caught my attention and I requested for it on NetGalley. At first i thought it would be more of The-Haunting-Party/The-Guest-Book vibes, but i was wrong.⁣
⁣
 The first chapter was marvellous, the reader notices a sort of tense environment but still unaware of the elephant in the room. After few pages, we understand the real deal. A baby is missing and the mother is beyond distraught. Can you imagine? A two year old baby!⁣
⁣
Wbat could have happened, is the question everyone is asking. ⁣
⁣
As the book progressed, I was really hoping for Abi to be found. After a year though, the family have lost hope. At the most unexpected moment, something wierd happened. Though I had been suspecting this particular person, and when the neighbours little girl acknowledged him as 'pockets' and also acknowledged Abi's doll Mr Sloth which she had never set eyes on as Mr Sloth and also called him 'Mr Sloth Pockets', I knew i was right. ⁣
⁣
The conclusion was more emotional than I thought. Finding the real culprit and finally knowing what happened was too sad.⁣
This book also discusses a crucial problem we face everyday, everywhere. That of missing children. There are families out there who have been looking for their children for a long time. The wait is excruciatingly painful, and I pray they're found.⁣
Was this review helpful?
This was a fine book-I just don't think I was a great audience for it. As a mother myself I found it incredibly difficult to get through without having a lot of negative feelings unfortunately.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley,  SE Lynes and Bookouture for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

This was definitely what you term "a slow burner" The beginning was very repetitive. Due to the nature of the subject, I made allowances for that, but even so,  I started to find the constant repetitiveness a little tedious. However(!) from about half way through, I was absolutely glued to my kindle, and I literally could not put it down. The book took on the persona of a speeding train!  The storyline thundered along throwing the reader one way and then the other, almost coming to a halt, and then accelerating again at full steam. By the time you reach your destination you will be as shattered as the characters in the book!

This was a very emotive subject, with each character displaying their own developing emotions throughout the story. There is an awful lot of food for thought as the drama unravels. You won't know what to think until the whole truth comes out, and after that you will be mulling over many different facters for some considerable time afterwards!
Was this review helpful?
My rating: 3.5/5 (rounded off to 4)
The Housewarming is a psychological thriller that focuses on a young couple Ava and Matt cope with the loss of their daughter Abi after she wandered out the open front door almost a year ago. A chance comment during the housewarming party of her neighbor leads her back into the rabbit-hole to try and piece together the event to uncover the truth of what happened to her daughter. 

This was a compulsive and gripping book that showed the devastating effect the loss has on the family and the deep psychological scars it leaves behind. Losing a child is such a horrifying scenario and every parent's worst dream and the author manages to encapsulate it beautifully within the pages. The author patiently fleshes out the central characters: the claustrophobic feeling of Ava's from  being stuck and obsessively reliving the fateful day is vividly described and the extreme physical training for the triathlon undertaken by Matt to not dwell in the past is shown to establish the clear contrast between them which was a nice detail. The author adds such details throughout the story as little points that help in finally answering the big question. 

The narrative switches between the leads but the major portion is conveyed from the perspective of Ava and how she deals with the grief and guilt of being the main cause for her daughter's disappearance. The book takes time to get to the core issue and so much of the beginning is spent with Ava and her inability to get out of the traumatic and life-altering day. While it added perspective and made for an interesting slow burn, the pace was occasionally a bit too slow. I felt it both added some richness and dragged out the story. 

Coming to the mystery, it was a pretty decent affair. The author methodically drops hints here and there and begins unraveling the mystery after the housewarming party. The plot thickens with every layer of the fateful day being slowly ripped apart; while I was able to make a fairly successful guess at the happenings, I still found it a very engaging affair and I liked how the best was saved for the last. 

If you like slow burn psychological thrillers that gives you a rich vivid narration, then this is a book that you should definitely pick up. 

Many thanks to Netgalley, Bookouture and the author for kindly sending me a copy of the book in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?
Ava and Matt are an average married couple with an immense difference from the norm: they are desperately trying to carve an existence out of what’s left of their lives after the traumatic disappearance of their two-year-old.   

Ava is unable to cope with the loss of her little girl. The guilt she feels has spooned out her insides and left her a hollow shell. Her all-consuming grief traps her in a painful loop of reliving that day. However, that unforgiving mourning is the key that unravels the piecing together of the events of that tragic day.   

Matt is doing his best to be supportive of Ava while trying to keep himself from crashing. He can’t bear to see her so devastated, empty, fading. But Matt has a fear of his own corroding his insides, that if exposed, will destroy everything he holds dear.  

Attending a neighbor’s housewarming invitation is meant to ease Ava and Matt gently back into socialization with their friends. Instead, the shocking fall-out from that gathering ignites the flame to a powder keg that ultimately explodes, laying bare the smoldering bones of the duplicitous.  

S.E. Lynes delivers a powerful, emotionally-propelled, chilling account of the never-ending nightmare of the loss of a child. By establishing the reader deep into Ava’s mind, Lynes creates an instinctual connection to her overwhelming devastation. From the slow reveal to the final revelation, the reader is in mind-bending, heart-wrenching pursuit. 

I am a fan of S.E. Lynes, and if you aren’t yet, you are missing out on an ingenious and gifted author. 

I highly recommend reading The Housewarming as a 2020 must-read.
Was this review helpful?
Wow... This read was a sloooow burn with so many emotions I felt by the ending that I really didn’t see coming.  I was left questioning what I would do to protect myself at all costs no matter who I hurt in the process.

Emotional and powerful and at times a little repetitive but overall a great read.  Don’t let the slow start steer you away from this read! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
The Housewarming is a psychological thriller based around the disappearance of two year old Abi. Ava only went upstairs for a few minutes and left her daughter safely strapped into her pushchair. When she returns, the front door is open and the pushchair is empty. 
Despite some very positive reviews, I found the pace of this book far too slow with too much emphasis on every thought going through Ava’s head at the detriment of the storyline.
Was this review helpful?
More of an emotional family drama, but still excellent 

This author just knows how spin a tale, create characters and set the pace. At the first half this story was repetitive, and some reviewers didn’t care for that, but I thought it gave an excellent dimension to the story. It fleshed out both Ava and Matt and their reasons for their actions. 

There isn’t a lot of action. This is a very slow reveal. The second half (two thirds?) really is where things come to light. Then you get answers and more answers and it’s just horrifying and beyond sad. I will always look for more from this author, highly recommend.

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Bookouture for a copy in exchange for a review.
Was this review helpful?
The Housewarming is an emotional and twisty mystery. A mother, Ava, leaves her young daughter in her stroller for a few minutes while she runs upstairs. When Ava comes back down, the front door is open and the child is missing.

A year after their daughter goes missing, Ava and her husband Matt attend a neighbor’s housewarming party. Ava does not want to attend, but Matt believes they need to get out and socialize more. During the housewarming, Ava realizes there is more to her daughter’s disappearance than she ever realized.

Told from multiple points of view, including Ava, Matt, and their neighbors. The different viewpoints add to the story, as does the alternating between past and present. While the beginning goes a little slow, the pace does pick up.

The Housewarming is a slow-burning mystery. It combines secrets, lies, and a gut-wrenching loss of a child. Fans of S.E. Lynes other novels are sure to enjoy this one too.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
There is a reason that S.E. Lynes is my absolute go to author - I just LOVE the way she draws the totally human characters who inhabit her books, she manages to make you understand and has you empathising with even the most unlovable ones and utterly bereft and rooting for the goodies.

This is a devastating, heart stopping, thrilling book which will absolutely resonate with any parent. Ava's reaction from the minute that Abi disappeared was brilliantly portrayed - the panic, the desperation, driving herself mad with her brain rerunning events over and over in a loop, self doubt - did actually she fasten the buckle? how can she not have locked the door? Then there was the fall out the heartbreak, the relationships sent into a spiral, the deceit! but who is deceiving who?

A year after the tragic event at the long awaited Housewarming party of the house next door Ava discovers just how wrong she was about the people she held close - So many people putting themselves or the well being of their own family first and totally ignoring the needs of the others.

I can't recommend this book highly enough - do yourself a favour buy this book and make sure you can hide away from everything to read it as you won't be able to put it down.
Was this review helpful?
The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes is a devastatingly dark and twisty read that tied me up in knots, wringing every emotion from me as I felt every second of Ava’s torment following the disappearance of her small daughter, Abi. The guilt she feels is palpable as she relives every moment of that terrible day over and over again.

The tension builds slowly, with Ava and her husband, Matt, living through every parents worst nightmare. They handle their grief in very different ways, Ava cutting herself off from the world and Matt trying to remain strong, continuing to work and live as normal a life as he can.

But then, a year later, Ava and Matt are invited to the long awaited housewarming party of the Lovegoods, whose house is very close to where Abi went missing. And as the party gets underway, Ava learns something new about the day Abi disappeared. Something that could change everything…

What follows is a dark and suspense filled psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. What really happened to Abi that day? The truth, when it came, completely blindsided me and tore my heart into a million pieces. I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling the story, but oh wow, the writing is so powerful and the story so intense I felt completely drained of all emotion as I turned the final page.

S.E. Lynes is an exquisite writer. She somehow gets inside the head of a grieving parent and transfers all of that raw and devastating emotion on to the page. The Housewarming is a dark, disturbing and utterly heartbreaking psychological thriller that I know will stay with me for a long time to come. It is a strong, powerful and beautifully written character driven story that I honestly can’t recommend highly enough!
Was this review helpful?
A harrowing subject. A child is missing, presumed dead. Her mother blames herself. The subject of every parent’s nightmare. But is all it seems? A well written and suspenseful book. My only criticism is I found it a little repetitive at the beginning and took a while for the story to get going. However an excellent read
Was this review helpful?
This book was brilliant! It had me hooked from page one. Each character was relatable which always makes the story flow. I felt sorry for each of them in their own way. Would highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
A gripping novel from start to finish, a girl goes missing and her mother never stops thinking about the details of that day.

I love the way this book is written, especially in the chapters from Ava's point of view. It feels fast-paced and immediate when we're in her head. We, the reader, discover things at the same time as Ava, which is a really effective way to portray her emotional and physical reactions to her missing daughter.

There were enough secrets and lies to keep me reading to the end and each played out at the right time. The only issue I had, without giving too much away, was with the series of very samey twists/actions that led to the disappearance of Abi.
Was this review helpful?
I usually adore Susie Lynes’ books but this one really wasn’t my cup of tea.  I found it terribly depressing and repetitive. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but appreciate that that isn’t the point of the book.  However I will continue to search out further books by Ms Lynes as I think this one wasn’t typical.
Was this review helpful?
Found this to be quite a suspense building, tension filled read!  Well written, thrilling, chilling, and shocking book, which will absolutely fill you full of tension!  Highly recommend to those looking for some which thrills and chills, and of course shocks!  Lynes definitely has figured out a great formula for writing some fun, chilling, and riveting reads!  Do not miss this one!
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness, I really enjoyed this book and I loved how the intensity grows as you near the end. What happens is every parents worst nightmare, the not knowing the distressing part, so the build up to what really happened and even then the twists and turns has you gripped and wanting answers for the characters.
Thanks to the publisher and author for my arc.
Was this review helpful?
I loved The Housewarming! It's a smart and suspenseful British thriller that follows a woman suffering from the tragic loss of her 2 year old daughter. The timeline switches between the day she disappeared and present day (one are after the tragic event) in a dissociative and wandering way that adds to the atmosphere. Although I predicted one of the major twists, there were plenty more at the end that caught me by surprise and left me shocked. Additionally, I love when a thriller has a message, and this one definitely does. Yes, the drama, intrigue and twists are all accounted for… but themes of grief, forgiveness, family and morals are also explored in a meaningful and authentic way. Overall, 4 stars for a suspenseful and true to life thriller!
Was this review helpful?
The beginning of this book had my heart beating as quickly as the metronome and ticking of the clock described in that first chapter. I felt as if I was right there with the mother, running through the house, checking every room, racing down the street looking for her daughter. What an emotional ride this was as she grappled with what happened to her little girl and how she may be the one to blame. Excellent writing and an emotional tug of a story describing the loss and guilt and heartache between a husband and wife, plus the increasing suspicions of the neighbors. I highly recommend this read!
Was this review helpful?
Two year old Abi disappears from her home one morning and is not seen again. A year later her desperate parents have a new baby but their life is still haunted by their guilt about their lost daughter. A housewarming party at their neighbours is the last place they want to go but the night dredges up secrets that could solve the mystery of Abi's disappearance...
The Housewarming is a very tense and gripping psychological drama. It is often uncomfortable to read as the emotion is palpable for all characters. As a parent, the thought of losing a child especially when you could be to blame, is absolutely unbearable.
Tension is there from the very start as Ava discovers the open front door and empty pushchair. I have panicked losing my kids for a few seconds during soft play or in a shop so I can imagine the fear.
The narrative style was a little tricky for me to engage with at times as the perspective moves from present to past and back again. I would have preferred a whole chapter of flashback but this way represented the churning emotional viewpoint of the characters so I understand why it was used.
We see multiple perspectives which allows us to witness the effect of the child's disappearance on Ava and Matt's friends and neighbours. This gives clues to their behaviour and hint that something sinister may have occurred. The conclusion to The Housewarming was heartbreaking for all of the characters but as a reader left me satisfied that the loose ends had all been resolved.
Was this review helpful?