Cover Image: The Housewarming

The Housewarming

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Member Reviews

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.
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This is a really sad story with a good mystery. The first part of the book is rather slow, and repetitive, as Abi continues to be hard on herself and her husband Matt continues to help her get past her grief and guilt.

Then the neighbors have a housewarming party to show off their house that they have been renovating for the past year- everyone has connections to these neighbors- the wife has become somewhat of a friend to Ava, and Matt's best friend Neil is the builder who worked on the renovations. Ava has to be convinced to go, but when she does, there are a lot of alcohol-infused conversations that make her question what role others had to play in Abi's disappearance.

The book really picks up the pace at the point of the party and follows it through to the end. There are a lot of secrets and confessions and when the truth is revealed, it's really very heartbreaking. Lynes also throws in another twist just when you think you had everything figured out. Though the book started off a little slow for me, the ending made it all worth it and I know this is a story that will stick with me.

Overall, I'd recommend this book, Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This domestic thriller opens with a moment of sheer panic. While her daughter was occupied in her stroller, Ava took a brief moment for herself. The strap was buckled, the door was locked, she'd easily hear if her little one needed her.... But that brief moment stretched just a bit too long and the door to the front of the house wasn't locked. Ava's panic and growing despair quickly pulled me into this one. It's not always clear whether she's in the moment when her child disappeared or looking back from a year later, but that's okay because Ava is a mess and sometimes seems not quite sure herself. She's barely holding herself together. I loved this one, but it's heartbreaking to find out what happened that morning.
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I usually tend to avoid books about missing children as there are so many but I'd heard such great things about this one I wanted to give it a go. And I'm so glad I did! It manages to be both a slow-burn and a page-turner at the same time where almost no one can be trusted. Read in a few days. Excellent.
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This book had me hooked from the very first few pages! It was so well written that I found myself feeling as though I was experiencing and picturing what each main character was going through; their panic, distress, uncertainty and heartbreak. This was the first book for me by this author but will not be the last. I really enjoyed the pace and suspense throughout the whole book and found this to be a really great thriller. The fact that the author kept me guessing throughout was also amazing as I don't enjoy predictable thrillers. Thanks so much to NetGalley, the Author and Publisher for allowing me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Ahhh y'all!!! After reading this book it almost makes me not want to go to a house party! But in all honesty this novel was fantastic and truly captured my attention. Very suspenseful and a great thriller!
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This story have that whodunnit and what is going on kind of storyline, characters are mysterious and intriguing. Gripping and hair-raising! Highly recommended!
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This was one of the slowest burn stories I have read in a very long time. It was an interesting juxtaposition, because at times it was very effective and at others it dragged the story down. It was almost like reading two different versions of the same story. 
On the one hand, it was a fascinating look at the destruction of a family in the face of a terrible tragedy. Ava feels guilt for what she sees as her part in the disappearance of her daughter. No amount of time or events, including a newborn son, helps her get over the questions she has about the day everything changed. 
The first half of the book belongs largely to her as she navigates trying to keep herself together. There are hints and clues along the way that not everything is as it seems, and by the time we get to the titular housewarming, it is obvious that there is a lot more to Abi’s disappearance. 
The author is very methodical in plotting this first half out so that the facts of the day (or what Ava thinks are the facts) are clear in the reader’s mind. The claustrophobic feeling that people often experience after a tragedy is well-described and highly accurate. It’s important, because once the party happens, things get really topsy-turvy. 
In the second half of the book, in spite of the new information that comes to light, there seemed to be a lot more passages of characters’ inner monologues. This is where I thought the plotting dragged a little bit. As Ava starts to put things together, I wanted there to be a bit more action. 
For me, one of the things that kept it from completely flowing was that the action shifted back and forth between the day Abi disappeared and the present – but there were no signifiers like “Ava- Then” or “Matt-Now.” The shifts therefore took me some time to adjust and reset to which time period I was in. 
By the time we get to the actual reveal, I had a suspicion as to what it would be. The author did a good job dropping a few red herrings that had me thinking other options (I like when an author guides that branching out of thinking). But kudos also, because just when I thought it was all wrapped up, there were second, third, and even fourth endings.
This was effective because even in the face of tragedy, things can always go even more sideways. And this story certainly did. I thought it got a little bit preachy at the end when Ava was realizing how much goes unnoticed in people’s lives, but in a way, it fit her overall realization of the truth.
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📙 BOOK REVIEW 📙 The Housewarming - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)..

Reallllly enjoyed this book! - Every parents worst nightmare. Your child goes missing! You blame yourself over and over, again and again. How could you be so stupid. Question everything that happened. Go over every tiny detail. This is what happened to Ava. Was it her fault her daughter Abi went missing? A year later, still not knowing if she is dead or alive, a housewarming party next door makes her overthink every little detail all over again.

This had me gripped from the start (taken me longer to read than planned due to personal reasons, but managed 3 quarters of the book in one day and finished. I couldn't put it down). I love the plot twist, you think you have sussed out what happens and them BAM, you are hit with another shocker.
Highly recommended. Definitely add this to your wishlist! Thank you @netgalley and @susielynes for a free copy in exchange for an honest review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ #bookstagramuk #book #ilovetoread #reading #bookstagram #instabook #kindlebooks #amazonfire #book #readingtime #newbook #prerelease #reviewer #bookreviewer #newbook #newrelease #published #paperback #netgalley #thehousewarming
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgaley for the opportunity to read and review this book.  The story starts out with the scary scenario of a missing child.  The story ensues while keeping the reading wondering where the child is.  Unfortunately, there wasnt much to keep the anticipation alive.  It was just the normal emotions of the parents etc.  About a quarter in you start to suspect other characters.  At 80% in is when the story unravels and you cant turn the pages fast enough.  Just when you thought you knew, you didnt.
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A really well plotted story but just so incredibly sad with all of the "what ifs".
A great cover inviting you to come in for a very good read
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One year ago your little girl seemingly walked out of your house and was never seen again. Not seen by a neighbour, not seen by anyone. 

Seemingly normal conversations at a housewarming event leave Ava and Matt wondering what really happened to their little girl one year ago. Is someone covering up, does someone know more Han they originally let on. 

I liked that this story was different than anything else I’ve read recently. A story of trying to move on after the loss of a child, when there aren’t real answers. A story of lies and how far someone will go to protect themselves and protect the people they love. 

However, this story wasn’t for me. A little slow, and perhaps a little too sad overall. A very avoidable tragedy.
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Ava was only upstairs for a few minutes when she left Abi downstairs strapped safely inside her pushchair. She swears it. When Ava realizes the front door is open and her daughter is missing, she immediately begins to look everywhere for her. She calls her husband, Matt, and they call the police together, realizing that they will not be able to find her alone. The search ensues, and everyone does what they can to find the missing child.

The problem is, Abi is never found. One year later, Ava is still completely distraught over what happened. She believes it is her fault and doesn't feel fit to be a mother. She has been hiding in their house, barely able to go out or socialize with others. However, when Ava and Matt's neighbors, the Lovegoods, throw a housewarming party in honor of their recently finished kitchen renovations, Ava is convinced that she should go. It is on this night that Ava begins to realize that not everyone is who they seem, and some of the people closest to Ava have been harboring secrets that change her knowledge of the day Abi disappeared.

First of all, I just want to mention that the cover of this book is absolutely stunning; a beautiful mix of elegance and mystery, it perfectly portrays the idea of everyone having secrets. I love a great slow-burn story, and this is exactly what The Housewarming was. Unfortunately, I found many parts of it to drag along a bit too slowly, and this is ultimately the reason that it was only an average read for me. The different perspectives woven throughout the book, especially at the end, were enjoyable, and I completely sympathized with both Ava and Matt. I can't imagine going through a situation even remotely similar to what they did, but I could relate on some level to their struggles. Although it took me awhile to get into the story, the last 40% or so had me hooked, and I finished the last part of the book in one sitting. For those who stories that lean more on the psychological side, I would recommend this book! Just buckle up and be prepared for a very slow burn.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing an ARC of The Housewarming!
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WOW! The Housewarming, by S.E. Lynes, is definitely a 5 star must read book! Each page pulls you in deeper and deeper until you become suspicious of everyone and everything! S.E. Lynes brilliantly lays a foundation that lets your mind wander through all the scenarios of what could’ve happened, cleverly disguises secrets, and keeps you guessing who was the most desperate to make sure the truth was never revealed. While reading The Housewarming, I made a million guesses about what happened and who was responsible, but the ending was so shocking that I most certainly didn’t seen it coming! The Housewarming is a powerhouse read! Filled with raw emotions and realistic relationships, The Housewarming is full of mind-blowing secrets and unnerving twists that will keep you hanging onto every word! Many times I felt both outraged and understanding, and am impressed that S.E. Lynes was able to make me feel such a rush of conflicting emotions..

I loved how S.E. Lynes randomly threw in cliffhangers throughout the book because each time it changed my perspective. The Housewarming was very unique in how S.E. Lynes depicted Ava’s current daily life and how she also felt trapped reliving the day Abi disappeared. The agony of a mother trying to move forward but still clinging to the past felt so real! S.E. Lynes did an amazing job writing about the emotional and conversational undertones between Ava and Matt too. Many times Ava said one thing but her mind was screaming another, and knowing both sides added so much depth to the story! 

Ava’s and Matt’s daughter Abi was a toddler when she disappeared. One minute she was safely inside her home, and the next minute she was gone. Noticing that the door was slightly ajar, Ava’s heart sank when she realized the door hadn’t closed all the way when she shut it. Abi was a bright and outgoing child so Ava rushed outside and searched all the places where she thought Abi might have ventured off to. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days, and hope of finding Abi began to dwindle. One year later Ava still feels like she’s watching herself relive that day and make the same mistakes. She forces herself to manage things one day at a time because she knows she has to for Fred’s sake at least. Born a few months after Abi’s disappearance, Fred is Ava’s reason to grasp at sanity and stability. She has severed ties with all of her friends from her previous life, and her wittiness has turned to bitterness. She isn’t even close to Abi’s Godparents, Bella and Neil, anymore. Matt is also struggling, but he feels like accepting the most likely possibility is the only way they can move forward. Although the police never officially closed the investigation, at this point it’s hard to believe that Abi’s alive.

When Ava and Matt receive an invitation to their neighbors housewarming party, Matt is the one who suggests they attend. Their neighbors, the Lovegoods, have been the talk of the town. Johnnie is known for his flashy lifestyle, home, and car and people can hardly wait for a chance to gawk at their recent renovations. Despite her reluctance, Ava agrees to go. In the midst of the party, the secrets slowly start to slip out until Ava begins to wonder if she is losing her mind or if there is more to the story about Abi’s disappearance.

Thank you S.E. Lynes, Bookouture, and Netgalley for allowing me to read The Housewarming. My feedback is voluntary and expresses my honest review.
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I love a good psychological thriller and this fit the bill perfectly. 

Kept me hooked and I didn’t see the ending coming which is unusual in these books a lot of the time.

Quick and enjoyable read.
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I am a fan of S.E Lynes so I was excited to get The Housewarming. I was glued to my kindle from the very first page and couldn't put it down until the amazing ending. S.E wrote a brilliant story that was completely heartbreaking and terrifying as a parent. The story was also filled with a lot of twists and turns that some I saw coming and others left my jaw on the floor.
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Title:  The Housewarming
Author:   S.E. Lynes    
Publication Day:  Oct 23rd 2020


Everyone is going to the housewarming party.
All the same people who lived on the street the day Abi vanished…
Will her mother finally learn the truth?

Ava only left her daughter in the pushchair for five minutes. The buckle was fastened, and she was sure it was safe. But when she came downstairs, the door was open and Abi was gone – she walked down the road, past the Lovegoods’ house, and was never seen again.

A year later, the Lovegoods are planning their long-anticipated housewarming party. Ava doesn’t want to go. She can’t bear to look down that end of the road, to see the place where Abi vanished, and she doesn’t want to spend time with people who don’t share her grief. Her husband Matt persuades her: he’s worried about her. A night out might do her good.

But as her friends and neighbours chat, and the drink and gossip flows, Ava learns something new about the day she has re-lived a thousand times. A throwaway comment which could change everything.

Ava thought she knew every last detail of that day.

She’s about to find out she was wrong…

Brilliantly dark and moving suspense fiction for fans of Gillian Flynn, Claire McGowan and Lisa Jewell, The Housewarming will have your pulse racing and your heart in your mouth from start to finish.


Review for 'The Housewarming' by S.E. Lynes. 

Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous 

Publication date 26th October 2020

This is the second book that I have read by this author. 

I was originally drawn to this book by  its bold cover and intriguing sounding blurb. The blurb also suggests that this book will have fans of Lisa Jewell pulse racing. I am a big fan of Lisa Jewell so am intrigued to see if this book lives up to thay statement. I have also previously read a book by this author which I enjoyed so am looking forward to this one. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Bookouture. I have yet to read a book published by Bookouture  that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book).

This novel consists of 48 chapters. The chapters are medium in length so possible to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case! 

This book is based in London, UK 🇬🇧 . I always enjoy when books are set in the UK as I'm from Wales and have sometimes visited areas mentioned in the book. This makes it easier to picture where the scenes are set at times.

This book is written in first person and third person  perspective with the main protagonists being Ava (first) and Matt (third) I enjoy books written in first person perspective as as long as they are well written it makes you feel that you are being spoken to by the protagonist and it can create more of a bond between yourselves and them. It's even more enjoyable when there are 2 main protagonists as you get to see even more of what is going on and how they are feeling about everything. It's unusual for a book to use both first and third person perspectives but when it works it works great as it gives a much larger picture of everything going on. 

This book is very well written and the descriptions are fantastic. The first chapter is captivating and really pulls you in. The cover and blog really suit the storyline. 

THE storyline is absolutely heartbreaking especially for a parent which I am, it really sets your heart pacing. It is more of a slow burning psychological drama rather than a thriller. Packed full of loss, deceit, secrets and lies. The end has several shocking twists which I didn't see coming so well done to the author there!! I have read many psychological books and it's getting harder and harder to shock me but I didn't see them twists coming!! There are several changes in time lines throughout the book and these did confuse me at times. The past storylines were slightly repetitive at points but I think this was more so to see the reality of how Ava was coping, or more so not coping. Congratulations for bringing Angelman syndrome into the book. This is a disability that is not very well heard of and I encountered a young adult with it while working in care many years ago so it was nice too see awareness being made in a book as prior to working in the care home I had never heard of it either. 

The characters all have different personalities and are very strong and believable. I enjoyed reading how the relationships changed throughout the book and I think these changes were realistic to the storyline also. 

Overall an emotional filled family drama that will keep you guessing and hoping throughout. 

Genres covered in this novel include Suspense, Mystery and Psychological Fiction  among others. 

I would recommend this book to the fans of the above as well as fans of drama and S. E. Lynes

350 pages.

This book is 99p to purchase on kindle via Amazon which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!! 

Rated 4/5 (I enjoyed it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook. 

Feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow me on my website or Facebook for more reviews 

#TheHousewarming #Bookouture  #SELynes #NetGalley #BookReview #BlogTour #BooksOnTour
@SELynes @Bookouture @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86

Author Bio:

Former BBC Producer, S.E. Lynes is the Amazon best selling author of 'intelligent and haunting', 'beautifully written' psychological thrillers, VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT, THE PROPOSAL, THE WOMEN, THE LIES WE HIDE, CAN YOU SEE HER? and her latest novel, THE HOUSEWARMING, available for pre-order NOW.

After completing her MA, Lynes taught creative writing at Richmond Adult Community College for over ten years. She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing.

She has also published three children's books in Italy: IL LEOPARDO LAMPO, LA COCCODRILLA INGAMBA, and the bilingual LA SCIMMIA SPIRITOSA/THE FUNNY MONKEY, all available at

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: S E Lynes Author
Twitter: @SELynesAuthor
Instagram: @S E Lynes Author





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Ava is devastated when her young daughter, Abi, goes missing from their home.  Nearly a year later she is struggling to come to terms with her grief, not least because she still has no answers. Was Abi taken?  Did she wander off?  Is she still alive?  Who has her?  Where is she?  Will she come home?

For the most part, this is what the book centers on – the what ifs.  The what if you’d done things differently?  What if you had paid more attention?  What if you’d got off your phone sooner?  What if you were a better person?

I was immediately gripped reading this – the way Ava’s fear/grief/agony is portrayed is very real, and I confess, at times I felt sick rather than entertained.  I mean that in a good way as I could feel myself in that situation, and know how quickly my blood would run cold if I couldn’t find my child.

However, for me, it quickly became tedious as the same thoughts/issues were repeated throughout. It felt like an awful lot was said, without anything new being said at all.  As a result, there was limited character development, and there wasn’t a single person I actually liked.  I found myself having to skip-read large chunks of internal monologue and descriptions of people’s houses because it just slowed the story down too much.

That said, it did eventually pick up again at about half way through, though, lacked the same spark I’ve seen in previous writing from this author.  For me, the ending felt a little too contrived, a determination to put twists in the tail to make up for a very slow pace of book.

Sadly, this just didn’t really work for me.
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Lynes so aptly captures the anguish of parents whose little girl has gone missing and all the guilt that goes along with that.  This book will make any parent of young kids think twice before clicking on that "one more link" or taking that extra minute of me time. 

I had a bit of trouble getting into the  beginning of the book which replays, over and over,  the minutes leading up to and just after Abi goes missing,  But it was an effective literary technique that showed Ava's devolution from hope, to self-blame, to an inability to acknowledge what might have happened.  To play out different scenarios in her head.

While most of her friends, including her husband's best friend and his wife, have pulled away from them, Ava makes a decision almost a year after Abi has gone to attend their neighbor's open house.  All of her other neighbors will be there, curious to see the big, expensive renovation.  After the party, things kick into high gear. Ava learns that the community that she thought would gather and protect their own, a neighborhood that was so safe a missing hat would be placed on a wall for the owner to retrieve, has those among it who are only looking out for themselves. 

The author will have you so invested in finding out what happened to Abi you will be holding your breath hoping that the inevitable ending doesn't happen.  And then when you find out what really happened, the ending will stay with you.  So, go now - to your bookseller, your eBook provider or your library - and get this book!

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an advanced reader's copy for review.
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I need just a few minutes...
That's what Ava thought that morning. She left Abi strapped in her stroller, ready for a morning walk and run upstairs. But when she came back down later,  the front door was open and her beautiful two years old girl was gone.
Everyone knows the biggest tragedy in life is the loss of a child. How to go on, how to still live, how to manage the guilt. Would the couple survive? Would they find peace? Would they be able to forgive?
This story is brilliant from beginning to end. The characters are incredibly developed and the pace is calm, but at the same time brutal.
The author worked from different angles and the result is magnificent. Because it's not just the mystery, but the character's feelings about the mystery what brings all together in the end
Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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