Cover Image: The Housewarming

The Housewarming

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Member Reviews

Thank you netgalley, the publisher and the author
This is the heartbreaking story of a mother who looses her toddler, a mother’s worst nightmare comes to life in this book.
Thru the chapters we see how Ava copes with the loss a year after the fact. This book is well written, heartbreaking.
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This book kept me hooked from start to finish. I constantly changed my mind to what happened to little Abi throughout the book often going back and forth hoping to pick up clues. A heartbreaking but gripping story that keeps you wanting more. Fantastic for those who love psychological thrillers. A huge 5 stars
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OMG WHAT HAPPENED TO ABI?????? HOW CAN A TODDLER DISAPPEAR JUST LIKE THAT??! Yes I am shouting… it’s my befuddled mind’s reaction to The Housewarming and my first journey into the world of S. E. Lynes.

My heart broke with Ava’s. I can’t imagine one of my boys as a toddler vanishing without a trace. I’d be in bits, devastated. Not to mention blaming myself given the situation Ava found herself in. I don’t know how this woman coped with her life from the day Abi disappeared.

But then my heart broke again and again as the story developed. Ava’s life around her was crumbling as the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance looms. Ava is still killing herself emotionally and mentally over Abi but you would wouldn’t you? Without closure, it’s so hard to move on.

Lynes’ writing took me by surprise; not entirely sure why, given I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. But what I didn’t expect was to be gobbled up into the world she’d created, unable to escape. I was there in that street, I was Ava. I felt the torrid emotion that Ava felt as she lived life without her daughter, coping again as a new mum. And oh the party…

I have given myself a severe reprimand for failing to join the S E Lynes party before now. I’m in serious trouble with myself. The Housewarming has so many twists and turns throughout, I felt dizzy. She spins a serious web to confuse and intrigue a reader. Its an impressive art to perfect and Lynes has definitely done that with The Housewarming….

Now I need to squeeze in all my purchases of her back catalogue…..
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First, I want to thank S.E. Lynes, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with this book so I may bring you this review.

The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes literally shattered my heart into a million different pieces. It is an unforgettable story of a mother's horrific nightmare come true. I wanted to hug my nieces and nephew after reading this book. 

Instantly, the reader is brought into Ava’s world where she turns her head for a second and can't find her daughter! S.E. Pulled out all the raw emotions and behavior when looking for little Ani. The way the scenes were written you felt like you were right there with her looking for Ani.

In S. E. Lynes book you will find it to be incredibly fast paced as she grabs you into the storyline. There are so many secrets with shocking revelations, so many twists and turns that I never saw coming. Guaranteed you will be at the edge of your seat reading this dying to know what happened to sweet Ani. 

S.E. Introduces us to a teenage character who has Angelman syndrome. It is a condition I had never heard of before. Someone who has it will smile a lot, flaps her hands, and has obsessions. With this disorder she is Echolalic where she has limited language but can attach words to things or people.
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Ava left her daughter in the pushchair for 5 minutes while she cleaned. When she came downstairs the front door was wide opened and her daughter was missing. How could Abi have gotten out? Ava could have sworn she locked the front door and had Abi strapped in the chair.
She walked down the road calling her daughter. Looking everywhere and never finding her.
A Year later the neighbors, lovegoods, throw a party. Ava doesn't want to go but her friends and husband convince her to go. But she starts hearing things and being told somethings and now she has questions because things just don't add up or make sense.
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Wow, what a ride. This was a solid 5 for me. It was masterfully written and touched on so many emotions. I was hooked from the beginning and it had me on the edge of my seat. And just when I thought I had it figured out there would be another twist. Absolutely worth the read. Thanks to NetGalley for the privilege to read and review this book.
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Two year old Abi goes missing when her mom, Ava, runs upstairs for a few minutes.  Matt, her dad, rushes home and what follows is heart wrenching as they search for their daughter, try to cope and find out what happened.  A year later, Matt persuades Ava to attend their neighbors housewarming party.  Tiny secrets and behaviors observed at the party don’t add up.  Matt and Ava are forced to consider their best friends and neighbors may know more than they are saying about the day Abi disappeared.

I didn’t love or hate this book.  Pretty much middle of the road.  It has some great parts, a few twists, but I felt it dragged on and was repetitive.  I would still recommend checking it out.  It is definitely a different topic from any thriller I’ve read before
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This was my first time reading work from this author and it was such a treat.
I found The Housewarming to be a slow build but needed to be to absorb us into the life of the young couple at the centre of this story.
Try to imagine your child vanishing into thin air, disappearing without a trace.
The hurt and the pain of losing your child. Now imagine if it was your fault, the child disappeared because of something you did or did not do. 
The guilt alone would eat you up.
We meet Matt and his wife Ava in this story. Ava is upstairs in their home one day while her daughter Abi sits in her buggy downstairs. Ava gets slightly distracted with her phone and when she comes back downstairs, the front door is open and her daughter has disappeared.
The police are called, searches ensue but to no avail. Abi has vanished without anyone noticing.
Both Matt and Ava are devastated and deal with their loss differently. Ava can't believe she would have left the front door open but what other explanation is there....
She questions everything around her including why their friends and neighbours Neil & Bella are distant all of a sudden. Are they hiding something?
Suddenly her marriage is in trouble. 
Lies are being told and Ava must hold it together to try piece together all the little snipets she hears and sees and find out what happened to her beautiful daughter on that fateful day...
It's a shocking read, completely absorbing and you won't want to leave it down until you discover what really happened.. 
Well worth your time 💕
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This was the most harrowing and painful book I have read in a long time! Every single feeling that Matt and Ava feel caused me to feel their pain in my heart!
When 2 year old Abi disappears after mum Ava leaves her strapped in her pushchair, Ava falls to pieces! Not knowing what happened has meant she has no closure. When she finds out something a year later at a party - she spirals into a frenzy of suspicions, accusations and even more pain! I can’t say I enjoyed it - because it was terribly sad and tragic, but it was brilliantly written, as always and even after the book has finished I am left with an anxiety and sadness as if I were living on that street! That is a rare talent!
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Ava left Abi in her pushchair, all was quiet so she grabbed a few moments to herself. When she came downstairs the door was open & Abi was gone! She'd never been able to undo the clip before. Where could she have gone? Frantic with worry, Ava gets in touch with Matt, her husband & goes searching. Soon the whole neighbourhood is involved. Where could the two year old have got to? A year on. Matt & Ava have another baby, but the disappearance of Abi is still all consuming. Ava no longer socialises. They no longer see their close friends. When the next door neighbours hold a housewarming party Ava is persuaded to go.  The party sparks a memory- can they finally find out what became of Abi?

I am a big fan of S. E. Lynes's books, I found this rather slow going at times, which is why I couldn't give it five stars. However once it got going it was a breakneck ride to the end. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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A good and interesting read!

I would recommend this to everyone who loves a good story with captivating characters! Definitely a good read!
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I really don't like sharing Publisher's synopsis because I feel as if a lot of times they give away what the reader should really experience for themselves. The synopsis for this book gives enough, yet, doesn't spoil it for anyone.

Ava's world is rocked when she finds her front door open and her two-year-old daughter, Abi, is nowhere to be seen. What would that feel like? I have had this feeling without a front door open, yet, I found my child under his bed asleep between the dust ruffle and the wall after 40 minutes of frantically searching on my own and then calling the cops where they knew exactly where to look for him. Mind you, I looked under his bed, He was just covered by the dust ruffle it was a nightmare, one that when I started reading this book slammed me to the floor and sucked me dry all over again.

The Housewarming is full of twists and turns, heartbreak and more heartbreak and yet the love of friends old and new don't let you down until... well until it does.

Ms. Lynes does a masterful job of telling Ava and Matt's story, their friendship with Matt's oldest friend Neil and his wife Belle, and the neighbor who tries to help Ava move on over a year from her grief of never knowing what happened to Abi.

I didn't see the book arc even when it was coming, I just didn't see it. Which is to be said the perfect way to create a psychological thriller.

My one complaint is that on the cover of The Housewarming it says that this book is "unputdownable" and yet, I had to gather up my emotions again and again so I step away for an hour or two before I could go back to reading. Because of this claim I had high expectations and about 30% in I lost a bit of focus as the story moved a little slower than the rest of the book, or maybe, just maybe, it was my shared grief with Ava that made the reading slower, I am not sure. I will let you make that decision. If you read this book and agree with me let me know. If you don't agree with me, I'd like to hear that too if you'd be so kind. 😉

The lesson that I learned from this book is we can never underestimate the growing abilities of a toddler so we have to watch them like a hawk does a mouse: every second of their waking moments, which makes for a very tired and distractible mommy. Also, honesty is everything!

S.E. Lynes's The Housewarming is a cautionary tale of the cost to family and friends when you hold secrets, and tell a year worth of lies...
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An incredible read.
Not only is this an entertaining and totally engrossing psychological read, it is emotionally intelligent, conveying line after line the horror and panic of a mother whose child suddenly disappears. The depth of emotion experienced by Abi's Mum Ava, her husband Matt, neighbours Neil and Bella Johnson and other neighbour Jen is rich, diverse and utterly compelling. I literally held my breath for Ava, running around the streets of Riverside Drive, desperate and terrified to locate 2 year old Abi having discovered the front door open and the buggy empty. I had physiological symptoms of racing heart and nausea, connecting immediately with grief stricken Ava, and my affinity with her simply deepened as the story unfolds.
We meet Ava one year after the events of that fateful early September morning but frequently travel back to the day itself. The power of the past, present and future colliding, of the way in which grief builds and rips apart what once was, hits the reader from the outset. I thoroughly enjoyed the switches in time, back and forth and I liked the use of multiple narrators, hearing from Matt, and later on others too.
The sense of not knowing whether your missing child is actually dead rather than simply presumed dead, or whether she has been snatched and is living a different life elsewhere is all consuming and written about so compassionately by SE Lynes. The trying to continue with life, keep a marriage surviving and exist through the pain to live day to day and yet all the while the events of one day are circulating endlessly in your head, over and over and over, leaps of the page in a word or two. A torture no parent ever wants to endure.
The plot is tight, fast paced and written to hold on to every reader in a vice like grip whilst remaining sensitive and intuitive. This is what makes the book so readable, because every character, their actions, motivations, and relationships with one another are minutely observed and you feel as if you too live in the same road, part of the community who should have been able to help Abi but who ultimately failed to do so because of the way in which we become way too absorbed in our own little pockets of life.
Friendships will be tested and many tears shed as Jen and Johnnie's housewarming party acts as a catalyst for some shocking revelations which eventually bring to light some inconsistencies that are very hard to face.
I will not write any more for fear of spoiling the plot and undermining some HUGE twists. They left me open mouthed and incredulous at how clever this plot is. Not only does the final section of the book leave one gasping, the truths also get you thinking about human behaviour and for me that is what makes a good book GREAT.
Thank you to the publishers, the truly magnificent Bookoutre, the author and Netgalley for a read I will not be forgetting in a hurry.
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If there’s one thing that Susie Lynes does really well, it’s domestic noir, and with her latest offering, The Housewarming, she just proves that she’s getting better and better at it!

The morning that Ava Atkins straps two-year-old Abi into her stroller, parking her at the bottom of the stairs before running upstairs to gather up some laundry, starts as mundanely as any other. As Ava hurriedly goes about her business, she listens out to hear if Abi is starting to fuss, and not hearing anything, decides to take a quick loo break (which mom doesn’t understand the utter relief of an undisturbed wee when there’s a busy toddler in the house?), during which she may have snuck a quick look at Facebook on her phone because … well, who doesn’t? She then dashes downstairs and to her horror, discovers that the stroller is empty! Abi is nowhere to be seen and worst of all: the front door is open!

How is this even possible? She couldn’t have been upstairs for more than 5 or 10 minutes (maybe 15 at the most), and anyway, Abi doesn’t even know how to unstrap herself from her stroller, does she? And Ava is absolutely sure she’d locked the front door as she always does, or actually … had she done it before rushing upstairs for that laundry? She remembers being a bit distracted, so did she lock the door before heading up those stairs? Or did her husband Matt lock it? Wasn’t he supposed to do that? These are the the thoughts that repeatedly haunt Ava throughout that day as the search for little Abi begins. They’re to become like a mantra to her, drumming through her head throughout the 12 months that follow, because Abi has disappeared into thin air!

A year later, wealthy neighbours The Lovegoods, invite everyone in the street to their housewarming party. Their lengthy renovation is finally finished and they want to welcome everyone to their brand spanking new, sparkly home, now that it’s finally complete (and because they’re a bit showy offy)! Ava is adamant that she isn’t going to the party. Firstly because she still cannot bring herself to be anywhere close to anything considered celebratory, and secondly because she doesn’t want to be with all the people who live in such close proximity to her and who have been witness to her tragedy and continued misery.

Matt however, is convinced that getting out to a gathering with people who know and understand her will be a ‘soft landing’ as a first social outing, and talks her into going. He tells her that they won’t have to stay long. And so … off they go. And of course, it’s at this party where Ava overhears a throwaway remark that brinks the entire previous 12 months into sharp focus and she realises that the people closest to her are the exact ones she should be with if she wants to find out what happened to Abi.

Oh my word! I couldn’t put this down. It’s gut-wrenching, heart-breaking and altogether quite devastating. How well do people really know the people who live around them? Do people look further than the facades that people display to discover what’s behind them, and why they feel they need to disguise who they are? This is a well constructed commentary on community and the shelters that groups create for themselves. We hope that we are settled in safe havens and that we have created comfort zones for ourselves and our families but what happens when those foundations we hope we’ve established are shaken?

This is a 5 star read that I highly recommend. It’s a slow burner that I wouldn’t describe as a thriller as such, but probably more in the suspense category.
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Such a sad book but what else could the subject matter be? It really is a clever very well crafted story and one that makes you question what you might have done in similar circumstances. 
I would have given four and a half stars if I could because my only small complaint is that I felt there was some slowing of the pace in places but this is a book I highly recommend. This is the second book by SE Lynes I have read and I will look out for her work in the future as she is such an intelligent author.
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Toddler Abi is missing from her house.  Where is she? Did she wander off? Did someone take her? A year later and Abi’s mother, Ava, can’t move on. Needs to know what happened to her baby girl.  

The next door neighbor, The Lovegoods, have remodeled their home and are having a huge housewarming party.  Ava’s husband, Matt, has convinced her to go and afterwards has Ava questioning events surrounding Abi’s disappearance.  This book really accelerates towards the last quarter of the book with twists and turns that made my eyes go wide and say....”OMG! What?”

S.E. Lynes is a new author to me and I’m definitely interested in reading more of her books! I’m really enjoying quick psychological suspense books right now. Thank you Netgalley, Bookouture and S.E. Lynes for a digital ARC of The Housewarming in exchange for an honest review.  #TheHousewarming #NetGalley
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Complex and complicated story of a child who goes missing and how the mother coped in the aftermath. No happy ending but a resolution. A difficult read.
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Thank you so much for access to this ARC! 

I cannot imagine what this poor mother has been through and honestly how she continues to move forward each day. However, I found this book to be very repetitive, so much so that it lost my interest. I also did find it hard to understand what was past and what was current.

I will continue to be a SE Lynes fan and look forward to loving the next book!
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A fantastic read. A missing child. A little girl who disappears without a single sighting or clue what happened.  Her devastated parents have no closure. A story of guilt, secrets, lies and love. Absolutely gripping with the most stunning conclusion that has you still thinking about the story long after you have finished.
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So heartbreaking! The Housewarming cleverly portrays a mother's worst nightmare and had me sit up late into the night to finish the book.

Ava is still grieving the disappearance of her daughter, Abi, a year ago. Attending the neighbor's housewarming party is the last thing she wants to do, but she still goes heeding, the advice of her husband and her friends. But at the party, she learns the one tiny detail that changes everything she thought she knew about Abi's disappearance. Who can you trust?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.
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