Cover Image: The House Fire

The House Fire

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Member Reviews

Thank you to @ciderwithrosie and @0neMoreChapter_ for this advanced copy of The House Fire in return for an honest review.

Description 🔖

Who would have thought that so many arson attacks could have taken place in one tired old seaside town? And who would have thought that an old Manor House that had fallen victim to one of these fires would remain standing and filled with the belongings of the family that once lived there?

Jamie is making a documentary about the local fires but when her investigation gets a little too close to the truth, she risks putting her own family in danger. However her little sister Cleo is desperate for Jamie to continue on as she believes that what she finds will finally give her what she wants; rid of their toxic new step dad.

Things start to escalate within the family and it’s hard to know what is the truth and what is a lie. However what is clear is that there is no smoke without fire.

General Thoughts 🤔

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I hadn’t read any of the blurb or any reviews so I was going in completely blind to what the storyline was going to be about. Overall I thought it was an entertaining book and I did want to read more the further I got into the story, however it did lack a touch of the excitement I like in a thriller. I didn’t get the edge of my seat feeling, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the story. The fires and the mystery were just one part of it. The sensitive issues that were covered like mental health and abusive relationships were written into the plot really well.

Characters 👭👬👫

The characters were probably what I liked most about this book and there’s a lot to unpack with all of them so I’ll just choose two. I’ll start off with Cleo as although she was the problem child and probably the most dramatic character in the story, I personally thought that she was the most transparent. She was obviously a child crying out for help without the right people around her to provide it. I felt sorry for this teenage girl that needed attention and most importantly, genuine love.

Although Jamie was the older sister, she was the weaker of the two in my opinion. I think that Jamie had strong feelings about some things but felt nervous or anxious about following through on some of those feelings with action. I felt sorry for Jamie in a different way than I did for Cleo and she actually made me feel quite sad towards the end of the book.

Writing Style ✍️

I liked that the story was told from alternating perspectives; Cleo’s and Jamies. It often made me question which of their experiences was the closest to the truth and I found it intriguing to see how they both processed the same events.

As I mentioned, the writing of this story didn’t have me tense and I didn’t feel particularly thrilled, but I did enjoy the unravelling of the story and seeing all of the lies come tumbling out. There was potential to make this book a little more hard hitting and dramatic, but I’m not sure that it needed it or if more importantly, it’s what the author wanted.

Conclusion & Scoring 🎖️

This was a good book to kick off the year with. It wasn’t too intense that I felt overwhelmed but it was engaging enough to keep me turning the pages. I believe that this is the second book this author has written and I will be adding her first to my TBR list. I enjoyed her writing and I look forward to reading more.
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This is my second book by Rosie Walker and I really enjoy her writing style. There’s always an air of suspense and intrigue, and the stories are so well-plotted. As a lover of thrillers, I appreciate when an author keeps me guessing. 

Ms. Walker does a smash up job with The House Fire, creating a creepy atmosphere that offers just the right amount of thrills with a sprinkling of romance and enough tension to keep me turning pages. My one tiny complaint would be the multiple POV in the beginning. It was a bit hard to keep track of but once I had the characters well established in my head, it wasn’t a problem. 

Truly an enjoyable thriller and one that I’ll recommend to fans of the genre! My thanks to @OneMoreChapter and @HarperCollinsUK for this gifted copy for review. Make sure you check out @RosieJaneWalker other books Secrets of A Serial Killer!
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What an enthralling, twisted story. Cleo hates her new step-dad. She makes his life, her Mum's and her sister's untenable. Then deliberate fires, around Abbeywick, start after many many years. Is it a copy-cat arsonist? The end was not at all what I expected.
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Well written and unique way of tackling serious issues,
The book started as one thing and ended as another….but in an intriguing 
I did wonder if YA is more the target audience?
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EXCERPT: I haven't been able to access reports from the post-mortem, so I don't know if the flames touched her. What I do know is smoke is hot. And when it's inhaled, it sears the respiratory tract.

She burned from the inside out, because of me. Because of what I did.

I have to live with that. What surprises me most is that I can.

ABOUT 'THE HOUSE FIRE': A tired old seaside town hiding a series of unsolved arson attacks.

A derelict mansion in the woods with a long-buried secret.

A bundle of old love letters that mask a dark story.

When Jamie's documentary investigation gets too close to uncovering the truth behind a series of deadly arson attacks that tormented Abbeywick in the 1980s, her family might be the ones who pay the price.

But for her younger sister Cleo, the secrets Jamie uncovers have the potential to get exactly what Cleo wants: to remove her mum's toxic new husband from their lives, forever.

All it takes is one spark to send everything up in smoke . . .

MY THOUGHTS: This was a surprising read. I did not enjoy the first 25% at all. It was boring, repetitive and I skimmed pages and pages. I was seriously considering abandoning this read, but then . . . it took off like a rocket and all my reservations were forgotten. I read the remainder of The House Fire in two sittings and had to pick my jaw up from the floor when I finished.

There are a number of issues addressed in this novel, but the author makes it clear at the end that she was showcasing that of coercive abuse. Unfortunately I think that it got tather overshadowed by the arson and the spectacularly bad behaviour of teenager, Cleo, who is at that stage where she is sure that she knows everything and will go to extraordinary lengths to prove herself right. While the motivation behind her actions may have been commendable, her methods of gaining attention left much to be desired.

The characters are mainly quite unlikable, with the exception of Jamie, Chloe's older sister, and Lucasz, Chloe's friend. They are complex and unreliable, all with their own agendas.

The story is told from three points of view, Chloe, Jamie and the arsonist. I am not convinced that the arsonist's point of view added a lot to the story.

While I can't say that I enjoyed The House Fire, it did, in the later parts, become compelling.

⭐⭐⭐.1

#NetGalley

I: @rosiejanewalker @onemorechapterhc

T: @ciderwithrosie @Onemorechapter @HarperCollinsUK

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #mentalhealth #murdermystery #psychologicaldrama

THE AUTHOR: Rosie Walker is a novelist who lives in Edinburgh with her husband Kevin and their dog Bella. Rosie has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Lancaster University.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The House Fire by Rosie Walker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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This book sounded so good to me when I read the synopsis but once I started reading I just couldn’t get into it. I only read a few chapters but it was just to much bouncing around for me and not enough really going on.
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Initially, The House Fire is about incidents of arson in the locality where sisters Jamie and Cleo grew up. Jamie wants to produce documentaries for a living while younger sister Cleo just wants her mum back after. From the outset it’s evident there’s an undercurrent of abuse here, a darker history to the events and an inevitable yet well-disguised connection to the family.

The story is told from three viewpoints: Jamie, Cleo and the arsonist. It quickly makes you question whether the arsonist has returned … and, if so, why? That tenuous thread seems fragile and a little convenient until it grows stronger and bolder and impossible to ignore. And here begins the great suspense: who is the arsonist?

Jamie’s boyfriend, Spider, soon seems to want to spin the tale of the the past fires into a new story, his eyes lighting up as new fires ignite and new victims come to the fore. Cleo, and her best friend Lucasz, are otherwise engaged – Lucacz in his love of historical research and facts after they find letters in an old burnt-out house, and Cleo in her hatred of her new stepfather, Ant, and what she sees as his control over her mother … which she (rightly or wrongly, you’ll have to read for yourself) means he wants her, Cleo, out of the family home as soon as possible.

Pace-wise, it’s a slow-burner (pardon the pun) but it quickly builds to a more suspenseful tale particularly when Jamie finds gets threats that are soon followed by an incident that sees her hospitalised.

The twist in the tale is well delivered albeit open-ended, leaving the reader to ponder how things might develop from there. Trust me, the possibilities are quite worrying.

I imagined at first that Cleo was the main character, and she was for much of the beginning. But, for me, Jamie’s role developed better and stay firmer … maybe I just prefer a peace-maker to a rebel, though I doubt that. I guess it’s mor because Cleo’s outbursts are quite over-the-top at times and requires a suspension of belief that didn’t quite resonate with me.

Jamie had more impact for me in that she was forced to make decisions based less on emotion, though I did wonder whether she’d be strong enough to be as bold as she wanted to be.

Ant, the stepfather, was a conundrum. It was easy to follow Clew’s thoughts on him and see him as the baddie; he certainly didn’t help himself in that respect but ultimately, I did begin to see through Cleo’s exasperated pleas and see another side to Ant, though it wasn’t until near the end that the truth became clear.

I found The House Fire to be a fascinating read that certainly left me thinking one thing before being found to be completely wrong. Thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for the ARC which I’ve reviewed voluntarily.
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Teenager Cleo thinks her mother, Ella, has rushed into a second marriage with a narcissistic man who wants to separate Ella from her friends and family. As Cleo tries to convince others that her new stepfather is evil, her older sister, Jamie, accepts a loan from him to buy camera equipment to make a documentary about a series of arson fires in the 1980's that ended after a woman died in what was thought to be an empty building. Jamie has creative differences with her boyfriend and partner on the project, Spider, especially after new fires are set; Spider wants to focus on the recent fires and try to identify the arsonist, but Jamie wants to continue with the original project. The characters are revealed a bit at a time, leaving lots of room for suspicion in this clever psychological thriller. I thought I had it all figured out more than once but had to keep changing my mind.
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Absolutely gripping and mind-blowing domestic + psychological thriller! 

I am the kind of reader who loves a shocking twist at the end of the story. As I began to read The House Fire, it was pretty clear who the culprit was. This 'suspect' had all the 'traits' of being the bad guy - manipulative, abusive, narcissist, and all the psychological terms used to describe a toxic person. But... what I did not expect was another character with similar traits (revealed in the second half of the story.) Then comes the TWIST. Just when I thought Jamie and Cleo had caught the culprit red-handed... *gulps* 

I read this book in one sitting. I could not put it down until the end. The storytelling is excellent and so is the characterization. The suspense is sure to keep one on the edge of their seat. The ending is mind-blowing! I did not see it coming and the final twist certainly made me say 'What the bloody...!' To be honest, I read the last chapter and the epilogue twice to make sure I read it right. 

If you are looking for a gripping and suspenseful thriller, you might want to give The House Fire by Rosie Walker a try.
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Play with fire, and you might wind up getting burned…

Jamie and her boyfriend are a team of young documentary filmmakers investigating a series of arsons from the 1980s when new fires suddenly begin occurring.  Are the new fires coincidence, or are they linked to the historical, unsolved crimes?  Meanwhile, Jamie and her younger sister Cleo are adjusting to life with their new stepfather Ant, who’s just a little too slick, a little too sly, and a little too controlling of their mom.  Is the timing of their marriage coincidental too?  Could all of the fires and the changes in their family be related?

This book sucked me in from the very first chapter, which is told from the arsonist’s point of view.  The novel alternates perspectives mainly between Jamie and Cleo, with occasional chapters featuring the arsonist.  More than just a thriller, it’s also a family drama and full of psychological suspense that explores themes of manipulation, coercion, and effects of emotional abuse.  

Best of all, this creepy and atmospheric novel kept me guessing – just when I thought I had it figured out, turns out I was wrong.  The characterization is top-notch with many characters having complex intentions.  This novel skews a little YA/New Adult in feel, as Cleo is a teenager and Jamie is in the her 20s, so fans of suspense in those genres will really enjoy this one.

Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, for providing me an advance copy of this book.
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The House Fire by Rosie Walker
Pub Date 6th Jan 2022
Play with fire and you'll get burned . . .
A tired old seaside town hiding a series of unsolved arson attacks.
A derelict mansion in the woods with a long-buried secret.
A bundle of old love letters that mask a dark story. 
When Jamie's documentary investigation gets too close to uncovering the truth behind a series of deadly arson attacks that tormented Abbeywick in the 1980s, her family might be the ones who pay the price. 
But for her younger sister Cleo, the secrets Jamie uncovers have the potential to get exactly what Cleo wants: to remove her mum's toxic new husband from their lives, forever. 
All it takes is one spark to send everything up in smoke . 

I have read Rosie Walker's Secrets Of A Serial Killer, which I really enjoyed and was looking forward to this title as the summary sounded intriguing. 
The House Fire is well written, and the characters are well-devised. It is told from three points of view Jamie, Cleo and the arsonists. The author highlights controlling behaviour, domestic abuse, food disorders and how difficult it is to recognise and verify them. 
It is a well rounded, captivating story; there are many twists and turns to keep you guessing.
I want to thank NetGalley, Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter and author Rosie Walker.
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The house fire is one of the most intense thrillers I’ve ever read. It was a fantastic read and different from many other thriller books that are out there. 

A story told by the point of view from one family. Jamie wants to research a string of arson attacks that took place in her home town many years ago. With the help of her new step dad Ant Jamie soon comes closing to working out who was behind the attacks. 

With the arsonist closer to home than Jamie could ever imagine and watching her every move the closer Jamie gets to solving working out who was behind the attacks the more danger she and her family come into. Recently local arsonist attacks have also started to reoccur. With more attacks happening Jamie begins to wonder whether the arsonist has returned or whether they have a copy cat on their hands. 

What I loved about this particular thriller is that not only have we got an arsonist on our hands there is also suspense, domestic and romance within this book. So there is plenty going on to keep the reader interested. 

All the way through this book I was convinced I knew who was behind all the wrong doings but I was totally wrong and I love it when that happens. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.
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When playing with fire, sometimes, everyone gets burned: the house is on fire which contains a family that is burning from within; a couple whose ambitions are burning is spite of any losses around them; a daughter who will burn everything in her way to get what she wants.  Everything goes up in smoke.

Rosie Walker’s novel is captivating, exciting and mysterious.  The reader will be horrified, yet absorbed, by the unfolding details that make you want to read the entire book at once.  The old fires are thrilling and the new ones titillating.  This book leaves the reader with nuggets about arsonists and emotional about that, hopefully, will stick in their mind to be recovered should the need ever arise.


I received an ARC from Harper Collins/One More Chapter through NetGalley.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.  I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.
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As a retired Fire Officer I didn’t know quite what to expect of this book.

What I got was a great read.

Don’t be fooled by the title. Yes fire, and arson, are a running theme but it’s the story of why the fires are being set that makes this book stand out.

It’s the story of one woman, Jamie, and her partner, Spider, trying to make a TV documentary about a series of fire that hit a town in the 1980’s. It’s about the fire setter starting over again and threatening Jamie and her family.

Jamie’s family also play a central role. Her mothers new husband, a minor TV News reporter, and her young sister just don’t get on. The new husband, is he just too good to be true. The little sister is she just being a teenage brat.

The family dynamics examined in this book are a big part of what makes the story so compelling, and at times chilling.

At times this book seems a bit Nancy Drew, at others it’s very much straight off the pages of Val McDermid, and that blends it into a great psychological thriller .
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In the town of Abbeywick, a series of unsolved arson attacks rocked the community during the 1980’s. When budding documentary filmmaker and Abbeywick resident Jamie starts to investigate years later, she opens up one big can of worms and soon realises she may have bitten off more she can chew. As the saying goes, if you play with fire, you get burned!

The House Fire is my first book from Rosie Walker and was a good introduction to her work. It is dark and intense and had me flipping the pages long into the night. Told from three points of view, one being the arsonist, it is their chapters that I enjoyed the most. The characters are strong and play their roles well and I really enjoyed Walker’s writing which is very engaging. If you are looking for a good thriller to sink your teeth into, I recommend you reading this book.

Thank you to Rosie Walker, One More Chapter and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The House Fire, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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I wanted to enjoy this book, and the blurb held so much promise, but it sadly didn't live up to my expectations. I 
really struggled to like any of the main characters which made it difficult to relate to the situations that they found themselves in. I wanted to like Cleo and believe her, but she was too much of a brat for me to care whether she was right about Ant's treatment of her or not.

The most interesting character to me was the burned out manor house  which gave me chills, reminding me of a derelict farmhouse near my house that my friends and I ventured into once and once only as teenagers. I can still remember the deeply unsettling feelings I experienced there, and this made the book a lot creepier for me than I think it would have been otherwise.
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Never read a book by this author before but it was a good read . I would recommend this author and buy the book .
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Thank you so much for this copy to read!  This book was very different than I thought.  It was more of a domestic thriller than I had anticipated.  Honestly domestic thrillers are not usually books that are on my TBR pile.  The end had a twist I didn’t see coming.  Also, for some reason my kindle didn’t want to hold my page on  the book.  So a few times it interrupted the flow of my reading.  Overall it was an interesting book.
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******UNPOPULAR OPINION*************

The premise and cover is what initially made me request this book as an ARC. So glad this book was free. I just could not get into this as much as I liked the creepy atmosphere for the book, Just did not care what was happening to the characters in the book. After reading predictable thriller after another, this just added the streak. I hope the author's next book is better than this one.

Unfortunately I cannot recommend this but someone else may enjoy this. Thanks to Netgalley, Rosie Walker and Harper Collins UK 1 More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Available: 1/6/22
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After I started to read this book and the narrative it felt like it took a totally different direction than I had expected.  Histrionic arson attacks that happened during the 1980’s in the area of Abbeywick intrigue young couple Jamie and Spider.  The pair decide to film an investigative documentary into the attacks when coincidentally fires start to occur again.  The story then shifts to Jamie’s home life and her younger sister, Cleo’s intense hatred of her new stepfather and her belief that he is emotionally abusing their mother and her determination to prove it at any cost.

The story plods along but I can’t say it really gripped and wasn’t fast enough paced for my liking.  The whole plot comes together in the end in a way I hadn’t anticipated.  The author does a good job covering domestic violence issues and controlling behaviour and how subtly done it can be but I did feel some of her important message got abit lost in places.  By the end of the book characters I thought I liked surprised me by being quite awful really which I feel shows how well the book had been written to hide their flaws so well.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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