Cover Image: The House Fire

The House Fire

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Member Reviews

The complicated characters in this book kept me guessing throughout, trying to work out who were the good guys. Just when I thought I had worked it all out there was a neat little twist or two at the end to surprise me! Gripping, chilling and a good sum up of difficult relationships.
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Rating:  2.3/5

Having missed out on Rosie Walker's debut novel, "Secrets of a Serial Killer", which received overwhelmingly favourable feedback, I was keen to get my hands on her second offering as soon as I could.

"The House Fire" opens very strongly with an impactful and disturbing prologue that really whetted my appetite and had me relishing the prospect of what was to come.  Unfortunately, although it has its moments, the remainder of the novel didn't consistently deliver on the promise of its opening salvo.  

Although this is pitched as a thriller built around a series of unsolved arson attacks, the theme of coercive behaviour is at least equally prevalent in the storyline.  Given the brevity of these topics I was surprised that, stylistically, significant portions of the book struck me as reminiscent of young adult fiction.  The effect of this being that, in spite of the novel's general readability, there were too few occasions when I felt a genuine sense of menace or foreboding building.

This is certainly far from being a bad book, and it is an enjoyable enough way to spend a few hours, but after such an impressive opening, I felt it had the potential to be something much better.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying an ARC in return for an honest review.
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When you put heat, fuel and oxygen together, you get a flame. Given enough time and enough of the three ingredients, a house can be burned to the ground. Author Rosie Walker fuels the house fire in this book by three ingredients, too; lies, manipulation and control. Will there be enough oxygen (hidden secrets) to completely destroy Ant and Ella’s home? 

Using three unreliable narrators, Jamie, Cleo and the arsonist, Walker highlights coercive and controlling behaviour and explores how difficult it is to identify and prove. 

The star for me was not the characters nor the plot, but the use of tension. It was well implemented in this narrative. I could feel the tension in the forest as Cleo waited for Lucasz, the tension in the kitchen as Ant prepared the pheasant dinner, and the tension as Jamie’s documentary took on a life of its own. The same as friction is essential in lighting a fire by match, tension is essential in lighting this family on fire. I could clearly see the author’s parallel. Although I skimmed over Cleo’s teenage angst, it was accurately portrayed. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate it until closer to the end. 

Readers may be tempted to throw in the towel in the first few chapters as there are many characters to keep straight and time hops/flashbacks to deal with. However, like a slow burning fire, this narrative gains energy and builds to an explosive ending. I realized that I didn’t have to like the characters, didn’t have to become too invested in Cleo’s drama, nor like the ending to appreciate the mystery in this book. It was compelling, had twists I didn’t see coming and was an eye-opening, thought-provoking domestic thriller. 

Publishes January 6, 2022.

I was gifted this advance copy by Rosie Walker, Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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This is a brilliant read.  I read it so quickly as I really needed to know where it was going and how it ended. This is one of those books where you start out with one view of the story and the characters but by the end this will have all be turned on its head!  I will say no more as I don’t want to spoil it but it should be on everyone’s new year’s read list.
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Ella and Ant marry after a whirlwind romance. Everyone thinks they are the ideal couple, a charismatic pairing.  That is apart from Cleo, Ella’s younger daughter from her first marriage.  She suspects there is something not quite right about Ant, and takes against him with a vengeance.  Jamie, Ella’s eldest daughter, thinks that Cleo is just be a teenager, that she is jealous because of Ant coming into her mum’s life.  Cleo makes it her mission to prove that Ant is not the perfect husband he portrays, and we follow the story with each chapter being from the perspective of either Cleo or Jamie, with an occasional chapter voicing the Arsonist’s thoughts.

The storyline included coercive control, domestic abuse, bulimia/anorexia, betrayals and more, but was not preachy or rushed, just  well written.

I loved this book, with my thoughts vacillating between who to believe.  The ending came as a complete surprise, there was no indication of the outcome.

Thank you NetGalley.
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Unfortunately I really struggled with this book. It started off well but I found myself losing interest about 30% in and after that just couldn't stick with it.
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My first Rosie Walker novel but certainly not my last..
The House Fire starts of slowly but picks up pace and keeps you page turning as we get to know the characters.

Sisters Jamie and Cleo are not happy with Ant the new husband of their Mum and fear he may in some way be a controlling and manipulative person.
Cleo especially wants to get him out of their lives as the close relationship she had with her Mum is no longer there.

Jamie is looking for a new purpose in life so she and her boyfriend team up and decide to investigate and make a documentary about a series of arson cases that happened back in 1980's and remain unsolved.

There are plenty of twists to keep you guessing, great characterization and a well plotted storyline. Really enjoyed it. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and One More Chapter for an ARC for my honest review.
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Firstly I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of the Ebook in exchange for my honest review.

WOW!! I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, with the title I expected it to be, well about a house fire. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This book was incredible, from the prologue to the end. I was hooked from the start, captivated and captured by the amazing plot and stupendous characters.

The story follows the two main characters – sisters Cleo and Jamie while they are on there Somerset missions to uncover something, when suddenly there missions collide and they think they have found a revelation.

BUT the biggest shock is how INCREDIBLY wrong they were.

The characters in this book, were written perfectly. They were all life-like and likeable. The writing was so POWERFUL – I felt like I was there stood side by side with the characters. I felt every pain, every emotion and every heart ache like I was dealing with it myself.

… and the twist at the end!! O M G – I did not see that coming, and I highly doubt you will either!! It came from nowhere and was one of the most shocking revelations I have come across.

Guys, This is a MUST read!!! Go and pre-order your copy today.
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This is an intriguing book, and I did not really know how I felt about the story and the characters in the beginning. I felt like an outsider lurking behind the scenes, spying on them from the outside. I don't think I actually grew to like the characters, because these poor people are damaged, and hard to love. I did however grow into liking the story when I started to understand the motives and strengths behind the people.

I found this story to be a bit different, not the burning down houses, family problems, or quirky teenagers, but as a whole it gives a very strong description of people with single issues on their minds, not bothered about others, while hiding things from everyone else. The ending was quite sad and I found it to be a good thing. Not every story has a happy ending.
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Cleo’s mums has got married again after a short relationship to Ant. Cleo feels something is not right about him and after seeing her mum flinch when he gets near her. Cleo thinks that he is manipulative and wants everything his own way and wants her and sister Jamie out of the way.
Jamie is making a documentary investigation about a serious of Arsons that happened in her hometown in the 1980’s. But what she discovers doesn’t bode well with her family, especially Cleo who thinks that Ant is the Arsonist from years ago and she tries everything to find out the truth.
Thank you Harper One more chapter for a copy of The House Fire by Rosie Walker. This had an intriguing story line, and I could wait to get stuck in. But unfortunately, though I struggled with this. I found the story to be disjointed and didn’t quite come together to make a solid storyline and the ending quite flat. Three stars from me.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter for an advance copy of The House Fire, a stand-alone psychological thriller set in The fictional North Yorkshire town of Abbeywick.

Jamie is starting her fledgling documentary making career with an investigation into a series of unsolved arsons in Abbeywick in the 1980s, but her interest catches the attention of the arsonist and the fires start again. Meanwhile her fourteen year old sister, Cleo, is rebelling against her mother’s new husband and determined to prove that he is a coercive partner.

The House Fire is not for me and I struggled to get through it. Despite the synopsis much of the book concentrates on Cleo, with Jamie and the unnamed arsonist contributing from time to time, so, being 59, I have no connection with a bratty 14 year old. To be fair, she is obviously correct, but she doesn’t have the sophistication or tools to present a reasoned case and all the strife is simply wearing and not what I want to read. Nevertheless I did feel sorry for her.

The novel is slow to start in terms of action. The first present day fire doesn’t take place until 30% in, so up till then it’s all about scene setting, if you discount Cleo’s strife. It heats up, literally, in the final 40%, producing danger for the girls, palpable tension and some good twists. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t really get the conclusion, perhaps because I was skim reading by that point, but even after a re-read it seems a bit muddled.

The House Fire is a novel about perception and interpretation. I imagine that it will appeal to either a younger audience who can remember the angst of their teenage years or those readers who enjoy the cat and mouse game of finding the liar. Sadly I’m not in either group and that’s a shame as the novel is well done.
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Jamie and Cleo's mum is remarrying.  Cleo has a deep loathing for her new stepfather who she doesn't trust.  It becomes obvious very early on there is domestic abuse (more mental ).

Jamie and her friend discover a derelict mansion in the wood.  It holds secrets and a dark story.
Meanwhile, Jamie is making a documentary into a series of arson attacks that happened in Abbeywick in the 80's.  However, it would seem that the arsonist has started up again. As Jamie delves deeper, Cleo wonders if she has found the link that will remove her evil stepfather from all of their lives.

I read this book so quickly.  I really enjoyed the concept and loved the different twists the author added to the story.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to see an ARC
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Another compelling read. I read this book in one sitting I HAD TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!!. Misdirection and tension and suspense in equal measures. Constantly holding my breath and changing my mind on who the arsonist was and I still got it wrong. Almost five stars. 
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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"Play with fire and you are going to get burned ....... " 

I can not lie, I am a sucker for a cool cover and this one roped me right in. This is my first novel by Rosie Walker, but she does have another book out called "Secrets of a Serial Killer" that I bought the second I finished this one@ 

They say don't judge a book by its cover but I can promise you, the cool cover is just the start of this incredible book! 

Filled with twists and turns you will never see coming, I cant even begin to prepare you for this mind-bending thriller! 

Due out January 6, 2022, this needs to be on everyone's pre-order list! This is a book I will not be able to stop talking about. FIVE STARS!
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The House Fire honestly surprised me. I thought I had figured out all the twists/reveals and I definitely had not. It was really nice to reach the end of a thriller and still be genuinely surprised. The main story focuses on Jaime, her family, and her passion project, which is a documentary investigating decades old arson attacks. The story is told from three POVs - Jamie, her sister Cleo, and "the arsonist." Through these mostly unreliable narrators, the reader tries to figure out who is a liar, who is a manipulator, who is controlling whom, and who is in need of help. Throughout various points in the book, I found myself rooting for different characters. There were parts of the story that were a bit slow, but overall, I really enjoyed it. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery/thriller. 

There are some scenes depicting animal deaths, which can be upsetting for readers.
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Cleo doesn't like her mom's new husband Ant. There's something up with him...something wrong. She and her b best friend are on a mission to prove it when they happen to find an abandoned burnt down home in the middle of the woods. This fire-damaged home ties into Jamie and her boyfriend's  documentary project that is focusing on local arson and a death many years ago. The book is told from several points of view including the arsonist.  Can Cleo prove Ant is up to no good? Who has started burning buildings again in town? Who lived in the abandoned house in the woods and have they returned?

Unusually great perspectives - loved the premise and the plot. Normally I get tired of the teenager point of view but I was sucked into Cleo's problems and read through this book as quickly as I could. I did not guess the ending and I do feel like it was a bit contrived. However, the story itself and the situations were thrilling and tense - a great book for those who like thrillers from multiple points of view. #NetGalley #TheHouseFire
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Multi Layered Suspense…
Will the truth emerge? If so, who will get burned in the process? A slow burn, multi layered, edgy suspense narrated from multi perspectives with a well crafted cast of characters and a compelling plotline. Will keep the reader engaged from the off with surprises along the way. A compelling read.
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Really struggled with this. The premise sounded like my kind of story but I couldn’t get into it. It was too slow for me and I was having trouble with the constant jumping around of points and views and timelines.

Sorry I didn’t enjoy it more., I feel I am in the minority here.
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It took me a couple of attempts to get into this book. It starts with a bang and then seems to really tail off and dramatically slow down. This meant I struggled to have any interest really and gave up on the story to go read other books quite quickly. It literally couldnt keep my attention for anything over 3 pages but I did keep coming back to this and I am glad I did because once it gets going, it is a pretty decent book!! Its quite a tangled Web that's woven, the 3 character perspectives are so distinct and separate so that was awesome and made the whole thing more realistic and fascinating. It did get under my skin enough for me to actually care about the characters which was nice and once I'd gotten to that point, I couldnt put it down. It's worth sticking with it, even if you do struggle a bit with the initial slow opening pace of the story.
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Tense chilling was drawn in from first pages .I sat up reading late into the night.Characters that come alive addin fire so many twists and turns.Will be following this author,
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