Thursday 29 October 2020

The Housewarming by SE Lynes BLOG TOUR @SELynesAuthor @bookouture #BooksOnTour #TheHousewarming #BookReview


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…

The Housewarming by SE Lynes was published by Bookouture on 21 October 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, and invited me to review for this Blog Tour.

There are some authors who I just cannot resist, and SE Lynes is one of them. Every time I review her books, I say that this one is my favourite. She gets better and better and better. Once again, her latest novel has become my favourite.  I devoured this intelligent and sensitively written dramatic story  of family and community in two sittings. 

The story opens one year after two-year old Abi disappeared and is narrated by her mother Ava. This is a poignant and increasingly difficult narrative to read, the author gets right to the heart of Ava's pain and despair. Little Abi's body has never been found and Ava and her husband Matt are stuck in limbo. To grieve her death is to admit that she's dead, but the ever disappearing hope of seeing their baby again is just so painful. 
Ava relives that awful night and the following days constantly. Whilst I have never been in Ava's position, I have no children, I have not lost a child. I did lose my oldest friend to cancer a couple of years ago, and like Ava, I relived my final hours with Rachel, over and over. The absolute reality of grief is portrayed beautifully in this book, it is breathtaking in its authenticity.

The story is also narrated by Abi's father Matt, and later in the novel we hear the voice of one of their best friends Neil, and one of their neighbours - I love this structure. It's the perfect way to see all sides of a story, allowing the reader to see more than what could be an unreliable narration.

Whilst this is absolutely a thriller, it has so much more than that. It's a complex and in-depth look at relationships, and how our childhood experiences can shape our adulthood. It's not just families, though, it is also community, and how those around us can be the kindest, but also the most aloof. 

The Housewarming is beautifully and elegantly written. The author drops tiny hints throughout her story, and the reader will assume that they know the ending, but I very much doubt that they will. 

I lived and breathed this story. I was there, alongside Abi and Matt. I winced as their relationship suffered, I gulped back tears as I read of their self-blame and their constant self-doubt. I wanted to take Abi by the hand and help her, I wanted to feed Matt and help him to mend. 

The finale of the story is utterly heartbreaking, and totally unexpected. I was left feeling as though my heart had shattered into tiny pieces as these characters who had become so real for me realise just what happened to their little girl. The frailties of human kind are laid bare, and the long term damage caused by impetuous and quite selfish acts are laid out starkly.

The Housewarming is a gripping thriller but is also a mediative look at the nature of community and close relationships. 
Her best novel yet, in my opinion and one that I would highly recommend.

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

Facebook S E Lynes Author
Twitter @SELynesAuthor
Instagram @susielynes

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