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The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – Louise Candlish

By Cleopatralovesbooks @cleo_bannister
Contemporary Fiction  5*'s

Contemporary Fiction

If like me you believe the adage ‘You never know what goes on behind closed doors’, but still long too, you’ll love this book.

When Joe and Christy Davenport move into the house of their dreams in Lime Grove they feel that they have fallen on their feet. The house was an absolute bargain and although it will take a while to furnish they are undaunted. When in quick succession two of the neighbours are less than welcoming Christy becomes convinced that their predecessors Jeremy and Amber Fraser had left for sinister reasons a fact only emphasised by the fact that they left no forwarding address.

Amber Fraser narrates the alternate chapters to Christy as she reveals what happened to her when they moved in just under a year previously. Amber has also fallen on her feet, at home while her older husband goes about his business as a CEO. Money is no problem for the Fraser’s and the house is renovated within in an inch of its life as Amber manages the interior decorator from afar and imaging the children she will produce to fill the house.

While Christy in the present is determinedly carrying out her detective work to find out about her predecessor, Amber’s sections give us her ‘confession’ which as she states:

Of course I don’t mean in the religious state sense, or even the criminal one, but it occurs to me that if I were unlucky enough to be on the plane that crashed, the boat that overturned, the taxi struck by lightning, then there should be an account of the truth available. God knows Jeremy couldn’t be expected to give it. Sometimes I think he’s forgotten what the truth is, so committed is he to believing our lies.

So the beauty for the reader is that Amber gives us the information that Christy longs to find out, which gives the reader a view inside both women’s lives.

This is a book that covers themes of greed, anxiety and adultery along with the absolute truth that while the residents of this desirable postcode in the outskirts of London may appear to have it all, what goes on behind these particularly smartly painted closed doors is not quite what you’d expect. There is a massive preoccupation of the residents to be seen to be successful, and to do that then perhaps the face presented to the rest of the world is at best a twist of the truth, and at worst a big fat lie. It won’t escape any reader to find that neither of our narrators is really satisfied with their lives both yearning for something more to complete them, but at what price?
This book made for compelling reading, I longed to know what the secret was and the writing style which is edged with humour, especially Amber’s narration, made for more than a few wry smiles along the way making this a thoroughly satisfying read;

Though pretty enough, she had the most hectic-looking haircut I’d ever seen – it was if it had been scribbled on her head by Quentin Blake – and make-up so poorly applied I wondered if she’d handed crayons to her sons and given them free rein.

This is a meaty book coming in at 500 pages but it didn’t seem like it, and due to a combination of only receiving it a couple of days before Lovereading, who provided me with my copy. wanted the review, and a spare day, meant that I settled down and let myself be drawn into the world of these two women. I liked the fact that they were in their thirties, old enough to realize the mistakes they were making, if seemingly unable or unwilling to put them right but still coming across in the main part as sympathetic characters. This is a story that is told in an entertaining way so that I was able to indulge myself while feeling like a voyeur on their lives.

I can’t believe I haven’t come across this author before, but this is her eleventh book, guess who’s books will be being rapidly added to my wishlist/TBR.

This is a book which is absolutely ideal for a holiday read and I will be recommending it far and wide, once it is published by Penguin on 21 May 2015.

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – Louise Candlish

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