Hello, people of the internet.
I’m sticking to my New Year’s Resolutions and have finally read a book I got my hands on a year ago. Not that the book itself was putting me off. I mean, look at the cover! I think it’s beautiful. The white and gold are perfect together and contrasts wonderfully with the dark, mysterious storyline. The book also promised a mystery and boy do I love my mysteries!
So, I began to read it last week and right now, as I’m writing this, I’ve just finished it.
Was it worth the read?
Title: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers
Author: Louise Candlish
Published date: May 21st 2015
My name is Amber Fraser. I’ve just moved into number 40, Lime Park Road. You’ll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.
This is a lie.
When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true.
Strange, though, that the house was on the market for such a low price.
That the previous owners renovated the entire property yet moved out within a year.
That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.
As curiosity gives way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house’s former occupants – and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart…
I shall start off by saying this is definitely a character-driven story, especially at the beginning. Not a whole lot happens and so I had to rely on its characters to keep me interested. To be honest, it wasn’t until about 200 pages in that the story began to speed up. The story itself does require this kind of plotting – having too much happening can be far-fetched and may not suit this kind of story – so I can’t fault it there.
Whenever I had to put the book down to work, sleep or do other things, I found myself not strongly wanting to pick the book up again. Personally, it was only the mystery that kept me interested, not the characters. Not that they were written poorly or there weren’t any characters that kept me wanting to continue reading. They did have their distinct personalities and either served to add to the tense atmosphere or move the plot forward. I understand Christy’s obsession with finding out the truth and, when she is made redundant, I felt sorry for her and wanted her to get a job and not worry about money. As for her husband, Joe, I thought he was a perfect match for Christy and they clearly care for one another. I also like Amber’s husband, Jeremy, for his caring personality and I found the mysterious next door neighbour, Rob, to be the most interesting character in the book. However, despite liking these four characters, I couldn’t connect with the rest. I honestly didn’t find Amber that interesting.
As for the plot itself, it was a hit and miss. There were some elements, like the affair between Amber and Rob, that I found unoriginal and uninteresting and I felt some chapters stopped the plot from moving forward. As for the mystery itself, I will not spoil it, but I can’t promise if it will either leave you saying, “Wow! I didn’t expect that!” or “Wait, that’s all? That’s disappointing.” Each reader will think of the reveal differently, either liking it for its unexpectedness or hating it for wasting their time. I can understand both. I feel that the blurb promised something huge and what I got was something shocking and dark, but not huge. I wasn’t disappointed by the reveal personally; it did show the true colours of the characters involved, adding more depth to them, and made me rethink about them. It is hard to discuss whether reveals like this are good or not because I thinl it depends on the reader themselves. For me? It was okay. It certainly didn’t make me regret reading the book in the first place. All I can say is this: it is most definitely dark, but not in a way you might think.
I have to say that the writing in The Sudden Departure of the Frasers was very good. There were very well-written lines and it helped me to get into the story. I found the sections about Christy’s redundancy and Joe’s stressful job to be the best written sections – I felt sorry for them and wanted them to find happiness. The clues to the main mystery, as well as the smaller ones, and the time-switches were also well-written. The way they were written flowed smoothly and the way Louise Candlish used both to explain the origins of certain items and the reasons behind how the characters behaved were very clever. I found myself thinking, “Oh! That explains everything!” a lot. I can’t find anything I feel were out-of-place, but there were sections I think could have been shortened to keep the story going.
I would give The Sudden Departure of the Frasers 3 stars out of 5. It may not always be original, but it is a cleverly-written mystery. If this review made you want to give this book a go, then I recommend you should.
Thank you for reading!