Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – Louise Candlish

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 realise 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 tenth 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.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

41 thoughts on “The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – Louise Candlish

  1. I’ve got a copy of this too; really fancied the premise being a bit nosy! I didn’t know lovereading sent out books to reviewers – that is a very tight schedule though, I could NEVER do it! This review has made the title more appealing – thanks Cleo!


    1. It was incredibly tight and luckily it was a great book – doesn’t help that I live in the CI and post is slow. I really felt like was indulging myself reading this one – I’m so nosey and so I enjoyed the peek behind the blinds 😉


  2. Oh, this sounds like a good ‘un, Cleo. It is a little long for my usual fare, I’ll admit. But there are books that just don’t seem as long as they are. And the premise sounds so intriguing! Thanks for sharing, and I’m glad you liked it.


  3. Great review. Another one from you that increases my tbr stack. Funny isn’t it, the way we suddenly ‘find’ an author and realize that their body of work almost passed us by.


  4. Hi Cleo,

    Great speed written review and congratulations on the marathon reading session, neither of which I would have been abke to achieve for certain!

    I have never read any of Louise Candlish’s books, although I am familiar with her name. The premise is quite intriguing, also the concept of the two women sharing the narrative between them. I may not be adding this to my immediate reading list, but it is definitely one to bear in mind for the future, so thanks for the recommendation 🙂



    1. I have to confess my review for Lovereading was shorter but it was a great excuse for a marathon reading session – very lucky I had the time!! If you ever do get to pick this one up, I hope you enjoy it. 🙂


    1. It was a brilliant read, the right ratio of darkness to light to make for a really entertaining read. I have a copy of The Disappearance of Emily Marr to read soon. Louise Candlish thought that would be the one that I’d enjoy the most based on this review, and she should know… I do hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.


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