The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is an absorbing, mysterious story of scandal and secrets in affluent ‘Lime Park Road’.
Welcome to Lime Park Road. A picture-perfect street with a secret at its heart.
When Joe and Christy Davenport step behind the Oxford Blue painted door of their ‘for ever’ home, they believe their dreams have come true.
Yet the boxes aren’t even unpacked before a series of events leads Christy to become obsessed with the previous occupant, the glamorous, enigmatic Amber Fraser, whose departure from Lime Park Road is shrouded in mystery.
What happened to her? And why are Joe and Christy’s attempts at friendship with neighbours met with an unnerving silence?
As Christy unravels the shocking truth about the Frasers and the place she now calls home, she discovers that behind the closed doors of even the most desirable postcodes, terrible secrets lurk.
The story can be quite uncomfortable to read at times as it explores some difficult themes, but I feel like they’re dealt with well and prompts the reader to think (I don’t want to give any more specific details in case I give anything away) about the effect and ramifications it can have on not just that person and their family, but on everyone in the street!
Louise Candlish manages to create a strong air of mystery and at times the atmosphere really seems quite threatening and eerie! I could really imagine what it was like for Christy and Joe, excited about their new house but moving into that strange, odd atmosphere, and Amber, being Queen Bee with a beautiful house and adoring husband Jeremy and yet STILL not being satisfied with her life
The narrative switches between popular vixen Amber and homely, eager-to-please Christy, presenting each of their stories. It’s really interesting to read about the completely different experiences they both had of Lime Park Road, and how certain characters had changed so much between Amber and Jeremy moving out and a Christy and Joe moving in, but despite this I occasionally forgot which of the two main characters were speaking at the time! Although the characters are very different, they were obviously both living in the same house with their husbands, no kids, on the same street, surrounded by the same people, so at times I had to mentally remind myself who was speaking. This only added to the slightly bewildering atmosphere that Christy must have been experiencing!
The novel was fairly long at 512 pages and that gave me time to really become immersed in it. I felt like my experience of the story was split into 3 parts really: the beginning really intrigued me and I was anticipating what might happen later on, the middle felt a tiny bit ‘samey’ at times (but only SLIGHTLY, mind) and then the last third I really couldn’t put down! Candlish slowly revealed more and more of what the ‘scandal’ might have been, so as a reader I slowly pieced together what might have happened but wasn’t sure of certain details until the end! It really kept me hooked.
Reading The Sudden Departure of the Frasers really makes you consider what is really important in your ‘perfect house’, as well as the way that seemingly ‘perfect’ people can have some dark secrets! I’m really surprised that I haven’t read anything by this author before as she has written various novels, but I hope to read more in the future! I’d definitely recommend it.
‘The Sudden Departure of the Frasers’ is out in paperback on May 21st.
Many thanks for the publisher who provided a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.