Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher: Penguin

Summary:   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.

This began as such a promising story. From the title to the opening chapters, I longed as much as one of the POV characters what had happened that was so big people have packed up and moved out of this tony London neighborhood virtually overnight and that leaves the rest of the street silent and cool to the point of shunning toward newcomers? This is a great set up and I couldn't wait to get into it. Dirty deeds under a glittering and lush facade? I'm all about that.

Amber was several types of awful and Christy was obsessive and needy. While I could see why Christy obsessed about the Frasers (bored and out of work), I never did empathize with Amber's actions. She was completely mercenary and without conscience. She was interesting to a point but in the final analysis, she didn't amount to much. I won't say what the secrets about the Frasers sudden departure but suffice it to say, it's not anything you haven't seen before and ultimately doesn't play out in a way that you haven't read before. One neat turn though was that by book's end, I still liked the husbands and felt a bit sorry for them (okay, very sorry for one of them).

Also, this story could have culled about 100 pages and have made for a more tense read. Neither Christy nor the reader gets any real information on the titular duo until those last 80 or so pages, so it's just more going round on the carousel to nowhere for the long middle of the book. It's drawn out to no plot worthy purpose but I did stick with it because I didn't want to miss anything that might be a clue or important. Candlish succeeds in making this a compulsive read but fails a bit at the pay off department in the end.

This is my second book by Candlish and I'd definitely read another. Recommended if you need something for vacay. It's utterly readable if you've a lot of time to laze about and want something kinda juicy.

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