Cover Image: The Housewarming

The Housewarming

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Member Reviews

Ava and Matt are an average married couple with an immense difference from the norm: they are desperately trying to carve an existence out of what’s left of their lives after the traumatic disappearance of their two-year-old.   

Ava is unable to cope with the loss of her little girl. The guilt she feels has spooned out her insides and left her a hollow shell. Her all-consuming grief traps her in a painful loop of reliving that day. However, that unforgiving mourning is the key that unravels the piecing together of the events of that tragic day.   

Matt is doing his best to be supportive of Ava while trying to keep himself from crashing. He can’t bear to see her so devastated, empty, fading. But Matt has a fear of his own corroding his insides, that if exposed, will destroy everything he holds dear.  

Attending a neighbor’s housewarming invitation is meant to ease Ava and Matt gently back into socialization with their friends. Instead, the shocking fall-out from that gathering ignites the flame to a powder keg that ultimately explodes, laying bare the smoldering bones of the duplicitous.  

S.E. Lynes delivers a powerful, emotionally-propelled, chilling account of the never-ending nightmare of the loss of a child. By establishing the reader deep into Ava’s mind, Lynes creates an instinctual connection to her overwhelming devastation. From the slow reveal to the final revelation, the reader is in mind-bending, heart-wrenching pursuit. 

I am a fan of S.E. Lynes, and if you aren’t yet, you are missing out on an ingenious and gifted author. 

I highly recommend reading The Housewarming as a 2020 must-read.
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Wow... This read was a sloooow burn with so many emotions I felt by the ending that I really didn’t see coming.  I was left questioning what I would do to protect myself at all costs no matter who I hurt in the process.

Emotional and powerful and at times a little repetitive but overall a great read.  Don’t let the slow start steer you away from this read! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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The Housewarming is a psychological thriller based around the disappearance of two year old Abi. Ava only went upstairs for a few minutes and left her daughter safely strapped into her pushchair. When she returns, the front door is open and the pushchair is empty. 
Despite some very positive reviews, I found the pace of this book far too slow with too much emphasis on every thought going through Ava’s head at the detriment of the storyline.
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More of an emotional family drama, but still excellent 

This author just knows how spin a tale, create characters and set the pace. At the first half this story was repetitive, and some reviewers didn’t care for that, but I thought it gave an excellent dimension to the story. It fleshed out both Ava and Matt and their reasons for their actions. 

There isn’t a lot of action. This is a very slow reveal. The second half (two thirds?) really is where things come to light. Then you get answers and more answers and it’s just horrifying and beyond sad. I will always look for more from this author, highly recommend.

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Bookouture for a copy in exchange for a review.
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The Housewarming is an emotional and twisty mystery. A mother, Ava, leaves her young daughter in her stroller for a few minutes while she runs upstairs. When Ava comes back down, the front door is open and the child is missing.

A year after their daughter goes missing, Ava and her husband Matt attend a neighbor’s housewarming party. Ava does not want to attend, but Matt believes they need to get out and socialize more. During the housewarming, Ava realizes there is more to her daughter’s disappearance than she ever realized.

Told from multiple points of view, including Ava, Matt, and their neighbors. The different viewpoints add to the story, as does the alternating between past and present. While the beginning goes a little slow, the pace does pick up.

The Housewarming is a slow-burning mystery. It combines secrets, lies, and a gut-wrenching loss of a child. Fans of S.E. Lynes other novels are sure to enjoy this one too.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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There is a reason that S.E. Lynes is my absolute go to author - I just LOVE the way she draws the totally human characters who inhabit her books, she manages to make you understand and has you empathising with even the most unlovable ones and utterly bereft and rooting for the goodies.

This is a devastating, heart stopping, thrilling book which will absolutely resonate with any parent. Ava's reaction from the minute that Abi disappeared was brilliantly portrayed - the panic, the desperation, driving herself mad with her brain rerunning events over and over in a loop, self doubt - did actually she fasten the buckle? how can she not have locked the door? Then there was the fall out the heartbreak, the relationships sent into a spiral, the deceit! but who is deceiving who?

A year after the tragic event at the long awaited Housewarming party of the house next door Ava discovers just how wrong she was about the people she held close - So many people putting themselves or the well being of their own family first and totally ignoring the needs of the others.

I can't recommend this book highly enough - do yourself a favour buy this book and make sure you can hide away from everything to read it as you won't be able to put it down.
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The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes is a devastatingly dark and twisty read that tied me up in knots, wringing every emotion from me as I felt every second of Ava’s torment following the disappearance of her small daughter, Abi. The guilt she feels is palpable as she relives every moment of that terrible day over and over again.

The tension builds slowly, with Ava and her husband, Matt, living through every parents worst nightmare. They handle their grief in very different ways, Ava cutting herself off from the world and Matt trying to remain strong, continuing to work and live as normal a life as he can.

But then, a year later, Ava and Matt are invited to the long awaited housewarming party of the Lovegoods, whose house is very close to where Abi went missing. And as the party gets underway, Ava learns something new about the day Abi disappeared. Something that could change everything…

What follows is a dark and suspense filled psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. What really happened to Abi that day? The truth, when it came, completely blindsided me and tore my heart into a million pieces. I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling the story, but oh wow, the writing is so powerful and the story so intense I felt completely drained of all emotion as I turned the final page.

S.E. Lynes is an exquisite writer. She somehow gets inside the head of a grieving parent and transfers all of that raw and devastating emotion on to the page. The Housewarming is a dark, disturbing and utterly heartbreaking psychological thriller that I know will stay with me for a long time to come. It is a strong, powerful and beautifully written character driven story that I honestly can’t recommend highly enough!
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A harrowing subject. A child is missing, presumed dead. Her mother blames herself. The subject of every parent’s nightmare. But is all it seems? A well written and suspenseful book. My only criticism is I found it a little repetitive at the beginning and took a while for the story to get going. However an excellent read
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This book was brilliant! It had me hooked from page one. Each character was relatable which always makes the story flow. I felt sorry for each of them in their own way. Would highly recommend.
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A gripping novel from start to finish, a girl goes missing and her mother never stops thinking about the details of that day.

I love the way this book is written, especially in the chapters from Ava's point of view. It feels fast-paced and immediate when we're in her head. We, the reader, discover things at the same time as Ava, which is a really effective way to portray her emotional and physical reactions to her missing daughter.

There were enough secrets and lies to keep me reading to the end and each played out at the right time. The only issue I had, without giving too much away, was with the series of very samey twists/actions that led to the disappearance of Abi.
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I usually adore Susie Lynes’ books but this one really wasn’t my cup of tea.  I found it terribly depressing and repetitive. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but appreciate that that isn’t the point of the book.  However I will continue to search out further books by Ms Lynes as I think this one wasn’t typical.
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Found this to be quite a suspense building, tension filled read!  Well written, thrilling, chilling, and shocking book, which will absolutely fill you full of tension!  Highly recommend to those looking for some which thrills and chills, and of course shocks!  Lynes definitely has figured out a great formula for writing some fun, chilling, and riveting reads!  Do not miss this one!
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Oh my goodness, I really enjoyed this book and I loved how the intensity grows as you near the end. What happens is every parents worst nightmare, the not knowing the distressing part, so the build up to what really happened and even then the twists and turns has you gripped and wanting answers for the characters.
Thanks to the publisher and author for my arc.
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I loved The Housewarming! It's a smart and suspenseful British thriller that follows a woman suffering from the tragic loss of her 2 year old daughter. The timeline switches between the day she disappeared and present day (one are after the tragic event) in a dissociative and wandering way that adds to the atmosphere. Although I predicted one of the major twists, there were plenty more at the end that caught me by surprise and left me shocked. Additionally, I love when a thriller has a message, and this one definitely does. Yes, the drama, intrigue and twists are all accounted for… but themes of grief, forgiveness, family and morals are also explored in a meaningful and authentic way. Overall, 4 stars for a suspenseful and true to life thriller!
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The beginning of this book had my heart beating as quickly as the metronome and ticking of the clock described in that first chapter. I felt as if I was right there with the mother, running through the house, checking every room, racing down the street looking for her daughter. What an emotional ride this was as she grappled with what happened to her little girl and how she may be the one to blame. Excellent writing and an emotional tug of a story describing the loss and guilt and heartache between a husband and wife, plus the increasing suspicions of the neighbors. I highly recommend this read!
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Two year old Abi disappears from her home one morning and is not seen again. A year later her desperate parents have a new baby but their life is still haunted by their guilt about their lost daughter. A housewarming party at their neighbours is the last place they want to go but the night dredges up secrets that could solve the mystery of Abi's disappearance...
The Housewarming is a very tense and gripping psychological drama. It is often uncomfortable to read as the emotion is palpable for all characters. As a parent, the thought of losing a child especially when you could be to blame, is absolutely unbearable.
Tension is there from the very start as Ava discovers the open front door and empty pushchair. I have panicked losing my kids for a few seconds during soft play or in a shop so I can imagine the fear.
The narrative style was a little tricky for me to engage with at times as the perspective moves from present to past and back again. I would have preferred a whole chapter of flashback but this way represented the churning emotional viewpoint of the characters so I understand why it was used.
We see multiple perspectives which allows us to witness the effect of the child's disappearance on Ava and Matt's friends and neighbours. This gives clues to their behaviour and hint that something sinister may have occurred. The conclusion to The Housewarming was heartbreaking for all of the characters but as a reader left me satisfied that the loose ends had all been resolved.
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This is a really sad story with a good mystery. The first part of the book is rather slow, and repetitive, as Abi continues to be hard on herself and her husband Matt continues to help her get past her grief and guilt.

Then the neighbors have a housewarming party to show off their house that they have been renovating for the past year- everyone has connections to these neighbors- the wife has become somewhat of a friend to Ava, and Matt's best friend Neil is the builder who worked on the renovations. Ava has to be convinced to go, but when she does, there are a lot of alcohol-infused conversations that make her question what role others had to play in Abi's disappearance.

The book really picks up the pace at the point of the party and follows it through to the end. There are a lot of secrets and confessions and when the truth is revealed, it's really very heartbreaking. Lynes also throws in another twist just when you think you had everything figured out. Though the book started off a little slow for me, the ending made it all worth it and I know this is a story that will stick with me.

Overall, I'd recommend this book, Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This domestic thriller opens with a moment of sheer panic. While her daughter was occupied in her stroller, Ava took a brief moment for herself. The strap was buckled, the door was locked, she'd easily hear if her little one needed her.... But that brief moment stretched just a bit too long and the door to the front of the house wasn't locked. Ava's panic and growing despair quickly pulled me into this one. It's not always clear whether she's in the moment when her child disappeared or looking back from a year later, but that's okay because Ava is a mess and sometimes seems not quite sure herself. She's barely holding herself together. I loved this one, but it's heartbreaking to find out what happened that morning.
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I usually tend to avoid books about missing children as there are so many but I'd heard such great things about this one I wanted to give it a go. And I'm so glad I did! It manages to be both a slow-burn and a page-turner at the same time where almost no one can be trusted. Read in a few days. Excellent.
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This book had me hooked from the very first few pages! It was so well written that I found myself feeling as though I was experiencing and picturing what each main character was going through; their panic, distress, uncertainty and heartbreak. This was the first book for me by this author but will not be the last. I really enjoyed the pace and suspense throughout the whole book and found this to be a really great thriller. The fact that the author kept me guessing throughout was also amazing as I don't enjoy predictable thrillers. Thanks so much to NetGalley, the Author and Publisher for allowing me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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