Bookouture | 21 October 2020 | 326 pgs
It's been a year since young Abi was missing from the neighbourhood in Teddington. Ava only left her young daughter in the pushchair for five minutes to check on her phone and by the time she returned, she found the door of their house opened and Abi was nowhere to be seen. No one had seen her on that fateful day and till present, her body is never found, leaving Ava and her husband, Matt, in unresolved grief and the difficulty of not knowing.
When their neighbour, the Lovegoods family, decided to throw a housewarming party after their renovation project, Ava doesn't want to go as she doesn't know the Lovegoods well on top of her grieving. Matt eventually managed to get her to go; plus their good friends, Bella and Neil, are invited too. And little do they know that the party would be the beginning of a catastrophe as no one would imagine a little throwaway comment could lead to distrust and suspicion among the couples. Is it really Ava's negligence that is the cause of Abi's disappearance? Or did someone know more than that but is not telling?
I've to say The Housewarming is a combination of mystery and domestic drama more than a psychological thriller as it focus more on the dynamics between Ava and Matt, as well as their good friends, Bella and Neil. We also read about Ava's emotional behaviours and how her life has been ever since Abi went missing. It's a nightmare for every parents, and Ava's fear and anxiety was palpable throughout the book though it could be seen as slow pace and repetitive to some. The tension was then raised towards the middle as suspicion started to pile up, and this is where things started to get a bit exciting and there are moments that will make you reflect and think about how one's decision made under a circumstances might change the course of events thereafter. While the story isn't what I expected, it was an emotional-gripping book that made me feel for the characters.
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