This week’s BotW is Louise Candlish’s The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – which was my Curtis Brown Book Group book for April, but which didn’t get finished until last week because that was when the discussion was.
The Sudden Departure of the Frasers tells the story of Christy and Joe Davenport, who have just bought the house of their dreams in a leafy London area they never expected to be able to afford. The previous owners, the Frasers, renovated the house and then abruptly disappeared. As the Davenports settle in to their new home, Christy becomes obsessed with why the Frasers left and particularly what happened to Amber – beautiful, popular, charming and the centre of the social whirl – and why the atmosphere on the street is so tense.
This is another book that I probably wouldn’t have picked out for myself – but ended up really enjoying* – in fact, I read the vast majority of it across the course of one afternoon and evening because I got sucked in and then I Needed To Know. It’s one of those books where you can’t put it down because your brain is frantically trying to work out what has gone on and you just need to read one more page/chapter/section because then you might be able to figure it out.
One of the reasons this book worked so well for me is that the setting and the characters seem utterly believeable. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had the fantasy that one day the dream home that you’ve always wanted will pop up on the market miraculously in your price range despite being worth oh-so-much more usually. And then obviously the old adage about “if it looks too good to be true, maybe it is” springs into your mind. Now scenarios like this usually lend themselves to horror or ghost stories (definitely not my thing) but this is neither. It’s a gripping little thriller, which will mess with your head but not leave you with nightmares about blood and gore and ghosts.**
Now I am breaking one of my own rules in writing about this now – because The Sudden Departure of the Frasers doesn’t come out until the 21st. But after a long deliberation I’ve put it up as this week’s BotW – because a) it was really good, b) if I didn’t BotW would probably be another Janet Evanovich (the obsession continues) and c) it will be a really, really good beach read, so preorder it for your holiday and you’ve one less thing to worry about!
You can pre-order The Sudden Departure of the Frasers from all the usual outlets – here is a selection of links – Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and Kindle – and I suspect that when it does come out it may pop up in your local supermarket as it’s being published by Penguin.
* Which illustrates why I have such a massive to-read pile. I like so many different books. And if I had bought myself this, it would probably have sat of the shelf for years because of the backlog because it’s not obviously a book that I’d like. Then you’d get another of my patented posts saying that I loved it and I can’t believe how long it sat on the shelf and why didn’t I read it sooner. I know. I’m a nightmare.
** I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there isn’t any blood or gore or ghosts. It’s not that sort of book. But you know what I mean.