When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.
On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.
But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget . . .
*Thank you to the publisher, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers (Doubleday), and NetGalley, for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
Caroline and Francis are a married couple who decided to take on an offer online for a house swap for a week in the suburb. Aside from spending time together, without their son, it is also their way to fix their crumbling marriage. But when they finally get to the house, Caroline noticed subtle details that reminded her of a past that she can’t seem to move on to. And as days passed, things don’t seem to be a mere coincidence anymore. It feels like she’s being tormented. And Caroline was left wondering about the purpose of the house swap.
Told in the past and the present with Caroline’s point of view and some narratives from Francis and an anonymous narrator, The House Swap sure got an intriguing and slightly creepy plot. It was such a slow burn, the build-up took too long to happen, but still, it is an interesting read. It didn’t give anything away until the last minute, so it kept me guessing the whole time of what is really happening. I thought I had things figured out, but things are not what they seem, which is a good twist. There’s enough mystery to keep my attention until the end but I feel like there’s too much focus on Caroline’s affair and the other details weren’t given any attention. I was waiting for a confrontation or simply a discussion between the married couple for the infidelity, neglect, and addiction issue but there’s nothing. I mean, I would like to know how they resolved their issues and decided to stay in a marriage that they’re not happy anymore, aside from their kid, of course. And so, I found both Caroline and Francis dull and unlikeable characters. They are realistically flawed and that’s okay but I just can’t seem to connect with them in any way. The ending comes off as a surprise but not that satisfying as it felt rushed. A well-written debut nonetheless and a good read overall.