The Family Holiday by Shalini Boland
Two families. One house swap. A vacation to die for.
I can’t believe my luck as I arrive at the beautiful, white-washed Italian villa.
Complete with an infinity pool and stunning views, it’s the perfect place to create special memories with my family.
But as soon as we step inside everything starts to go wrong…
When my neighbour from back home calls, concerned about the woman in my house – and the way she’s snooping about – I start to wonder why successful Amber Mason has swapped her gorgeous villa in the sun for a crumbling English cottage.
In the midday heat a shiver runs down my spine.
I have no idea who the stranger I’ve let into my life really is.
Then I discover an old photograph of my handsome husband hidden in a wardrobe in the master bedroom.
My head spins as I try to understand why it’s there.
When I confront Niall on the balcony he has an answer for everything.
As I search his familiar green eyes, with the sun setting in the background, I can no longer tell if he’s lying.
I storm out.
But when I return to the villa, in the dark of night, I scream.
My husband is lying dead on the veranda.
Memories of our marriage flash before our eyes.
Was it all a lie? And are my children now in danger?
The vacation is over and the nightmare has just begun…
What was it all about
A house swap, where 2 couples, Beth and Niall and Amber and Renzo shift countries for their vacation. A villa in Italy for a cozy, worn-out cottage in England.
Beth wanted to rejuvenate her life and relationship with husband, bring romance back. Amber had a different tangent to play with this swap.
A murder at 80% of the book brought out the twists and secrets that everyone was hiding.
How it made me feel
Excited to get into another thriller. The writing was comfortable, inviting me to enjoy an enjoyable ride.
The atmosphere gave the vibe of everyone suppressing Beth’s voice, both husband Niall and the woman Amber helped in raising the thrill by a notch.
The build-up of suspense, though slow, was nail-biting. I loved how Beth was boxed from all sides. Her emotions were beautifully captured where she wanted to keep peace in the family and at the same time, feel helpless when she was rebutted in all her attempts.
Each character stayed true to the slots that the author etched for them. I could feel doubts about their motives, hated one of them, found the other mired in suspicion, and above all, empathy for Beth.
The ending twists, though kinda expected as the book was raising its suspense in that direction, were great. But the last chapter was most unexpected.
Actually, it would have been nothing if the blurb had not indicated that the murder happened in the manner it was written. The death came about quite at the end of the book.
The story was more about carefully adding layers to the plot-line which got wrapped up in the last three chapters, with nothing much happening in terms of incidents other than showing me the behaviors of both couples, but plenty happening with their psyche.
The Family Holiday by Shalini Boland was a slow to build up suspense in the beginning and twisty at the end thriller which entertained me for the better part of the day.
Publication Date: March 2022
I downloaded the digital version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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