Blog Tour: Book Review & Giveaway - We've Come To Take You Home by Susan Gandar

Available on Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - We've Come To Take You Home
Author - Susan Gandar
Publication Date - March 28th 2016
Publisher - Matador
Format - Paperback
Pages - 256

Samantha Foster and Jessica Brown are destined to meet. But one lives in the 20th century, the other in the 21st... It is April 1916 and thousands of men have left home to fight in the war to end all wars. Jessica Brown's father is about to be one of these men. A year later, he is still alive, but Jess has to steal to keep her family from starving. And then a telegram arrives - her father has been killed in action. Four generations later, Sam Foster's father is admitted to hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage. A nurse asks if she would like to take her father s hand. Sam refuses. All she wants is to get out of this place, stuck between the world of the living and the world of the dead, a place with no hope and no future, as quickly as possible. As Sam's father's condition worsens, her dreams become more frequent - and more frightening. She realises that what she is experiencing is not a dream, but someone else's living nightmare...

We've Come to Take You Home is an emotionally-charged story of a friendship forged 100 years apart.

Book Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Title - The Couple Next Door
Author - Shari Lapena
Publication Date - July 14th 2016
Publisher - Bantam Press
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 320

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

I know it's naughty but I had such massive expectations for this book. The ridiculous thing is, I have no idea why, or where those expectations came from. Shari Lapena is a brand new author to me and this is her debut, so it's not like I'd read her work before. But as soon as I spotted The Couple Next Door available to request on NetGalley, and once I'd devoured the blurb with my eyes, I couldn't click 'request' quick enough. To my utter joy, I'm thrilled to be able to say that this book exceeded my 'massive expectations' by miles. I thought it was absolutely, undoubtedly one of the best books I've read.

The novel begins rather calmly, although I know now that this is what people are talking about when they describe something as being 'the calm before the storm'. Anne and husband Marco are attending a dinner party at their neighbour's house next-door. Anne is growing increasingly frustrated with neighbour Cynthia's wandering hands and eyes, not directed at her own husband Graham might I add, but at Anne's. The wine is being refilled and everyone's having a grand time, except Anne. She's aware that their child, Cora, is asleep next-door, alone. What's the worst that can happen? They're only one house over, not half-way down the street. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. Nothing at all. Except perhaps Cynthia's obvious charms. But, when Anne finally decides that enough is enough and that it's time to call it a night, they arrive back at their own home to find the front door open. And Cora? Gone. And here begins the story of Anne and Marco's search for missing Cora, and the questioning of everything and everyone they've ever known.

What a pulse-racing novel this was. I barely paused to take breath and didn't dare to put my Kindle down while reading for fear of missing something of important, something that would finally make this mystery crystal-clear to me. Throughout the entirety of this book, I was kept guessing as to who was truly responsible for Cora's disappearance. Was it her father? Was it her mother? Her grandparents, perhaps? I honestly didn't have the faintest idea. When the couple finally realise that they have no option but to call the police and alert them to Cora's status of 'missing', Shari Lapena introduces Detective Rasbach to the already twisting tale. I loved this man's quick, smart method of thinking, although Cora's disappearance is a mystery to Detective Rasbach too, at first. He's inquisitive, for all of the right reasons of course, and leaves no stone unturned in his search for clues, and his questioning, even turning to the next-door neighbours, Cynthia and Graham, in hope for answers. I loved the switching of characters with every chapter or so. Being able to see things from Detective Rasbach's side was absolutely brilliant, and I felt incredibly close to this case because of it. I was concerned for Cora, desperate for some semblance of a clue to pop up and take the detective that much closer towards the answers he needed, and all the while, I watched each character keenly to try and see beneath the surface. I had this underlying feeling, a strange sort of tension perhaps, that someone in the cluster of characters knew what had gone on. Was my conscience correct? Of course I won't tell you. I wouldn't want to spoil this smashing debut for any other potential readers, but I will tell you that the author, Shari Lapena, surprised me again, and again, and again. Full of second-guessing, spinning on the spot and an overwhelming influx of questions, I couldn't get enough of The Couple Next Door. And the ending? Wow.

All in all, an absolutely cracking debut novel from Shari Lapena. I am thoroughly excited about what is to follow from this author, if her debut is anything to go by. I honestly can't tell you how thrilled I am that I clicked 'request' on this novel. Blinding, tense and panic-inducing, you might want a clear a few afternoons to sit down with this one. It will consume you entirely.

Becca's Books is awarding The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena with five of my bookish stars. Bring on book two! (I know, I'm getting way ahead of myself here, but seriously, I'm excited.)