After reading and being thoroughly entertained by The Couple Next Door, I was so excited to read Lapena’s latest novel – A Stranger in the House. I love the colour theme Lapena has used for both her novels, despite both being standalones, you can recognise the books as hers by their covers.
Why would you run scared from a happy home?
You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day.
That’s the last thing you remember.
You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town.
The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend isn’t so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe . . .
Lapena has done it again, thoroughly entertained me with her novel! A Stranger in the House is a fun read. Like The Couple Next Door, I don’t think the plot should be taken too seriously but it sure is enjoyable. Lapena has mastered the art of unreliable narration, this time through the use of memory loss, she kept me in suspense – Karen wakes up in hospital and cannot recall the events that preceeded her accident, her husband’s unsure, as is her best friend, so by default I was unsure too.
I did predict ahead of time the situation that would arise as the police started digging into what happened but that didn’t spoil it because even if you can predict what’s to come, you’re still not sure who’s version of events to believe – that’s unreliable narration for you! Characters losing their memory is by no means a new idea in fiction, it allows the author a platform to heightened suspense and tension for the reader, hence why I’m a fan of books with unreliable narration.
While I predicted the tangled web these characters would find themselves in, I appreciated Lapena clarifying things towards the end of the novel. So, if you dislike open endings and don’t want to be left pondering what the author was thinking, then A Stranger in the House is a good pick.
It’s also good when a novel has a variety of characters, those you grow to like and those you grow to dislike – you’ll find that in this novel too. Karen is one of those characters you grow to like, you’re unsure of her at first, with no memory, you’re not sure if you should like her or not because you don’t know if you can trust her, but by the end of the novel, there was no disputing it – I was a fan.
The plot in this novel is realistic, much more so than that of her previous novel, but it’s not the realism I look for when I read Lapena’s books, it’s the enjoyment factor. Her novels are so much fun to read, there’s no hard-to-read parts, no blood and gore, just a fun, ‘light-hearted’ psychological thriller that you can lose yourself in.