Book Review – Like A House On Fire by Caroline Hulse

Things Stella and George have had blazing rows about:– Misquoting Jurassic Park
– Leaving a Coke can on the side of the bath
– Fitting car seats for their hypothetical kidsIn other news, they’re getting divorced.But first, Stella’s mum is throwing a murder mystery party and – with her dad losing his job, her mum’s recent diagnosis, and some very odd behaviour from her sister – now is not the time to tell everyone.All Stella and George have to do is make it through the day without their break-up being discovered – though it will soon turn out that having secrets runs in the family…Published May 14th 2020 by @orionbooks

I’ve had a copy of Caroline Hulse’s debut, Adults, for ages and had been meaning to get around to it soon. After reading LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE this will be happening even sooner!Set mainly over an evening, when Margaret attempts to bring together her nearest and dearest one last time, this is one of the most honestly observed stories of family dynamics I’ve read. Misunderstandings, resentment and jealousy, denial and secrets unfold in an excruciating family event noone really wants to be atI loved the dry wit and humour it’s written with! The dynamics of the family are recognisable and relatable as they switch from irritation with each other to being fiercly protective. The characters are incredibly authentic and Caroline Hulse writes the everday person with compassion and insightThis isn’t a book I raced through, however I loved picking it up and spending time with it at a lovely leisurely pace which I really appreciated. I really felt I knew these characters by the end, and the addition of Margaret’s attempts to involve her reluctant family in a murder mystery party really made me chuckle. A reminder of the imperfections of family and that life is constantly changing, even for those who fight against it, I really enjoyed this bookThank you to the publisher for my #gifted copy

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