A stunningly tense, page-turning debut for all fans of The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train.
The perfect house. The perfect family. Too good to be true.
Kate Webb still grieves for her young son, ten years after his loss. She spends her weekends hungover, attending open houses on Sydney’s wealthy north shore and imagining the lives of the people who live there.
Then Kate visits the Harding house – the perfect house with, it seems, the perfect family. A photograph captures a kind-looking man, a beautiful woman she once knew from university days, and a boy – a boy that for one heartbreaking moment she believes is her own son.
When her curiosity turns to obsession, she uncovers the cracks that lie beneath a glossy facade of perfection, sordid truths she could never have imagined.
But is it her imagination? As events start to spiral dangerously out of control, could the real threat come from Kate herself?
Other People’s Houses is a story that explores obsession, tragedy, and how to move on. Full of intrigue and suspense, the slow-burn tension and explosive payoff will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Protagonist Kate is a messy and slightly broken person. She’s also an unreliable narrator, and as she grapples with the loss of her son, I found I couldn’t believe everything I was reading as her interest in the Harding House turns into something darker. Hawkins builds suspense here, and doesn’t let up, slowly feeding the reader hints about both the Harding House, Kate and the secrets both are hiding.
The setting is breathtaking. Sydney’s northern shore is vividly brought to life as we follow Kate through some lavish open houses throughout the area. And while stunning, Sydney’s elegant façade is strikingly contrasted with Kate’s steady decline throughout the novel. Hawkins is excellent at taking something familiar and turning it on its head, and by the end of the novel, the recognizable setting is a dark and twisted version of itself.
Other People’s Houses is Hawkins first adult novel after writing children’s books, and she has proven herself to be a skilled thriller writer. The novel shows us how detrimental tragedy and obsession can be, and how fast it can turn even the most familiar things into an unrecognizable nightmare. A satisfying slow-burn with twists and turns reminiscent of Gillian Flynn, Hawkins is an author to keep an eye out for in the future.