Its been 16 years since I read Adele Parks’ best-selling debut novel Playing Away but I still breathlessly await every new release, knowing that she’ll deliver yet another tightly-woven, emotionally taut tale. The Stranger in my Home is no exception (and yes, she’s a friend of mine, but I was a long-term fan long before that, so I don’t think it’s impaired my judgement!)
Adele is adept at taking a perfect domestic situation as a premise and throwing an emotional bomb. Alison has her life sorted (or so everyone thinks): beautiful home, happy marriage and the perfect teenage daughter. Tick. Tick. Tick. But she’s not complacent; in fact she’s endlessly thankful for them. She knows better than most how different life can be. How different her life could have been. So when a man turns up on their doorstep and reveals that Alison and Jeff’s daughter is not theirs, it’s her worst fear made real. Little does she know that the nightmare has only just begun…
This novel is a masterclass of a driving plot mixed with complex characters that less confident authors would steer clear of. I read it in two days, deeply discomfited by the unimaginably awful scenario Alison faces – and subsequently, I found it impossible to put it down. Adele expertly navigates a path through this family’s tragedy and makes us run the gamut of emotion as she paves it with fear, strength, love and hope – and a twist or two that you won’t see coming. I guarantee that by the end you’ll feel emotionally drained.
love Adele Parks? Why not try these 3 authors too…
Like Adele, bestselling author Liane Moriarty writes brilliant edgy, provocative domestic thrillers with a twist. She has sold 6 million novels worldwide and CBS has acquired the film rights to The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies is now an Amazon TV series starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Jane is also a bestselling author and a friend of Adele’s – and I can understand why they get on so well; both women write similarly tightly-plotted, twisty novels with characters you don’t always like, but do always root for.
3. felicity everett
One to watch (and recommended by Adele herself) Felicity Everett’s forthcoming novel about neighbours shines a light on the suburbs and finds darkness and betrayal beneath.