I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The House Guests by Emilie Richards
Published by MIRA on June 29, 2021
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Friendship, General, Literary, Women
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"A compelling page-turner one won't want to put down."--New York Journal of Books
Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes' worth of secrets.
In the wake of her husband's sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father's death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared.
When Savannah's rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman's predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She's evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from...and what will happen if it finally catches up to her.
The House Guests is my first book by Emilie Richards, and this domestic thriller surely did not disappoint. Full of family drama and a bit of mystery and danger, this novel follows two families who have been torn apart by tragedy–and how they dealt with those things. When Cassie Costas’ doctor husband dies suddenly in a boating accident, she takes her step-daughter Savannah and moves from New York City to the quaint, seaside town of Tarpon Springs, Florida. While Cassie deals with her grief the best she can, Savannah pulls away from the step-mother that had been like a real mom to her since she was a toddler, blaming Cassie for her father’s death. Left with almost nothing since her husband’s retirement savings have disappeared, Cassie must search for answers that will be hard to hear. But she has the comfort and support of her large Greek family, so she knows she can get to the bottom of it.
Savannah finds an envelope full of cash and throws a wild party while Cassie is away. Unbeknownst to Savannah, she’s just spent the entire savings for a mother and son to keep their apartment. Single mother Amber and her sixteen-year-old son Will are now homeless, and thanks to a news article about the loss, Cassie figures out what happened and invites Will and Amber to move into her new house until they get back on their feet. Amber seems to be running from a dangerous past–one that she doesn’t let Will or anyone else know about. What could go wrong as two families, one in mourning, one in hiding, intertwine and start to face their fears?
I really loved how their stories are told in mirror image. You know that Cassie’s husband had died unexpectedly, but as the story unfolds and Cassie digs into the missing money more deeply, she learns exactly who she was married to for years. Amber’s tale is a bit more mysterious, and it takes the entire book for her dangerous tale to unfold. Both female leads were realistic, sympathetic, and entirely capable of taking care of things on their own, but it’s the times where they leaned on each other that really made this novel shine for me.
I give The House Guests a 4.5 out of 5. The two storylines unfolded throughout the novel at a nice pace. Even when the two families were just living their lives, the supporting characters were quirky, fantastic, and memorable family and friends that made this book come to vivid life for me. All of the characters are flawed, relatable, realistic, and have every day goals. The twists and turns throughout weren’t super predictable, so those revelations were very fun. I was so immersed in the characters’ lives that I just want to know more about their new lives after the conclusion. I highly recommend The House Guests for lovers of domestic dramas and mysteries/thrillers.
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About Emilie Richards
USA Today bestselling author Emilie Richards has written more than seventy novels. She has appeared on national television and been quoted in Reader’s Digest, right between Oprah and Thomas Jefferson.
Born in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Richards has been married for more than forty years to her college sweetheart. She splits her time between Florida and Western New York, where she is currently plotting her next novel.
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