Book Title: The House Sitter
Author: Jill Barry
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing
Date Read: September 27th 2016
Published: July 20th 2016
How much should you entrust to your house sitter? Your dog? Your clothes and jewellery? Your husband?
When Suzanne and Eddie decide to move house, they neglect to confide in their friend and house sitter, Ruth. Against the dramatic landscape of Mid-Wales, a series of unfortunate events seem destined to ruin the couple’s plans, especially when they go away, leaving Ruth in charge.
A tenacious estate agent and a prospective purchaser conspire to unravel the disturbing, malicious stunts. But how does a woman nursing a knee problem move so stealthily? Does she have an accomplice? Or is something far more sinister going on?
The House Sitter is multi-published author Jill Barry’s first venture into fiction’s dark side, although she admits the novel includes a romantic frisson. But it is Ruth’s creepy, manipulative intrusion into her friends’ lives driving the story towards its near-fatal conclusion.
This book was a creepy yet fun read that shows what happens when friendship and obsession go too far… The cover however is creepier than the story, which was a bit upsetting.
Ruth is Suzanne and Eddie’s neighbor, friend and house sitter. When Suzanne and Eddie decide to move a series of unfortunate events seem destined to ruin the couple’s plans, especially when they go away, leaving the unstable Ruth in charge.
It was a suspenseful read without the whole whodunit mystery, which was refreshing as that is all I have been reading lately lol.
The growing relationship between estate agent and a prospective purchaser kind of put me off, whilst I enjoyed it and it added to the storyline, I believe it could have been portrayed better.
Also that ending… what was that?! This book makes me want to give out half stars. Instead it lost a star for what could have been an amazing end to the book but ended up being just an abrupt halt to the story and nearly ruining it all for me. *Whew, I’m out of breath* But seriously, that ending killed the story.
In a time of psychological thrillers where you are always guessing who the bad guy is, this book stands apart. The ‘bad guy’ is known from the start. We get to see the reasoning and motive behind the actions and get to watch it all unfold.
Knowing who the bad guy is, doesn’t lessen the suspense in this book. I was still left on the edge of my seat wondering if they would ever realise that it was Ruth sabotaging them or if she was going to get away with it all.
Whilst I enjoyed the side relationship between estate agent and a prospective purchaser and I thought it added to the story, I believe that the developing relationship was in bad faith to other character and could have been portrayed differently. Nothing really happened between them, but I feel as though the relationship went beyond that of a professional or general friendship and although we barely met estate agent’s husband, but I felt sorry for the guy. I mean he showed up to save the day and his girl only to meet her new eye candy. Don’t try to hide it or anything guys!!
I loved Ruth; she is a nasty, unstable and manipulative woman. This made guessing her next move rather enjoyable, but at the same time kept me hoping that Suzanne and Eddie would catch on.
I feel like the subject of cheating is broached a lot in this book. It’s suggested throughout that Eddie has cheated on Suzanne, but shes okay with it so its all good guys.*shakes head* It is never okay! Cheating should never be condoned!
All the characters are in on it. The estate agent and a prospective purchaser are falling hopelessly in love and can’t keep their eyes or hands off each other.*vomit* The prospective purchaser’s girlfriend, a singer on a cruise ship, met another man on the ship and apparently has been seeing him. The estate agent’s husband slept with another woman once and it was a mistake and will never happen again. Why are you still married to him?
I feel like something really bad has happened in all of the authors relationships.
Rant over, moving on…
That wasn’t even an ending. It was like Jill got to a point in the book and was like, “Yeah, that’s good enough.” Well its not! I would have loved to have heard what happened to everyone after that night. Or there could have been a crazy twist such as Ruth’s love interest was helping her all long. Anything would have been better!
The ending, whilst was clean, really just didn’t feel final or well executed. It left a lot just balancing out there unfinished.
Okay so there were the bad bits, cheating spouses and that ending. But overall it was an enjoyable read. I was able to overlook all the adultery when reading the book as I really wanted to know what had happened!
It was a well written story that kept your attention throughout. Jill has really managed to flesh out the characters, they all have their bad points, but they also have some redeeming qualities.
Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley.
I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Jill Barry was born in a Welsh seaside town from which she has taken her pseudonym. When she wasn’t creating imaginary worlds with a boarding school or medieval castle backdrop, she spent happy childhood hours scrambling over rocks and peering into pools. Later, Jill used her secretarial skills as a springboard to jobs in the hotel and leisure industry, including stints as airline receptionist and air stewardess.
After marrying, she settled in Wiltshire where she and her late husband bought a former Victorian school and ran a guesthouse. Her first writing success was a ghost story broadcast on local radio. After moving to Mid Wales in the year 2000, she applied to study for a degree in Creative Writing. This brought new friends, the chance to drink coffee in the Trinity St David’s Students’ Union plus the excuse to rent a hideaway on the Gower Peninsula while working on her dissertation.
Jill writes contemporary and historical romance novels and occasional short stories and has one psychological suspense novel scheduled for 2016 publication. She runs on line creative writing workshops for students at a virtual high school and enjoys giving library talks.