Back of the book :
Twenty-three-year-old Katy Speed has always been fascinated by the house across the street . . .
The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, and other times the women come with children.
Hilda, Katy’s mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders where these mysterious visitors have come from, and what they want. Does Gloria have sinister reasons for secretly bringing strangers into the heart of the community?
Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained strangers must be responsible, until her father is arrested and charged with murder.
Surely the police have arrested the wrong person?
Is the rest of the street safe?
Can Katy find the truth before it’s too late?
What I think :
Katy loves watching the house across the street.
She spends a lot of time in the front guest bedroom (her bedroom is at the back, overlooking the garden – nothing to see there !) Katy’s brother Rob just calls her plain nosy !
Gloria Reynolds lives in the house across the street, she seems very glamorous. She owns a posh little dress shop in town, she’s very popular. She has people visiting all of the time, mostly women, of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they seem to be injured and have bedraggled looking children with them. They always seem to be dropped off by a middle aged woman in a big, dark car.
Katy’s mother, Hilda is the only person in the street that isn’t interested in Gloria and her visitors, she didn’t think that Gloria was anything special, in fact she was always saying that she was “no better than she ought to be” But the Hilda wasn’t a very nice woman anyway, Katy said that her mother was ‘all full of sharp edges’ and never had anything nice to say about anyone. Katy can never work out why her mother is like this, maybe something bad happened to her when she was younger . Or why her dad stays with her mother as she’s so nasty to him most of the time.
One very cold night, just after Christmas, Katy was woken by her mother shouting “FIRE’. Gloria’s house across the street is completely a blaze and nobody can find her. Then in the morning the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found by the fire brigade. The police also find out that the fire was started on purpose, somebody murdered Gloria.
But who would want to kill Gloria ?
She was well liked in the town. Maybe it had something to do with the frequent visitors.
A week or so later, Katy and her friend Jilly Decide to go to London to find jobs. The trip goes well and they both end up with good jobs, and a place to live. Jilly at London Zoo as a veterinarian nurse and Katy as a legal secretary in a big firm of solicitors. However on their return Katy discovers that her father has been arrested for the murders of Gloria and her daughter. Katy’s is in shock as she knows her father would never do anything like this. Her plans are then thrown into chaos as she sets about trying to find out the truth of what really happened that night, who really started the fire and also more importantly clearing her fathers name.
Can Katy find out the truth without putting herself in danger ?
This is another excellent read from Lesley, her 25th no less !!
I always really look forward to Lesley’s books being published, her writing is always very down to earth, very gritty and her brilliant characters are very true to life.
Her books are nearly always set in a time gone by, in this case in the 1960’s, so you can really imagine what it would have been like in that particular time period. Lesley’s research is always impeccable.
As always this book had me gripped right from the beginning, with plenty of twists and a little bit of added tension thrown in for good measure.
Lesley does cover some really difficult subjects in this case its domestic violence, but she writes it in such a way that it makes you feel as if you are right there in the room involved in the story.
This certainly isn’t your average chick-lit book, all I can say is that if you’ve not read this book yet, go and buy it now, it’s excellent !!
A big Congratulations to Lesley on her 25th book !!
I give this brilliant read 10/10 !
A huge Thank you to Sian Heap at Penguin for the review copy of the book.
The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse is published on 6th September in hardback by Michael Joseph priced £20.00. This year is Lesley’s 25th anniversary year in publishing.