Monday 25 September 2023

Book Review: The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst

The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst book cover

AD* | The perfect holiday or the perfect nightmare...

I sit sipping champagne in the warm water, bubbles frothing around me as I admire the breathtaking view of gorgeous blue skies and mountains. I can’t believe I’m here, at this stunning holiday home. It’s to die for...

My best friend and her husband have invited me and my family to their lakeside property for the weekend, to experience their luxury lifestyle. I’m not envious of their wealth, although I know my husband Ryan is. All I want is to escape from our recent troubles and get my marriage back on track.

Then I overhear Ryan having a whispered conversation late one evening, and he says something that sends a shiver down my spine. In this beautiful paradise my whole world is turned upside down.

Just when I think things can’t get any worse, I discover a second secret. The truth is even more shocking than I imagine, and now I have no idea who to trust.

This was meant to be the perfect holiday, but someone isn’t going to survive it...

The Holiday Home by Daniel Hurst has all the makings of a gripping thriller, but unfortunately, it falls short of its potential. While it has some redeeming qualities, there are significant flaws that ultimately left me disappointed.

One of the immediate issues with the book is its pacing. It starts with a tantalising spoiler, pulls you into a crucial moment in the story, and then abruptly throws you back in time. This approach robs the narrative of tension that could have been built gradually and chronologically. It's a missed opportunity to engage the reader fully.

The writing itself feels underdeveloped at times. Some of the character's comments at the end of the chapters seem out of place and disjointed from the story's flow. This is a shame as it disrupts the reader's immersion in the plot.

However, one of the book's highlights is the setting – a remote cabin in the Scottish highlands. The author does an excellent job of creating a vivid sense of place, and this is definitely one of the book's strongest aspects. The isolation and harsh beauty of the landscape add to the story's atmosphere.

As for the plot, it is mysterious and tense, keeping you engaged. It strikes a good balance between being plot-driven and character-driven. However, it falls short in terms of character development. The characters are largely unlikeable, making it challenging to relate to or sympathise with them. The exception here is teenager Cole, who comes across as one of the more relatable characters. However, the parts from his viewpoint feel forced and clumsy, sadly not quite capturing the authenticity of a teenager's perspective.

The story's premise is undeniably interesting, but the execution is lacklustre. The twist at the end, while meant to be shocking, feels melodramatic and over the top, stretching the boundaries of belief. This was a missed opportunity to deliver a more nuanced and satisfying conclusion.

The Holiday Home has the potential to be a gripping thriller set in an intriguing location, but it falls short in several crucial areas. The pacing, character development, and melodramatic twist let down an otherwise promising premise. If you're looking for a book with a strong sense of place and atmosphere, it may still be worth a read, but be prepared for some disappointments along the way.

Rating: 3 stars

The Holiday Home is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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