#Review: The House Party by Mary Grand @authormaryg @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #blogtour #BoldwoodBloggers #mystery

By | July 22, 2020

I’m slipping over to the darker side today, and it’s a real pleasure to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of The House Party by Mary Grand. Published yesterday (21st July) by Boldwood Books,  this book is now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback and as an audiobook. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading copy.

This is Mary’s first book for Boldwood, and I’ll admit that when I saw she was joining them I gave a little cheer. I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for absolutely ages, but every time I’ve added one to my reading list life has seemed to conspire to make it impossible. I’m delighted I’ve finally managed to get there – and perhaps even more delighted to have really enjoyed this one…

Someone is about to die… Someone is about to lie…


At the intimate house-warming party for her glorious ‘grand design’, Kathleen confides in her best friend Beth that she is terrified of one of their close friends, but daren’t reveal which one. The guests are a tight-knit group, but Kathleen is convinced one of them is dangerous.


The next day Kathleen’s body is found at the foot of a cliff and Beth must face the sickening truth that she may have been killed by one of their trusted friends. With little help from the police, Beth’s decides to seek answers.


All the friends have secrets they are desperate to hide, but only one of them is ready to kill to keep theirs safe…


The House Party is set on the Isle of Wight – insular, claustrophobic, and with nowhere to run. Mary Grand has written a heart-stopping novel of secrets, betrayal and desire, perfect for fans of Louise Candlish and Lucy Foley.

I was rather expecting an edge-of-the-seat read with this one, and it certainly was at times – but it also turned out to be something a little different, and that only made me enjoy it more. The set-up is classic thriller territory – Kathleen is frightened, feels in danger from one of her close friends, and the morning after a house-warming party is found dead at the foot of the nearby cliff. At the party, she shared her fears with Beth – but none of the detail, only that the threat came from one of the friends present at the party. When the police investigation concludes that her death was suicide or a tragic accident, Beth can’t let things lie – she becomes obsessed with her pursuit of the truth.

I think “obsessed” really is the right word – she alienates most of the people within their circle of friends with her doubts and accusations, causes issues within her marriage, and receives threats herself that would make a lesser person give up and leave things well alone. The absolute joy of this book, for me, was in the relationships and interactions between its well-drawn characters – and that element of not knowing who is telling the truth or who you can trust gave every exchange a really intriguing edge.

Another real joy was the setting – the Isle of Wight, the clifftops at Freshwater Bay, the walks Beth takes with her dog, the fictional village of Castleford with its tight community. Despite the open spaces – beautifully described – there’s an all-pervading sense of claustrophobia too, that sense of no way to escape, the feeling that the whole tight-knit community is turning against her.

It’s not fast paced – I suspect that those who look for chills and thrills might not find them here. But I’m not that way inclined, and the way the story built and the secrets were slowly revealed was something I really enjoyed – beautifully crafted, character driven, and it really hooked me right through to its unexpected ending. A definite recommendation from me, and I’ll be really looking forward to reading more from Mary Grand…

About the author

Mary Grand is the author of five novels and writes gripping, page-turning suspense, with a dark and often murderous underside. She grew up in Wales, was for many years a teacher of deaf children and now lives on the Isle of Wight where her new novel, The House Party, published by Boldwood in July 2020, is set.

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One thought on “#Review: The House Party by Mary Grand @authormaryg @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #blogtour #BoldwoodBloggers #mystery

  1. jena c. henry

    I was fortunate enough to also receive a review copy. I’ve read Mary Grand’s earlier books- she always delivers meaningful characters. To me, the slow burn added to the chills and realism – this could happen to me! Enjoyed your review, as always.

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