The Family Game, Catherine Steadman – Book Review

Well this book was a lot of fun! A brilliant cat-and-mouse thriller which had me racing through the pages. I hadn’t come across this author before but something about this latest release had me intrigued – and it turns out she’s a woman of many talents, as she’s an actress on Downton Abbey too! As it happens I don’t watch that show – but I’ll definitely be reading her books from now on.

When author Harry meets wealthy bachelor Edward, it almost feels too good to be true. The two quickly become a couple and decide to tie the knot – but there’s one more thing they have to deal with first, the in-laws. Not just any in-laws – Edward is the descendent of one of America’s most rich and powerful families. And they like to play games.

Harry travels from London to New York to meet her intimidating in-laws, but things get weird from the very first family occasion. She learns thatEdward had a brother he’s never mentioned, then sits down to an intense, oddly flirtatious conversation with her future father-in-law which ends with him giving her a tape which appears to contain his deepest, darkest secrets.

This book is full of twists and turns, mind-games and family secrets, set against the backdrop of New York old money in the form of imposing, grand mansions. The characters are complex and eccentric, the descriptions lush and the tension is palpable as Harry tries to get to the bottom of this family’s secrets.

It’s a very seasonal thriller – something I didn’t realise when I picked it up but I absolutely loved. From a ‘Fairytale of New York’ proposal through to a tense Thanksgiving, creepy Krampusnacht and an epic Christmas Day showdown, we follow Harry and root for her through a very unusual holiday season. Christmas isn’t just a gimmick here – it’s crucial to the story as a time when the family comes together, and play their twisted games.

All in all, this was a perfectly plotted thriller which keeps the pace out throughout, had me rooting for the protagonist, and uses some really unusual plot devices to create a story which is quite unique. I loved it.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 4.5/5.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Psychological thriller

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