Review: House of Straw (Marc Scott)*
“At the boating lake the sky was always blue, the sun shone all day, everything was peaceful, she really did feel safe there.”
Marc Scott – House of Straw
Author: Marc Scott
Page Count: 397
Published: 6 November 2018
Plot: (8.5 / 10) Characters: (7.0 / 10) Ending: (7.0 / 10)
Author: Marc Scott
Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Bree falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.
Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, Poppy is the damaged product of a broken upbringing, she never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.
When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again…
I read this book in a day. I found I was immediately pulled into the story, intrigued about what was happening and interested in the history of the characters, particularly Poppy. After reading the synopsis I did assume that Bree and Poppy would meet much sooner and their relationship would develop further than it did, but the story is much more about their pasts, and how they came to be where they are now. The story begins and ends with stormy weather, and as I was reading it, the rain was beating down on the windows so it felt really atmospheric.
The reader is thrown headfirst into the story, within the first 20 pages there is a dramatic, tragic event, and although it doesn’t continue in quite such a fast-paced way throughout, I found I was gripped throughout most of the book.
The middle of the book is a bit slower, filling in a lot of the backstories of the characters. Generally I found this really interesting, and very harrowing in parts, particularly with regards to Poppy. I struggled to like the character of Bree however, but there wasn’t as much about her so maybe that was why. The story jumps around quite a lot, moving from past to present, character to character, but it was easy enough to follow – the story is told in third person so the tone of voice remains much the same throughout.
The story is very descriptive, sometimes a little repetitively so – for example, Matt the chef is a Geordie, and this fact was mentioned almost every time the character made an appearance in the story. I also found the dialogue a little robotic at times, as I was reading it I realised how few contractions there were when the characters were speaking, which sometimes made it feel a little stilted.
Overall, I think this is a really good thriller. It kept up momentum throughout the book, and while I did find the ending a little far-fetched and a bit disturbing in points, I still really enjoyed it, and found it was a satisfying conclusion.
*I was gifted a copy of this book by the author. All opinions are my own.