Despite having a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature, author Nicole Trope has become a well-known author of domestic thriller and family drama oriented novels. Trope often sets her stories in Australia, where she lives in Sydney with her family.
It’s a sweltering summer’s day on an ordinary Australian street, but something is wrong in one of the modest homes. The doors are locked, the curtains closed, and the children have not left for school. Neighbour Gladys is sure that something is going on in Katherine’s house. Katherine’s husband left with a screech of tires early in the morning, but since then, there hasn’t been a peep, not even from the couple’s rambunctious young twins. So what could be going on inside such a quiet suburban home?
I picked up this book when it was under its original name—The Family Across the Street. The new title and synopsis reflect the novel better than the initial blurb, which implied a slow build-up as neighbours began to wonder what was wrong with the family. But Home Sweet Home is a very different story.
Although this book does start with a bang, the first half is very slow. I might have been in the wrong mindset when I was reading it, and it generally has very good reviews, so my lack of enjoyment in the first half may be an anomaly.
The first half is full of backstory, leading up to a fast-paced and thrilling second half that keeps you flicking through the pages looking for the answers to one big question—who will get out of this house alive?
Trope has done a fantastic job of imbuing a sense of danger and urgency throughout the novel.
We get to see a sadly common tragedy unfolding from multiple points of view. There is Gladys, the nosy neighbour who is known for calling the police at the slightest disturbance. Then there’s Logan, the delivery driver with an uneasy feeling about his customer. There’s Katherine, wife and mother, who never expected to be trapped in her own home at the end of a gun barrell.
And finally, there’s the perpetrator.
Home should be a place where you’re safe. It really should be.
For Australian readers, it’s a particularly topical, thought-provoking look at how we respond to uncomfortable and uncertain situations. I can think of a recent case where a woman was murdered in her home, with neighbours hearing her screaming for hours and nobody calling the police.
Trope leads you to look very closely at these situations. Which character you play, how easy it is to become “the bad guy”, and whether, if you hear a woman scream, would you do anything? Most people would probably say, of course, but this look into the psyche of those in contact with Katherine and her family delves deep into why they choose not to act when faced with such a situation.
Overall, Home Sweet Home is a tense and claustrophobic novel with genuinely relevant and heart-wrenching themes, offering insight into our connected yet distant modern world.
Why read Home Sweet Home by Nicole Trope?
- Female author
- Varied female characters
- Strong theme
- Domestic suspense
- Multiple POV
I received a free review copy of Home Sweet Home by Nicole Trope from Bookoture in exchange for an honest review.
Home Sweet Home
If you heard a woman scream, what would you do?