The Family Holiday - Shalini Boland

Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley

Official Blurb:

Two families. One house swap. A vacation to die for. The white-washed Italian villa is perfect. I thought it might feel odd, living in a stranger’s house for the summer, but as my husband and children swim in the infinity pool, I start to relax. And then, in the back of a wardrobe, I find something that shatters everything…
Sparkling green eyes, square jaw, lopsided smile. A young man with his arm around a beautiful woman. The picture is old and faded but I’d recognise him anywhere. The man is my husband.
But we’ve never met the family we’ve swapped homes with and my husband swears it isn’t him in the photo. He’s lying. We argue on the balcony with the sun setting behind us and I storm out.
When I finally calm down enough to go back to the villa to confront him, I find his dead body sprawled across the veranda.
Who killed my husband? Was our marriage a lie? And are my children now in terrible danger?

My Thoughts:

Aaaaaah, Niall is such a horrible character. I felt my blood pressure rising, and I actually kept snapping at my husband as if everything Niall was saying was manifesting from my husband. I didn’t like how it made me feel at all. I just felt so angry.
So, was this a good bit of writing to make me feel like this, or did I feel so uptight because it was overdone? I do feel like his behaviour and remarks were exaggerated, but they certainly got the point across. Beth was quite bland and passive in response to Niall’s behaviour, so her reactions angered me as well. Why did she put up with how he spoke to her and his ambivalence? There was no underlying reason or depth for the way she was acting.
So, despite this being quite a frustrating read, I did get through it quite quickly. It is relatively short, so there isn’t any unnecessary prolonging of the story; it does move along at quite a good pace.
Many other reviewers have said the story and the conclusion were obvious and not surprising. However, I found the opposite. I couldn’t understand Amanda’s motives for the nasty things she was throwing out there. Also, I couldn’t fathom why a house swap in different countries would work out in anyone’s favour if something nefarious were going on. So when everything was revealed, it felt shocking and made the book worthwhile for me.
The story as a whole was very unrealistic, but for a short Psych Thriller, it was an enjoyable read.

The Family Holiday
by Shalini Boland
Date Started
25th February 2022
Date Finished
27th February 2022