Title: The Family Holiday
Author: Shalini Boland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: March 29th 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 9th 2022
Pages: 241

“It sounds so easy. But I can’t imagine anything will be that easy again. Not after tonight.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been a fan of Shalini Boland‘s psychological thrillers since my very first experience back in 2016 and while I did somehow miss three of her most recent titles, I read the rest of them without fail. I thought that it was about time I jumped aboard the Boland train again and what better way to start than with her newest psychological thriller? Especially since the blurb sounds extremely intriguing and I always love a travel element in my stories. And I have to say that reading The Family Holiday has definitely reminded me just why I enjoy reading her work that much!

The first thing that stands out is that we both have a dual setting and a dual POV structure. Part of the story is set in an English village in Dorset and part in a small Italian town on the Amalfi Coast… The descriptions of especially the Italian setting really made it feel as if I were sightseeing along with the main characters, and it made a great backdrop for the plot. The POV (with one exception) switches between Beth and Amber, the wifes of the two families who decided to swap houses together. While both women had traits that annoyed me (especially with Beth letting her husband treat her badly), as a whole they were exactly what was needed for this story to become a success.

The Family Holiday has a very strong opener, and you are left wondering what really happened as you slowly dive into the lives of Beth and Amber. I had my suspicions about certain aspects of the plot, and I can’t say that I was happy with the whole cheating/love triangle element either. The way this element was incorporated into the plot made it easier to tolerate though, and thankfully the story will have plenty of twists, secrets and new developments ready to keep you distracted. The switching between the POVs is well handled and it really helped building up that intrigue and suspense. Especially once you start figuring out Amber’s true intentions…

This story seems to be a bit of a mix between a domestic drama and a more crime-focused psychological thriller, and I really liked the balance here. The writing is just as engaging as I’ve come to expect from her books; I literally couldn’t stop reading and had to stay up late just so that I could finish it. All in all, The Family Holiday ended up being a more than satisfying psychological thriller that has me hungry to return for her final pending backlist titles. Recommended if you enjoy the genre!


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