Title: The Dinner Party
Author: Rebecca Heath
Publication: January 4, 2024
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Domestic Thriller
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
It’s Summer 1979 in the idyllic suburban neighbourhood of Ridgefield, during a scorching heat wave four couples gather for their weekly dinner party.
An ordinary evening.
It’s a chance for friends to catch-up, to show off their perfect marriages, to have a break from the kids… but secrets hide behind the lit-up picture windows and carefully curated lawns.
The beginning of a nightmare.
When Frank Callaghan checks on the sleeping children, he finds an empty crib where his 4-month old daughter Megan should be sleeping. The party-goers swear they didn’t see anything. No one left the dinner table.
Forty years later, Megan’s sister Amanda is still searching for answers when a stranger knocks at her door claiming to be Megan. The family are sceptical until they see what she is holding – Megan’s blanket, taken the night she disappeared.
This shock appearance unearths many questions. Where has Megan been all of this time? Who knows what happened that night? And how well do you really know your neighbours?
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
The mixed reviews I saw on this book before starting had me hesitant on if I was going to like it, but I’m happy to say this book had me in its grips the entire time.
The story follows a family who has gone decades dealing with the loss of a family member. That dynamic in and of itself brings on intense emotions and dramatics, but Rebecca Heath tied in questionable identities, family ties ripping apart, and question after question keeping me guessing the entire time. I really enjoyed the suspense that was built up between the family members. I could feel the tension building the entire time and at times I wanted to scream at the pages. Heath wrote some great, deep characters that had their own issues going on and the story not only followed the main storyline, but we got little personal storylines about different characters. I feel that really rounded the feel of the story out to make it more full and realistic.
My only qualms about the book were the flashbacks. I understand the idea of them, but I feel like we got a lot less information from those flashbacks and this story would have been perfectly fine without them. I do not feel they added anything and at times I felt myself itching to skip forward past them to get back to the current story. Either they needed to be written more in a way that added more information or removed altogether. Aside from that, I was a little confused by some of the reveal at the end. I know what happen, but I have questions I wish I could have answered. I won’t divulge those questions because they contain spoilers, but I’m curious if others have questions as well.
Either way, this book caught me in the beginning and I was not walking away until I knew what was happening. I loved the intensity of the feelings of the characters, the doubt that crept in every time I thought I knew what was happening, and the nail-biting climax. I will be checking out other novels by Rebecca Heath and you should pick up a copy of The Dinner Party.