Book Review: The Chateau by Catherine Cooper

I very much enjoyed Catherine Cooper’s first novel – The Chalet – which became a Sunday Times Bestseller – and so when the publisher emailed to see if I fancied reading her second novel, I jumped at the chance and downloaded an ARC from NetGalley. Here’s the blurb:

They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…
A glamorous chateau
Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.
A couple on the brink
The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.
A secret that is bound to come out…
Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.”

I romped through this second book from Catherine Cooper enjoying it just as much as The Chalet. I was expecting twists and turns and unexpected things happening – and I was not disappointed!

The book follows 2 timelines – Aura and Nick and their kids having moved to France – and back in England where you know ‘something’ has happened. Flicking back and forth between the timelines really kept up the momentum of the book.

Aura is a typical wannabe Instagram influencer – sharing her life and her kids on public social media channels, and inviting a film crew to document their move to France so she can have her 15 minutes of fame. I have to say, I didn’t really like Aura at all. But then equally I didn’t really like Nick either! Sometimes not liking / empathising with the main characters takes away from the enjoyment of the book – but in this case it didn’t – possibly because bad things kept happening to them!!

It takes pretty much the entire book for both timelines to unravel and to see how they are entwined. As I said, I was expecting a big twist – just like in The Chalet – and there were a couple! And again, I’m not sure I would have spotted them even if I’d known from the start what they would be.

All in all this is not a ‘difficult second album’ of a book – it’s fabulous!

Book Review: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

French Alps, 1998
Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.
20 years later
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.
Someone knows what really happened that day.
And somebody will pay.

When I was emailed by the publisher to see if I’d like an advance review copy of this book, I jumped at the chance – the blurb was intriguing immediately – and I was prepared to take a chance on a debut novelist, and I’m so pleased I did!

I loved this book from the start.

The story is told, flicking between the present day (the Alps, pre covid – how wonderful!) and 1998 when there was a tragedy. You don’t have all the facts up front – and it twists and turns brilliantly.

You know that the 2 stories are connected – but right up until the very end you aren’t sure exactly how. There are plenty of red herrings and teasers to keep you interested.

I don’t really want to give you too much information on the storyline – as it unfurls brilliantly! For example, you know someone dies in 1998, but don’t know who until some way through.

Similarly different voices are added to the story telling – both in 1998 and the present day – and the ‘before / after’ chapters too. I felt that really helped build the tension – and you don’t know who to trust!

My best friend from school lives in the French Alps, and so the setting was familiar, which I liked. And the horrific ski bores on holiday were also familiar!

When I’d finished the book and therefore knew who everyone actually was, I was intrigued to see if I went back to the beginning there were any clues – but I really don’t think I would have guessed some of the connections at all – it was incredibly clever!

I romped through this really quickly as I was keen to find out what happened – always a good sign with a book.

This is out at the end of October electronically and mid November as a traditional book, and I’d highly recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy.