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THE HOUSE SWAP by Re­becca Fleet (Dou­ble­day €15.65)

THIS story of an ob­ses­sive love af­fair isn’t quite as grip­ping as Ap­ple Tree Yard — but it comes close. Thir­tysome­thing Caro­line leaves her tod­dler son with her mother and swaps her house in Leeds for a flat in Chiswick, Lon­don, for a week’s hol­i­day, in a bid to mend her mar­riage.

She then dis­cov­ers that the per­son she has swapped with some­how knows the se­crets of a tu­mul­tuous af­fair Caro­line had two years ago. The swap­per sets about creep­ily de­stroy­ing par­tic­u­lar items in Caro­line’s house and sends her men­ac­ing clues.

The story is told in three voices: her hus­band Fran­cis, the mys­te­ri­ous swap­per and Caro­line. But it is the lat­ter, as the con­flicted mother and lover, that is the most com­pelling. In this de­but, Fleet shows skill in tim­ing the grad­ual reveal of Caro­line’s past. But her real tal­ent is the abil­ity to trans­mit the sheer ex­hil­a­ra­tion and naked dan­ger of ob­ses­sive love.

CROSS HER HEART by Sarah Pin­bor­ough (HarperCollins €15.65)

THIS is a busy book. At its heart, there is a para­ble about fe­male friend­ship and the cor­ro­sive power of se­crets.

It is a thriller about two women with such se­crets. Lisa’s is big­ger than her friend Mar­i­lyn’s. As the over­pro­tec­tive mother of a teenage daugh­ter, she re­luc­tantly be­comes friends with Mar­i­lyn, whose out­wardly charm­ing hus­band is abus­ing her in pri­vate.

The women grow close. But when Lisa’s for­mer al­co­holic hus­band tracks her down, the se­crets be­gin to spill in a sort of ac­tion­packed adventure thriller that threat­ens lives and tests the friend­ship of both women.

Fans of Pin­bor­ough’s hugely suc­cess­ful Be­hind Her Eyes may for­give the busy­ness; new read­ers might find it ex­haust­ing.

WHAT WE DID by Chris­to­bel Kent (Sphere €15.65)

BRID­GET, a small boutique owner, loses con­trol of her care­fully con­structed new life when the mu­sic teacher who abused her as a stu­dent sud­denly turns up in her shop, ac­com­pa­nied by a young girl whom Brid­get knows will be in dan­ger.

The teacher, An­thony Carmichael, is de­ter­mined to frighten her into si­lence. Her de­ci­sion to stop Carmichael will force Brid­get to con­front her own, de­lib­er­ately hid­den mem­o­ries and end in dra­matic con­se­quences for her, her son and her hus­band.

The plot is over­cooked in parts, but the writ­ing is un­der­pinned by in­tel­li­gent un­der­stand­ing of the com­pli­cated legacy of child­hood abuse.

Kent asks us dif­fi­cult ques­tions about the true na­ture of for­give­ness and ret­ri­bu­tion in a fast-paced and mov­ing story.

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