Title: The Heatwave
Author: Kate Riordan
Narrator: Miranda Raison
Published: August 2020, Hachette Audio / Grand Central Publishing
Length: 8 hours 46 minutes / 352 pages
Source: Audio – ALC via Libro.fm / Print – ARC Paperback via Publisher
“A sultry, gorgeously written and hugely atmospheric thriller with a dark, compelling mystery at its heart.”-Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party and The Guest List
the scorching French sun, a tense homecoming unearths a long-buried
family secret in this deliciously propulsive beach read of a mother’s
greatest fear brought to life.
Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was manipulative. Elodie is dead.
Sylvie Durand receives a letter calling her back to her crumbling
family home in the South of France, she knows she has to go. In the
middle of a sweltering 1990’s summer marked by unusual fires across the
countryside, she returns to La Reverie with her youngest daughter Emma
in tow, ignoring the deep sense of dread she feels for this place she’s
long tried to forget.
As memories of the events that shattered
their family a decade earlier threaten to come to the surface, Sylvie
struggles to shield Emma from the truth of what really happened all
those years ago. In every corner of the house, Sylvie can’t escape the
specter of Elodie, her first child. Elodie, born amid the ’68 Paris
riots with one blue eye and one brown, and mysteriously dead by
fourteen. Elodie, who reminded the small village of one those Manson
girls. Elodie who knew exactly how to get what she wanted. As the fires
creep towards the villa, it’s clear to Sylvie that something isn’t quite
right at La Reverie . . . And there is a much greater threat closer to
Rich in unforgettable characters, The Heatwave
alternates between the past and present, grappling with what it means to
love and fear a child in equal measure. With the lush landscape and
nostalgia of a heady vacation read, Kate Riordan has woven a gripping
page-turner with gorgeous prose that turns the idea of a summer novel on
My thoughts: This is the second book I’ve read by Kate Riordan, the other being Fiercombe Manor (also known as The Girl in the Photograph) and I am now a fan! She has such a compelling way of writing evocative thrillers that just grab you and don’t let go. This latest one is no exception.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I think this is a book that you should absolutely go into as blind as possible to experience it for all it’s worth. The writing is absolutely beautiful and really grabs you, at times hauntingly breathtaking. It is so atmospheric and at times even claustrophobic that I found my heart racing and I loved that.
The characters are so well-drawn and I loved the relationships that we see explored here. There is definitely the idea of toxic mother-daughter relationships and I definitely had some suspicions as to what had happened but I never saw some of the developments that ended up happening and I loved being so caught off guard.
This book is full of family secrets and a mystery and it quickly sucks you in. It moves back and forth in time from the present to the past and I felt that just as we were getting to the interesting reveals, we would switch time lines…but that only made me want to keep reading/listening. Isn’t that always the sign of a good book? One that you just cannot put down?
I really love Kate Riordan’s writing and I highly recommend adding this one to your summer list. I don’t know how I have only read the two of her books so far…I definitely plan on remedying that soon!
Audio thoughts: I ended up listening to this book and it was done so well. Miranda Raison is a new narrator to me, but I thought she did such a fantastic job with this audio. She kept the tension high and was able to give each character their own unique voice. Her pacing and intonation was spot on and I loved listening to her speak French through-out even though I didn’t really understand most of it…her accent seemed authentic.