Here to Stay by Mark Edwards #BookReview

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A beautiful home. A loving wife. And in-laws to die for.

Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.

The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .

As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?

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Wowzers! Now this is a bloody good book. I really didn’t expect to like it so much, but I had such a great time reading this, it was so satisfying!

It didn’t start off with a bang though but rather average which means I liked the first part of the novel well enough but Elliot is playing the part of a very naive guy much longer than I thought possible as (even) I could see it a mile coming that Jeff and Lizzy, Gemma’s parents who happen to stay with them for a few weeks, were not the in-laws to dream about. I don’t know what gave it away exactly, their nosiness, trying to suss whether Elliot was wealthy (asking questions about money is so not done, is it not), the fact that they have no respect for his home, or the worst of all, that one of them complains about the cat (how dare they!) and possibly locked the cat flap. There were so many triggers that I’d have my guard up in a flash but Elliot has a bigger heart than I have, there’s no doubt about that. All three of these examples out of so many more would make me pack up their bags and tell them to go fly. Easier said then done though come to think of it. What if your house guests don’t want to go?

The novel really switches gears when it finally dawns on Elliot that something is off and he finally gets that it might be a bit of a problem to get rid of them. The real fun starts then! The Robinsons feel right at home and with nowhere else to go, why wouldn’t they stay?

I never ever in a million years imagined it would be so difficult to get someone out of your house. I wondered how accurate that was because it felt quite unbelievable and I would have asked around if it wasn’t for this lockdown (imagine that being the case in this novel!) but I accepted it for that time being and I googled it after I finished the novel. It seems I wasn’t the only one interested in that answer and I found a (US) post that confirms it, the police can’t do much if they play it right and it can be pretty difficult to evict an unwanted guest

I felt for Elliot and held my breath more than once, not least because I was scared the cat would get hurt in the process (I can’t even recount how many times I said ugly words out loud while reading!) and wanted nothing more than the Robinsons (well Jeff and Lizzy at least, I felt pity for the younger daughter Chloe) getting a piece of their own cake. Oh how I wanted the repulsive people that they were to get theirs. I refuse to feel guilty and actually find it quite funny how worked up I got about them. It was great to hate them so much and to follow the power plays going on because luckily and thankfully, Elliot isn’t prepared to just roll over and give up the rights on his own house. This unsettling and threatening vibe that something or someone is going to have to give is driven to the max towards the ending and there was more than one surprise in store in those final chapters that made me punch the air and left me lost for words all in the matter of turning a few pages.

Here to Stay is a terrifying novel that makes you appreciate your own family that little bit more than before. You don’t want to imagine this scenario coming true! Here to Stay has a wicked plot that was brilliantly executed and his next novel, The House Guest sounds like your next perfect nightmare.

Last bit of advice from me after reading this: choose your in-laws wisely to avoid all risk.  

I bought a hardback copy of this novel at the Capital Crime Festival in 2019 (and Mark Edwards happens to be the first author I ever met, so I couldn’t be happier now). This is my honest opinion.

23 thoughts on “Here to Stay by Mark Edwards #BookReview

  1. Too late for that warning! 😂 I feel my in laws are not that bad. I mean they still drag their nose in our life but can’t do much about that. I’m Indian and Indian families don’t live separately from their parents even though in 70% cases they don’t get along! But this is definitely creepy. I don’t like when my in-laws keep giving their advices in everything on phone, I can’t imagine if this happen in real. I would have gone mad. Great review! I’m already curious how Elliott got rid of them.

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    • Haha. Oh so the boy moves in with the girl and her parents or can you choose with whose parents you like to live most? It’s interesting because entirely different from here. Maybe you should read it just to see how you can count your blessings with your in-laws. Thank you sweetie!

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      • No girl moves with boy and if boy is living with his parents you have to live with them. But now-a-days girls rarely get along with in-laws and boys and girls buy/rent another home to live. But no escaping in-laws, you have to attend birthdays and marriage and all festivals (I tell you there are lot of festivals). Plus here old generation hardly understand meaning of privacy, need of space and freedom as well. Patriarchy is so deep in Indians’ blood. You’re expected to do all the chores without help from men, even if you both have job. I remember a day when my father-in-law talked to me rudely when I didn’t get a glass of water for him as soon as he came home in the evening or something. (as if it wasn’t his home and he couldn’t walk 4 steps more for water) You see why it’s not easy to live with in-laws in India. Now we live in different state, they in different with my husband’s younger brother. apparently, they don’t like the city we live in as nobody speak/understand our mother tongue and we (well, on both side) don’t get along for more than 15 days.

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      • It’s really interesting to hear about the way it works in India. Good thing you put some distance between you and the fam. I guess all parents feel the need to give (well-meant but not always welcome) advice though, you’ll probably do the same with your daughter 😉

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      • it’s not just about advice it’s mindset and gap. Well, it’s better with a bit distance. Yes it’s interesting and we are equally fascinated by different customs and cultures outside India. Indians are slowly adapting few things, like live-in. It isn’t acceptable here by most people but elites and upper middle class has started live-in relationship.

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  2. Elliot definitely has more patience than I would have!! I remember looking up the subject on the Internet and was horrified to learn it was all true! I am so happy you enjoyed the novel as much as I did. Here to Stay makes me happy I’m single, haha!!! Fabulous review!!!
    Ps: AND THOSE MEMORIES WITH MARK!!! ❤️

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  3. I think this kind of subject works well, because there have been cases like this, and it makes us stop and think, how would we cope? Glad it gave you the chills, in the best possible way, Inge. Not sure though if it will be something, in the end, that I will read.

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    • I had absolutely no idea it could be so difficult (or why someone would stay if they’re not welcome), definitely an eye-opener. I found it hugely entertaining too to see how both parties made their moves :-). I have high hopes for his next novel now so maybe I can entice you with that one in the future 🙂

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  4. Whoops somehow missed this review… I’m so happy we ended up having a similar experience with Here To Stay! I’ve never felt more incomfortable while reading a story, only to love the whole experience anyway haha. Wonderful review! xx

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