Thanks to Galley Books for the free copies in exchange for our honest reviews
THE SWAP – Robyn Harding (Released June 30th, 2020)
You can see our thoughts on Harding’s other releases: HER PRETTY FACE (here) and THE ARRANGEMENT (here)
“No list of thrillers is complete without Robyn Harding,” proclaims Real Simple. Now the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Party delivers a riveting tale about the toxic relationship between two couples after a night of sexual shenanigans, and the manipulative teenager with an explosive secret at the center of it all.
Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.
After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.
Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.
Robyn Harding brings her acclaimed storytelling, lauded as “fast-paced, thrilling, gut-wrenching” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six, to this dark and suspenseful thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Lisa Jewell.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars
Island living and the manipulation is REAL. Freya, Freya, Freya….. you’ve all met her before haven’t you? That seemingly perfect person with that magnetism that draws everyone – and you know it’s not healthy, but you can’t help but want to be a part of her life, her world…. HER.
This is my fourth Harding book and she continues to give us one-sit reads that you just canNOT pull yourself away from. This book is chock full of deceit, manipulation, sex, drugs, partner swaps and spineless men with insecurities that fuel the women to do whatever they need or want to… and while the eye of the storm is Freya, it’s Low who is the main character and most complex. Goodness gracious!
I did have some issues with this book – it got a bit too convoluted but hell, that’s what made it so damn fun to read. You’d think the partner swapping would make the threesome or foursome the main focus but the threesome you need to keep an eye on are between the women. Debauchery galore and WHY OH WHY do these women keep yo-yo-ing back to the same damn thing. I mean, I get it but I don’t. Know what I mean? Ha – probably not but really y’all… if you like insanity, short chapters and insane women you want to scream at, you need to pick this book up. For entertainment value alone, this is a winner.
My Thoughts: 5/5 stars
Yet another book by Robyn Harding that I finished in a day! There’s just something so addictive about her writing and I can never get myself to put her books down once I start. THE SWAP is her fourth book and, like her previous releases, this one is full of little twists, lies, and she has you constantly questioning the motives of the characters. We get multiple POV’s and a singular timeline that spans about a year.
We meet a high school senior named Swallow, but she goes by Low for obvious reasons (we all know how high school seniors can turn that into a joke). She sees a woman come into her school and post fliers for pottery classes, and Low’s budding curiosity with the woman prompts her to join the class. With this begins the odd relationship between Low and Freya. Low becomes infatuated, and even obsessed, with Freya and her husband Max. The couple is trying to leave their dark past behind them by starting over on the small island town. The budding relationship gives them something they both crave and fights off the loneliness they both experience.
However, when Jamie enters the picture, Low realizes her place in Freya’s life is threatened. How far will her obsession push her? Jamie and her husband, Brian, become fast friends with Freya and her husband Max. One night changes everything after Freya initiates a partner swap during a mushroom fueled dinner party. Their lives become intertwined in ways they never imagined but Jamie is so dependent on Freya’s friendship that will do whatever is necessary to keep it strong.
Freya is such an awful person. A master at manipulating everyone around her and is the definition of a narcissist. Reeling people in, pushing them away with her awful behavior, and then reeling them back in again with her charm and charisma. Jamie and Low are just unfortunate enough to get caught up in her web. I was pretty satisfied with how things ended, things were tied up nicely and I feel like all characters got what they deserved (good or bad). It’s hard to say which of her books I like best but what I do know is that Harding firmly remains an auto-buy author for me!