By: Robyn Harding
Publication Date: 06/23/20
My Rating: 5 Stars ++ Top Books of 2020 Q&A with the Author 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.
“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.
"Evilicious — Something EVIL that is so COMPELLING it CONSUMES you!"
Just when you thought Robyn Harding could not possibly top her previous books: The Arrangement, Her Pretty Face, and The Party (all five stars)— she returns with her BEST yet!
Chilling, dark, intense, and oh, so evil!
The author is a mastermind when it comes to creating evil characters hiding behind a facade of glamour. THE SWAP is a smart, wickedly plotted psychological thriller packed with dark juicy surprises. Who will win in the end?
Atmospheric and hypnotic, set on an isolated island in the Pacific Northwest, we meet a cast of intriguing characters.
Settle in because once you start reading, it will be hours and hours later before you look up. THE SWAP is captivating, and it will consume you, the well-developed characters, the skillful writing, and the dark humor.
Meet Low Morrison (Swallow). (laugh out loud scenes about the name). She does not seem to fit in. She is living with a family of hippie parents in a commune who partake in free love, sex, and pot. All the kids at school think she is weird, and she wants to belong. She is embarrassed.
When shes this glamorous ethereal goddess walk in her school, she must learn everything about this fabulous creature. Freya lives in a beautiful cliffside ocean mansion and married to a former famous hockey star (also a hunk-Max), and a fall from grace after a tragedy.
Freya was once a famous social media influencer; however, after her hubby's downfall, the couple has moved to this isolated island for a new start, and Freya has a pottery studio.
Low signs up for her pottery class and is mesmerized by Freya, and becomes obsessed and cast under her spell. Dying to escape her dreary home life, she spends all of her time at Freya's pottery studio. She stalks, and all she thinks about is Freya.
However, when another couple moves into town with their secret past (Jamie and Bryan), Low is jealous and cannot tolerate anyone coming in the way of her relationship with Freya.
Jamie is the owner of a local shop that sells Freya's pottery, so Low decides to take a part-time to keep an eye on the newfound BFFs. Jamie soon becomes obsessed with Freya as well.
Both Low and Jamie seem to be under Freya's spell. They will do anything almost as a drug to be around his creature.
However, under the beauty lies evil, darkness, violence, and a sociopath. She manipulates and plays people. She is toxic, mysterious, selfish, and self-centered.
However, Low also has a dark side, and how far will she be pushed before she cracks? She is jealous, envious, and insecure. She also has a few tricks up her sleeve and maybe just as disturbed as Freya.
She knows her crush is cruel and manipulative, but this makes her love her more.
Things take a turn when Freya and Max have Jamie and Brian over for a fun night of mushrooms. Freya manipulates, and there is a SWAP. Jamie desperately wants a baby and has been scammed in the past. Freya never wants to become a mother, because she's a narcissist and too self-centered.
There are secrets, lies, betrayal. Low is determined to get leverage to come out on top. She needs to be a top priority in Freya's life. She stalks, plans, schemes. Freya dismisses her.
Nothing will stop her and even comes up with a brilliant plan to get back into her good graces.
Low uses her killer photographer skills to get back into Freya's good graces. They will become a team and back into the Instagram social media influencers. However, things do not go as planned.
An addictive and delicious evil game of cat and mouse. Freya, Max, Low, Jamie, and Brian.
Who is the cat, and who is the mouse?
OMG! Holy Moly, what an addictive thriller! Out of this world entertaining. A perfect distraction and escape from reality with all the things we are experiencing today in our everyday lives.
THE SWAP is complex and multi-layered. Sexy and edgy. The pottery was a nice touch. It is so much more than I could ever dream. Not only was it intense, heart-pounding, and riveting, it is brimming with superb writing, dynamite, and evil characters, and the dark humor was brilliant.
Max was a very dark and mysterious character and reminded me a bit of "Ranger" in the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series. Freya was one evil badass sociopath. Jamie's naive character was a perfect opposite for Freya and Max. Brian, the mild mannered author also gets caught up in the game. Low was one of my favorite characters. I thought the scenes with her and the drug store photo guy, Thompson were hilarious!
If you are looking for a smashing psychological thriller that has it all, look no further. THE SWAP — five glowing stars and Top Books of 2020. A movie 🎬 or series, PLEASE!
For fans of authors: Kaira Rouda, Mary Kubica, Kimberly Belle, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Wendy Walker, Michele Campbell, and Victoria Helen Stone. Highly Recommend!
A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
Elevator Q&A Ride with the Author
"In this intense character study, the veneer of each person cracks, and Freya’s propensity for violence erupts. Fans of psychological thrillers will be satisfied."
"A new book from Harding is always a treat."
"Most Anticipated New Reads of June 2020" —Get Literary
“Two young couples. One remote island. And a night that goes too far. What could possibly go wrong? Robyn Harding’s The Swap is everything I’ve come to love about her books—provocative, sexy, and full of surprises!” — Wendy Walker, nationally bestselling author of The Night Before
"A provocative edgy thriller. Just when you think you've have a handle on it . . . You don't. Will keep you thinking and reading until the last page."
—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife
“Robyn Harding has upped her game with the page-turning and completely riveting The Swap. Harding deftly explores toxic friendship, desire, and obsession in this engrossing novel, in which two couples—one a glittering pair of former celebrities, the other stalwart high school sweethearts—become entangled in a web of secrets and jealousy. This is a clear-your-night-and-read-in-one-sitting book!”
— Kathleen Barber, author of Are You Sleeping and Follow Me
"Robyn Harding is an expert at slowly building creeping dread and The Swap was no exception. In what is undoubtedly her best book yet, Harding explores toxic friendships, obsession, and swinging, bringing a lonely, slightly sociopathic teenager into center of it all. The outcome is explosive, sexy, and completely absorbing. The Swap is guaranteed to be a must read this summer!"
— Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year and In Her Bones
"Gripping from the first line, The Swap is a wickedly delicious, addictive, utterly compelling read about obsession, toxic relationships, and dangerous secrets. I devoured every dark, twisted word until the last explosive scene. An absolute must-read, this suspense will shock and rivet readers through each masterful page."
— Samantha M. Bailey, bestselling author of Woman on the Edge
About the Author
Robyn Harding is the author of several novels including the international bestseller, The Party, and wrote and executive produced an independent film.
She lives in Vancouver, BC, with her family. Visit her at RobynHarding.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @RHardingWriter or Facebook @AuthorRobynHarding.
Photo Credit: Photograph by Tallulah