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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Family Guest

Narrators: Lynn Norri, Cecily Bednar Schmidt Hachette UK - Bookouture

ISBN: 9781837906864

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 09/21/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

Long blonde hair. Sparkling dark eyes. Perfect pearly-white teeth. I’ve never met her before but I know exactly who she is as I spot her through the crowds of the terminal. Because our new guest is the spitting image of the daughter we lost. And that’s exactly why I chose her.

From the moment our exchange student Tanya comes into our home, I feel like my daughter has come back to life. Tanya, with her long blonde hair and slender frame, looks so much like Anabel that sometimes I can almost pretend she didn’t die in that tragic accident.

Tanya really is the perfect guest – kind, polite, and always happy to help me in the kitchen. At last, a member of the family who compliments my beautiful house and enjoys my homemade dinners. And when she asks questions about my life, I feel I’ve finally found someone I can confide in.

My younger teenage daughter, Paige, isn’t so happy about our guest. She thinks it’s weird that Tanya looks like Anabel, and she hates it when she wears her sister’s old clothes. But then again Paige and Anabel always had a strained relationship… And I’m certain that having another teenage girl in the house will help heal our family.

But now Paige is insisting I check Tanya’s records. She’s become convinced Tanya isn’t who she says she is. But I learnt a long time ago that sometimes it’s best not ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to. And I definitely don’t want Paige pulling this thread… because I’m growing suspicious that our new guest Tanya might have a secret. But I’m certain it is nothing in comparison to mine…

The absolutely unputdownable, page-turning and twisty psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the very last page. Perfect for readers who love gripping suspense and fans of Freida McFadden’s The Housemaid, The Girl on the Train and Colleen Hoover’s Verity.

My Review

THE FAMILY GUEST is a juicy domestic suspense with jaw-dropping twists of dark family secrets where the past and present collide. Author Nelle Lamarr cleverly weaves a labyrinth of deception, manipulation, and wicked family secrets for an utterly absorbing tale of revenge and obsession.


Meet the Merritt family. Natalie and Matt with children, Paige and Will with dog Bear. They are wealthy, and Matt comes from old money. Natalie married into money with a secret past. She likes the lifestyle, but how long will she put up with her husband's behavior? There is more she does not know yet. The older sister (15 months older than Paige), Anabel, died from a mysterious accident two years earlier, and Natalie had a breakdown. Anabel was the mom's favorite.

Set in Los Angeles, as the book opens, the family is at the airport to pick up Tanya, their new foreign exchange student, staying with them. She is tall and blonde, looks like a supermodel, and resembles Anabel. Is Natalie looking for a replacement daughter?

As they settle in, Natalie and Tanya bond. Tanya slowly turns out to be a nightmare to Paige and Will. She is manipulative and creepy and begins gaslighting Paige. They think something is off, and Paige and her brother (love these two- the dynamic duo) begin sleuthing and discover Tanya is not who she appears. They must gather more information. What does she want with their family?

Tanya has snowed her mom and dad but not the grandmother (Matt's mom). We slowly learn of Natalie and Matt's relationship and what happened with Annabel. What about Natalie's past?

Paige and Will are in danger as they get closer to the truth. Tanya is a character that you will despise! Told from alternating POVs: Paige, Natalie, and epilogue from Tiffany. Red herrings and many twists keep you glued to the pages to discover how this mystery suspense will turn out.

Diabolical, delightfully wicked fun! A chilling glimpse behind the façade of the perfect family.

AUDIOBOOK: I enjoyed the e-book and the audiobook, narrated by Lynn Norris and Cecily Bednar, which were exceptional for all the voices. Engaging! I highly recommend audio!

I adored Paige, Will, and the grandmother, Marjorie (the pearls)—my favorite characters. I enjoyed the author's writing, which was crisp, fast-moving, a psychological thriller blended with dark humor, making you laugh out loud.

Not sure which character was more evil: Matt, Natalie, or Tanya. I'm not sure how Pagie and Will turned out to be so normal and smart! Tanya is a character readers will love to hate with her teen drama and manipulation. For fans of authors Freida McFadden, Miranda Rijks, Emily Shiner, Kimberly Belle, and Kaira Rouda. My first book by the author, and I look forward to reading more.

Thanks to Bookouture, Hachette UK, and NetGalley for a gifted e-ARC and ALC for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Sept 21, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars

UPCOMING: More on the above with a forthcoming blog post. Exceptional 5-Star Psychological Suspense/Thriller/Fiction titles & authors by Bookouture!

For now, my reviews & more:

THE PERFECT PATIENT Luana Lewis 28 Sept 2023

THE BABY LEFT BEHIND Jen Craven 20 Sept 2023

THE FAMILY GUEST Nelle Lamarr 21 Sept 2023

About the Author

Nelle Lamarr is the pen name for Nelle L’Amour, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has sold over 350,000 books worldwide. Her books feature flawed, complex characters and nail-biting twists you won’t see coming. A former executive in the entertainment industry, she lives in Los Angeles with her Prince Charming-ish husband, beautiful twin princesses, and a bevy of royal pain-in-the-butt pets. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading gripping thrillers by her favorite authors with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. READ MORE







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