The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas book review

I was kindly bought The Couple at No. 9 by my partner for Valentine’s Day. Nothing saying romance like a selection of books, hey? Anyway, The Couple at No. 9 received a lot of comments when I posted the original image to my Instagram story so I was keen to pick it up and start reading it.

Man standing holding a couple of The Couple at No. 9 in front of a bookshelf,
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The Couple at No. 9 is a book focused on a fresh young couple who move into a cottage belonging to one of their grandmothers. It’s a cottage that sees them starting a new life in a remote village outside of London with plenty of optimism for the future and an exciting time ahead doing up the ageing building. However, a discovery changes all of that.

The Couple at No. 9 plot – 4.5/5

Saffy and her boyfriend, Tom move into Saffy’s grandmother’s cottage after she moves into a nursing community after being diagnosed with dementia- making them “The Couple at No. 9”. Saffy and Tom are excited to get started with their new lives but when a human bone is dug up and then two bodies are found in their garden, a huge police investigation gets underway and their lives get turned upside down.

Throughout the whole story there’s a narrative that somehow, their grandmother is involved or knows more than maybe she can let on about the two bodies in the back of her garden. She has dementia and so struggles to clearly remember things, however when certain names or words cause response from her, the plot thickens and things start to get a bit scary for Saffy.

The book is told from the point of view of Saffy, Lorna (her mother) and Rose (her grandmother). Rose’s timeline is told when she was younger and Lorna and Saffy’s is told in the present day. The timelines eventually end up intertwining very cleverly and build up a great send of tension towards the end of the book.

I had my suspicions about the plot as I was trying to work it all out from early on and so when it all began to round up, it felt incredibly satisfying to have been in tune with the plot the whole way through. There are a lot of audible “oh my god” moments in the plot and if you don’t see it coming, the twist is very good.

The Couple at No. 9 characters – 4/5

Often in thrillers like The Couple at No. 9, characters aren’t at the forefront of the author’s mind as there’s so much focus on making the story enjoyable and clever. The story is very enjoyable very clever and luckily, the characters don’t hinder too much here. There’s a lot of background and resulting personality to each character. Saffy may not be the most enjoyable bundle of joy but we only really read about her when she’s going through a very stressful time in her life, so we wouldn’t expect her to be.

Lorna is an enjoyable addition – she’s Saffy’s slightly off the chain mother who hasn’t really settled down anywhere and so adds impulsive decisions, passion and a little bit of humour to the proceedings that evolve.

Everybody in this book has their own distinct personality, they have their own beliefs, passions and lines of disagreement and it definitely adds to what is a very well crafted plot.

The Couple at No. 9 summary – 4/5

I was quite tempted to give The Couple at No. 9 five stars. It’s a book that will keep you gripped throughout, keep you asking questions and find yourself utterly fascinated by the fictional story going on. However, because I guessed the plot and the characters weren’t quite as enjoyable as they could have been, it’s a four from me.

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