title: The Swap
author: Robyn Harding
release date: June 23, 2020
setting: an island in the Pacific Norethwest
publisher: Gallery Books
genres: mystery, domestic thriller, contemporary
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for my DRC in exchange for my honest review.
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.
Wow! I feel so many things about this book. This was my first read from Robyn Harding and I am very eager to read more from her. I am having a hard time processing the precipice of feelings I have for this read. How wonderful that Harding could have me so engaged in a story about a group of people, of which I despise every one of them. We have five main characters here in this little island world. Low, a lonely teen finding comfort in the wrong kind of people. We have Jamie and her husband Brian, who move to the island to start over after one too many blows in the inability to conceive department. We have Max, an shamed and shunned ex hockey player with a violent past. And then we have his wife, Freya, the core of the group; the one that everyone revolves around like her own sick little gallery. As I said, I didn't like any of the characters. They all seemed to me like the worst versions of themselves. There were moments interspersed when I either understood their motives or their actions pertaining to a certain event, but as a whole, these people were the worst, with Freya being the ABSOLUTE worst. But, with not connecting to any of these individuals, I thoroughly enjoyed the story! This was all based in lies and manipulations. Each person was either doing something untoward to another for the sake of their own happiness, or blindly ignoring certain things others were doing in order to hold onto something for themselves, whether or not it was a toxicity to themselves. So frustrating, but something I couldn't put down!