BLOG TOUR – The Lodger by Valerie Keogh

You know that saying, “No good deed goes unpunished”? This was a recurring thought in the back of my mind throughout this book, as one thing after another goes wrong for main character Leigh Simon after she kindly offers a room in her home to Gina, the barista at the coffee shop that she frequents most mornings on the way to work.

Leigh lives mostly on her own, except for weekends when her boyfriend Matt comes to stay. But lately she’s been wondering how her life got so off track. She doesn’t remember the last time she was genuinely happy. Her job, which she’s only been at for a few months isn’t what she expected and she has a colleague whose inappropriate behaviour is starting to make her extremely uncomfortable. The fact that he’s her superior has put her in a difficult position as, being the newbie, she didn’t want to cause any friction, so didn’t say anything to bring attention to the situation which has gradually escalated, making her realise that not speaking up earlier was a big mistake. In addition to this, she’s wondering if her relationship with Matt is headed in the right direction. She’s starting to notice that things seem quite one-sided: always on his terms and she’s forgotten what it’s like to feel carefree and relaxed.

On one of her regular morning visits to her favourite coffee spot, she notices that Gina, one of the baristas, is not her usually sunny self. She asks her what’s wrong and when Gina tells her that she needs to move out of her current flat-share and doesn’t have anywhere else to go that she’ll be able to afford, on a whim, Leigh invites her to move in with her. Immediately, she wonders why on earth she’s made such a ridiculous offer! She knows Matt is going to be furious about it. But she thinks maybe some of Gina’s happy, sunshine nature will rub off on her, and that it will be good to have some positive energy in the house.

From the get-go, things with Gina do seem a little “off” but Leigh does her best to ignore it all. She has problems of her own. The situation at work has become intolerable and when things there get out of hand and she is told to go away on an anger management course, she has no choice but to comply. When she returns home though, things really do take a turn for the weird! Is Leigh paranoid? Is someone trying to just scare her, or do they really want to harm her? And who could possibly want to play with her head so badly that she thinks she’s losing her mind?

What a brilliant page-turner this is! I literally couldn’t put it down and read it almost in one sitting. Leigh starts off as someone who simply has a problem or two, but then things spiral out of control to such a degree that she becomes a completely unreliable witness to her own life, and the reader gets to watch it all happen! And it’s all perfectly understandable! If any of this were to happen to a perfectly sane person, they’d be bound to lose their mind and doubt everything and everyone in their life eventually. I really did feel for Leigh – yes, she made a rash decision, and possibly could have done a couple of other things differently, but overall, she’s just someone trying to live her life in the best way possible. I even ended up liking Gina – you’ll have to read the book to find out why!

The author is clever with her characterisation, deliberately masking true personalities, leaving the reader wondering as to the true nature of some of the players until the time comes to reveal what they’re really like. It’s twisty and convoluted and rather dark, but it’s a highly recommended 5 star read! Thank you RaRa Resources for the Blog Tour …

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