Title: The Swap
Author: Robyn Harding
Published: July 8th 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 stars
Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her dreary, isolated island hometown. Whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in – and neither does newcomer Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer.
After signing up for Freya’s pottery class, Low quickly falls under her spell. Buoyed by Low’s adoration, Freya is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, Low feels a sense of belonging … until Jamie walks through the studio door. Freya, Jamie and their husbands become fast friends, 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, but instead, it upends their lives.
And provides Low with the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.
‘The whole mess seemed unfathomable. How had one night of fun and debauchery upended our lives? Threatened our marriages and destroyed our friendships?’
Fixation, image, deception, betrayal, jealousy, longing and rapture dominates the compounding new novel from Robyn Harding. A suggestive and licentious title, The Swap penetrates the depths of female friendship, the boundaries of marriage and resentment. Each page is as indulgent as the one prior and The Swap engulfs the reader in this destructive morality based tale.
Who could predict that one night of indulgent fun, could lead to such a dangerous ending? Low Morrison is no ordinary teenage girl. Low becomes embroiled in the exploits of Freya, an adult social influencer, who manipulates anyone and anything in her path. It is a deadly relationship between the teen and the beauty, but Low is susceptible to this woman’s fake charms. Low cannot resist Freya’s seductive ways and she will do anything for Freya, until another woman blocks her pathway. When Jamie enters Freya’s world, a solid friendship quickly follows, followed by a night of passion, where some experimentation occurs and the friends swap partners for the evening. This ill-fated choice will have long standing implications for all involved. It sends Low spiraling down a stairway of jealously and revenge. For Freya, Jamie and their respective partners, things will never be the same again.
The Swap is my first taste of the writing of Robyn Harding and boy I loved it! Thankfully, I have all three of Harding’s previous releases sitting on my TBR shelves begging to be read, so I will definitely be indulging in these titles very soon. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Swap, along with Robyn Harding’s writing style, it managed to suck me right in and it didn’t let up until the final word had passed.
There are some pretty detestable characters in The Swap, but to be honest this didn’t bother me as I found their actions so interesting to follow. I couldn’t wait to turn page after page of The Swap and it wasn’t long before I realised I had knocked this off in a sitting, I only stopped for dinner! There is something addictive and unputdownable about the story, as well as the writing style of Robyn Harding. No matter how hard I tried to put a stop to this book it commanded me to read chapter after chapter. It was voyeuristic, decadent, wicked and even humorous at times. The balance between indulgent contemporary fiction and despicable characters really pushed me to read The Swap in a continuous fashion. The pace was wonderfully spaced, the narrative featured a number of well-timed twists and there were lots of questionable acts that the characters performed that perplexed me!
There are controversial themes that flow through The Swap. From alternative parenting, inappropriate relations, infidelity, sexual experimentation, obsession, betrayal, lies, duplicity, social media fixation, fake news, parental neglect, envy, control, resentment, revenge, custody rights and murder, Harding covers plenty of contentious ground. We are often doubtful of the characters and their true motivations, as well as their feelings, but it is fun to be in the thick of the action. It is an enthralling race to the conclusion, which comes complete with an explosive and just ending. Expect the unexpected with The Swap, you won’t regret it!
To learn more about the author of The Swap, Robyn Harding, visit here.
*I wish to thank Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.