The Family Game — Book Review

C.L. Reece
4 min readNov 24, 2022

There is nothing quite like a fun psychological thriller that has you on the edge of your seat — and that’s exactly how I found myself the first week of November, while reading Catherine Steadman’s brand-new release, The Family Game. I finished this book in two days, and I would have much sooner if I had not needed to go back to work early the next day. While this book is full of suspense and mystery, it still has a layer of lightheartedness despite it being labeled a “thriller,” and in fact, I only chose it as my monthly read from my Book of the Month subscription, based on the book’s description and colorful design. The dark and spooky mansion on the cover made me think of the mansions you see in old movies and families from the early 1900s, and I immediately thought of a darker and modern version of Downton Abbey. It was not until I finished the novel and googled the author, that I realized she was in fact an actress from Season 5.

This page-turning suspense story centers around a writer, her fiancé, and her fiancé’s dark and mysterious family over the holiday season. The story focuses on the character of Harriet Reed, a writer whose latest book has become a bestseller. Her personal life is going just as successfully, as she has recently become engaged to the love of her life, Edward Holbeck, and they are expecting their first child. With the news of the upcoming engagement and baby, Edward slowly begins to introduce Harriet to his family, a family she knows little about, and per Edward, are difficult, controlling, and different from other families.

However, as Harriet soon discovers, becoming a Holbeck not only comes with uncomfortable situations, but dangerous ones, and as the holiday season arrives, Harriet is confronted with the challenge of meeting and spending quality time with Edward’s family- a famously private family known for their wealth, secrets, and power. As Harriet discovers, while they are well-known, many details of the family are still a mystery, as the Holbeck family does not simply let anyone into their inner circle.

However, it is much to Harriet’s surprise, that the Holbeck family appears nothing but friendly and welcoming upon meeting them, and soon, Harriet quickly finds herself drawn into their lavish world and getting a crash-course in all things Holbeck: their history, business, traditions…

C.L. Reece

Freelance Writer, History, True Crime and Unsolved Mysteries, Educator, Doctorate in Education, Follow me on instagram @piecesofclreece