Rebecca McCormick. Powered by Blogger.

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings - Review

Friday, February 10, 2023

I bought this book on Kindle when it was only 99p or such, back in November 2022. I picked it up in late January. My grandma died and when I'm stressed I always find it difficult to read anything hard, so I tend to pick up crime fiction because I find it easy to read. I did find this book easy but unfortunately I didn't enjoy it very much. It's funny how that can happen, isn't it. I felt like I had read this book before, or something very similar to it. It just felt a bit trite and cliched. 

So, the bulk of the novel is set in 1986. Tamsyn lives in St Just with her mum, Angie, who is struggling to keep the family afloat, her brother Jago, and their grandfather, who is dying of silicosis thanks to his work in the mines for years. Tamsyn and Jago's dad, Rob, was drowned one evening in a storm five years ago when he, as a lifeboat volunteer, went out to try to rescue some people in trouble. Tamsyn has never got over this, and she is obsessed with her dad's last afternoon, when he took her up to the Cliff House, a big white house overlooking the bay, and they broke into the garden and swam in the pool. Because of this, she spends her time spying on the new owners of the house from a vantage point a little bit away, armed with her binoculars. 

Max and Eleanor Davenport are out of towners who have bought the house as a holiday home. On the surface, their life looks perfect. They're both beautiful and spend most of their time sunbathing and drinking cocktails on the patio. Angie, Tamsyn's mum, is their cleaner, so Tamsyn can steal a key and let herself into the house when they're not there. She does this on one occasion and finds Edie, their daughter, there instead. She is a year older than Tamsyn and has been expelled from her fancy school. She dresses goth, she gave herself a tattoo, and Tamsyn quickly becomes obsessed with her. 

Edie kind of does want to be friends with her, but it's obvious that she is very broken and quickly tires of Tamsyn and strings her along. Edie also has a huge crush on Jago, who has been hired to paint the fence. It is clear things aren't right between Eleanor and Max, too, and that Eleanor has substance abuse problems.

Interspersed with the main narrative are bits set in 'the present day' which I assumed from the beginning were from Tamsyn's point of view, but it's not obvious who she means when she talks about 'we'. The resolution of this did miss me a bit, I didn't feel it rang true particularly. 

I am giving the book three out of five because it just seemed so cliched and like something I had read before. It also didn't ring quite true for me that it was set in 1986. There was nothing particularly anachronistic and out of place, but it just felt wrong. 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blogger news


Most Read