The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater
Publishing Date: 16th May 2019
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 448
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
From bestselling author Carol Drinkwater, comes an epic story of enduring love and betrayal, from Paris in the 1960s, to the present day.
No one else knows what happened that summer. Or so she believes . . .
Grace first came to France a lifetime ago. Young and full of dreams of adventure, she met two very different men.
She fell under the spell of one. The other fell under hers.
Until one summer night shattered everything . . .
Now, Grace is living an idyllic life with her husband, sheltered from the world in a magnificent Provençal villa, perched atop a windswept cliff.
Every day she looks out over the sea – the only witness to that fateful night years ago.
Until a stranger arrives at the house. A stranger who knows everything, and won’t leave until he gets what he wants.
The past and present spectacularly collide in this gripping story of love and betrayal echoing across the decades.
Grace fell in love with France almost a lifetime ago, when she was 16 year old girl and came there with her boyfriend Peter. Full of life and dreams then, now living a happy life in the idyllic home on the beautiful coast of Provence with – yes, Peter! However, this idyll is to be shattered with the appearance of a strange man. But is he really so strange? Did Grace used to know him and believed him to have drowned? As the past comes back to haunt Grace, she’s forced to re – examine what has happened all those years ago and at the same time to keep her family safe. Will she manage?
The characters are masterfully written and developed, and while I personally didn’t fell for them all, I nevertheless appreciated them. I must admit that I much more liked them as the adult versions from their younger ones. Grace is our main character and narrator of the story and her voice is distinctive, and there is something confessional in it, she’s not holding back, we get to know the whole truth.
The scenes set in the 1960’s in Paris were very detailed and felt as if they might have been autobiographical perhaps? So many details and so many insider knowledge were there. However, to be totally honest, these scenes were for me very slow going, I much preferred the storyline set in the present, the past simply focused too much and heavily on history and politics and it just didn’t grab me. In the end, I found myself skimming through those parts without a feeling that I’m missing on something. As the story progresses though, it gets darker and more serious, and I had a feeling that something really bad is going to happen.
Carol Drinkwater’s writing style is exquisite and her attention to the smallest details is incredible. The descriptions of nature, food, sea, weather but also feelings and emotions that were milling about on the pages of this book were mesmerizing. The setting of the story, especially the part set in France, is beautiful and I can’t imagine a better one for this book. I loved the idea of the lone house on a cliff, it was a brilliant setting for this story. The house was actually a character of its own, with its history and it changing hands in the family, being a place where everybody feels safe and loved.
There are for sure some twists throughout the story that, in the end, finishes with a satisfying conclusion. Sadly, though, this story didn’t appeal to me as much as I hoped it would – there is no particular reason for this, sometimes it works like this. It was full of dark secrets, misunderstandings and tension, riddled with tragedy. It was a multi – layered story, going back and forth in time. I really, really liked to see how the past has made the characters who they are in the present, to be a witness to all the changes, to watch them changing, making mistakes, growing and maturing. The writing style is descriptive and eloquent, and brings everything the author writes about to life. “The House on the Edge of the Cliff” was a very atmospheric novel about obsession, love, hate, betrayal, guilt and forgiveness.
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