Friday 11 May 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Cliff House - Amanda Jennings

Some friendships are made to be broken
Cornwall, summer of 1986.
The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.
If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.
If only her life was as perfect as theirs.
If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.
If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

What did I think?

Amanda Jennings is a new author for me, although I did buy a copy of In Her Wake quite some time ago; it's sitting in my bookcase winking at me right now and I'm silently promising to read it soon.  I suppose I am in quite a good position to review The Cliff House as I cannot compare it to Amanda Jennings' previous works, but I'm struggling to start my review as I feel slightly breathless and completely bereft since turning the final page and the only word that comes to mind is 'WOW'.  So here's my 'words fail me' review.

Set in 1986 with teenage main characters, this is a haunting tale of obsession and hidden envy that slowly creeps under your skin, inch by inch like the tide coming in.  Tamsyn can only dream of living in The Cliff House until she meets Edie Davenport one day and is invited into their perfect world.  Only it's not as perfect as it appears through Tamsyn's binoculars and she now has a front row seat as the idyllic lifestyle of the Davenports starts to implode.

Tamsyn is such a brilliant character; grieving from the death of her father, she is haunted by a raven that promises more death and destruction to follow.  Tamsyn is written in such a way that she quickly swings from innocence to menace as the raven's prophesies play out in her mind.  I loved these quick snapshots of darkness; they appeared out of nowhere and for a moment I felt myself straying into this dark alternate reality but then being snapped back almost in the blink of an eye.

Reading The Cliff House is like diving into a warm and inviting pool: smooth, immersive and all-encompassing to the point where I had to keep reminding myself to come up for air.  It feels like an innocent story of a forgotten summer at first, but suddenly it has the feel of menace and danger but, by then, I was powerless to resist as I too had fallen in love with The Cliff House.

Amanda Jennings, what a disturbing and hauntingly beautiful tale you weave; The Cliff House is simply breathtaking with outstanding, evocative prose and vividly painted scenery that I can still close my eyes and bring to mind long after turning the final page.  Completely stunning and highly recommended.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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