The Cliff House [review]

The Cliff House - Amanda Jennings

Title: The Cliff House
Author: Amanda Jennings
Publisher: HQ

[Synopsis]

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.

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[My Review]

Told from varying perspectives, The Cliff House is an atmopsheric, magnificent and at times emotional story of a young girl who desperately wants to be accepted, and doesn’t realise that money really doesn’t equal happiness.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Amanda Jennings, and I have to say I’m so impressed at the way that she creates such a sense of time and place (mainly Cornwall in the 1960s), as well as evoking the drama and strife that the Davenports create all around them, in one way or another. The characters in this story are a real mixed bunch; the demanding, difficult and rather exhausting personality of mother Evelyn is contrasted with Tamsyn’s own poor mother, and Tamsyn and Edie are also polar opposites in many ways, too. I liked the complexities of the characters; they all had their own issues and less-than-desirable traits but they’re interesting to read about and, though at times I hated them for how they treated other people, I also felt sorry for them sometimes – even Evelyn, who seems to have such a glamorous life but is so obviously unhappy.

I loved the feeling of almost being there with them in Cornwall, and you can really tell how, at first, Tamysn becomes swept away by the glamour of the Davenports, particualrly because of the history with her dad. I don’t want to give too much away but this is certainly not a light-hearted, fluffy story – there’s a dark sense of foreboding over a lot of it, mixed with the heady, powerful feelings of desire, desperation and envy. A haunting summer read.

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to HQ for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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