I’m absolutely thrilled to be starting off the launch celebrations for The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater, not least because I shall be interviewing Carol all about the book at my local Deepings Literary Festival in just over a week’s time! My enormous thanks to both Carol and Sriya Varadharajan for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. This was one book I had to break my blog tour sabbatical for!
It has been my pleasure to review Carol’s The Forgotten Summer here. I also loved her story The Lost Girl which I not only reviewed here, but about which I was delighted to interview Carol on Linda’s Book Bag here.
The House on the Edge of the Cliff is published today, 16th May 2019, by Penguin and is available for purchase through the publisher links here.
The House on the Edge of the Cliff
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.
My Review of The House on the Edge of the Cliff
Grace’s past may not be as far behind her as she thought.
Gosh. What a textured and multi-layered story Carol Drinkwater has wrought in The House on the Edge of the Cliff. The story tracks back and forth in time making its structure remind me of the ebb and flow of the tide that so mesmerises Grace in the south of France. The structure and time scale are fascinating because there is a real sense of the way the past makes us who we are in the present so that there’s a compelling sociological element to the story. I loved the fact that I had no idea how The House on the Edge of the Cliff might finally resolve itself and Carol Drinkwater kept me guessing throughout. Her writing is seductive so that I had to keep reading to see what happened next.
With a sweeping love story at its heart, The House on the Edge of the Cliff explores the nature of obsession, guilt, betrayal and history in a manner that scoops up the reader and makes them wonder just what might happen if their own past reappeared. I found the Parisian setting of 1968 fascinating and Grace’s theatrical background allowed me to experience a world completely unfamiliar to me in a vivid and captivating manner. I thought the iterative image of drama and theatre was so fitting to a book where identity is fluid, unsettling and complicated. In addition, the cultural references to contemporary history, people, music and politics made The House on Edge of the Cliff a truly immersive activity. Indeed, I found reading The House on the Edge of the Cliff felt a bit like lifting the lid on an animated memory box, bringing all kinds of connotations and experiences into the effect it had on me.
I love the multi-faceted quality of Carol Drinkwater’s writing style. A smattering of French lends authenticity to The House on the Edge of the Cliff, but it is her attention to detail, the descriptions of nature, heat, the sea and food that make the narrative sensuous and luxurious. The author’s love for France shines through her writing. The house and France are as much characters as any of the people.
The portrait of Grace is superb. Her development from selfish sybarite to mature woman feels completely natural so that whilst I didn’t much like her to begin with, I felt an affinity with her. Grace’s narrative voice is so affecting and very conversational as if she is speaking directly to the reader. There’s a wistful, melancholic tone that makes her story feel confessional and draws in the reader so that they experience her emotions with her. I can’t say too much about some of the other characters without revealing the plot; the men in Grace’s life have an important impact on her but you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out why!
The House on the Edge of the Cliff feels mature, complex and atmospheric. I thought it was sinuous and compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed it and really recommend it.
About Carol Drinkwater
Carol Drinkwater is a multi-award-winning actress who is best known for her portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small. She is also the author of over twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her quartet of memoirs set on her olive farm in the south of France have sold over a million copies worldwide and her solo journey round the Mediterranean in search of the Olive tree’s mythical secrets inspired a five-part documentary film series, The Olive Route.
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