Saturday, June 03, 2017

That's my daughter in the water: THE SALT HOUSE.

The Salt House: A NovelThe Salt House: A Novel by Lisa Duffy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hope and Jack Kelly's life changes irrevocably when their young daughter, Maddie, doesn't wake up from her nap. Hope, working a few rooms away from Maddie's crib, is paralyzed by grief and unable to return her to freelance writing job or really, most portions of her life. Jack, meanwhile, throws himself into work to escape the pain: spending hours away from his family on his lobster boat. Maddie's two older sisters, Jess and Kat, are forced to deal with the loss of their sister while watching their parents fall apart. Young Kat is trying to make sense of it all, while teenage Jess struggles watching her parents argue constantly. Then Jack's childhood rival, Finn, returns to town: threatening Jack's fishing territory and sanity.

This is a raw, heartbreaking novel full of real emotion. It's honestly awful and a little gut-wrenching at times: it's so powerfully written that it made me want to hold my two young daughters extra close. The brutal reactions and grief of poor Hope and Jack are tough to read, as is watching their children struggle.

Duffy is an excellent writer: the book is quite well-done. The story unfolds a year after Maddie's death and is told in varying perspectives by each member of the Kelly family. She captures each of their voices perfectly, even young Kat, who may be the best of all.

There is certainly some drama in this novel, though it's mainly the story of two hurt people coping in their own (stubborn) way. My heart went out to Hope, and I quite liked her two daughters, but I found myself often frustrated with Jack, even though I recognized he was grieving. Even so, his stupidity and inability to communicate drove me a bit crazy at times.

This is a well-written story of family, grief, and love. It's not always an easy read, but it's a certainly a worthy one.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 06/13/2017.

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