ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater @Carol4OliveFarm @MichaelJBooks #BlogTour
I’m really pleased to be reviewing The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater today. My thanks to Sriya Varadharajan from Michael Joseph for the place on the tour and for sending a proof copy of the book for review purposes.
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.
This is my first Carol Drinkwater book. I know, right! That’s why I was so keen to read The House on the Edge of the Cliff.
It’s the story of Grace. The book opens with a terrifying moment in the present, when a man is threatening to hurl her step-grandson over the clifftop near to the home of Grace and her husband, Peter. From there, we are taken back to 1968 when Grace was just 16, away from home for the first time. She travels to Paris, meets Peter, is involved with the Paris revolt and then goes with Peter to his aunt’s house in Provence, the house where in the present Grace and Peter now live.
It’s Grace’s meeting with another man in 1968 that changes everything forever though, and it’s the consequences of what happened then that are now causing problems in Grace’s life in the present day story.
That’s a very potted version of the story to give you an idea of what it’s about but there’s so much more to explore in this book. It’s absolutely rich with detail, nothing is left out and that makes it quite a lengthy read (448 pages) and yet thoroughly absorbing. It’s quite the combination of adventure and menace, but with a backdrop of daily life in a beautiful place.
I very much liked the way that the story went back and forth between the present and the past, unfolding the story gradually. Although it’s fairly clear from the beginning what happened in 1968, it’s the detail and the whys and wheres that are filled in as the story progresses.
One thing that absolutely stands out for me is the quality of the writing and the sensations it provided. All the senses are evoked with descriptions of food, smells, sights. I felt like I was there on that clifftop, breathing in the sea air, taking in the ambience of Provençal life. The setting was idyllic.
So, my first Drinkwater done and it left me feeling content. It’s a cleverly weaved story in a stunning setting and I enjoyed it very much.
Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps still most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books for both the adult and young adult markets. She is currently at work on her twentieth title.
When she purchased a rundown property overlooking the Bay of Cannes in France, she discovered on the grounds sixty-eight, 400-year-old olive trees. Once the land was reclaimed and the olives pressed, Carol along with her French husband, Michel, became the producers of top-quality olive oil. Her series of memoirs, love stories, recounting her experiences on her farm (The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, The Olive Harvest and Return to the Olive Farm) have become international bestsellers. Carol’s fascination with the olive tree extended to a seventeenth-month, solo Mediterranean journey in search of the tree’s mythical secrets. The resulting travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, have inspired a five-part documentary films series entitled The Olive Route.
Carol has also been invited to work with UNESCO to help fund an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean with the dual goals of creating peace in the region and honouring the ancient heritage of the olive tree.
Author bio and photo taken from Amazon