I’m guilty of totally misjudging this book. From the cover and the blurb I unfairly categorized this as a book about sisters and secrets in the vain of Kate Morton (whose books I have enjoyed). But I was totally wrong. Yes it is about a family’s past and present but the secret the family have been keeping in this novel is one that literally tears them apart.
The book centres on the Tide family; Helen and Richard. We’re introduced to them as Helen falls pregnant with their first child, Cassie and they have to break the news to Richard’s parents who live on the Dorset coast in a house affectionately known as Clifftops. As Helen and Richard’s family grows circumstances eventually lead them to live at Clifftops and we witness their ups and downs along the way. The story alternates with the present day and Helen and Richard’s middle child, Dora, who in the present day is making her way to Clifftops to announce her own pregnancy.
As you read you soon discover that something terrible and tragic has happened to the Tides. Something none of them are able to speak about or share which has only made their pain and grief worse and long lasting. As you unravel the heartbreaking event you discover even more secrets below the surface. Secrets that will cause more pain than has already been inflicted but maybe the only way for these damaged people to finally move on with their lives.
Gut wrenching is an understatement for this book. I almost had to put the book down to compose myself. Hannah Richell beautifully captures the grief and devastation that engulfs a family after an awful tragedy: the blame, the hurt, the guilt and the inability to forgive, forget and communicate. But there is also hope and redemption, in time. Hannah packs an almighty punch in her first novel and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.