18 November 2020

Review: THE HOUSE ON FRIPP ISLAND, Rebecca Kauffman

  • this edition published in Great Britain 2020
  • by www.serpentstail.com
  • ISBN 9-781788-165204
  • 319 pages 
  • source: my local library

Synopsis (publisher)

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife. When two families - one rich, one not - holiday together off the coast of South Carolina, little do they know that someone won't be returning home.
Fripp Island, South Carolina, is the perfect destination for the wealthy Daly family: Lisa, Scott, and their two girls. For Lisa's childhood friend, Poppy Ford, the resort island is a world away from the one she and Lisa grew up in -and when Lisa invites Poppy's family to join them, how can she turn down an all-expenses paid vacation for her husband and children?

But everyone brings secrets to the island, distorting what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach. Lisa sees danger everywhere, while Poppy watches over her husband John and his routines with a sharp eye. It's a summer of change for all of the children too, who are exposed to new ideas and different ways of life as they forge a bond of their own.

While revelations from the past and present unfold, the book builds to a shocking event that will shake your sense of justice and leave you wanting to talk about crime and retribution. 

My Take

We know from the very beginning that someone has drowned, but not until near the end just who the victim is. We even know that it is murder, but not who is responsible. 

But even so, the murder really comes out of left-field. 

The build up consists of an exploration of the relationships within and between the two families. Each of the adults in particular have secrets, and a sinister element intrudes when Lisa recognises the name of someone on a sex-predator list. There is an indication that neither sets of parents knows their children as well as they think they do. One is a secret drinker, another grows pot, but their parents have no idea.

There is a sense of a ghost watching over things from on-high.

I didn't particularly like the ending of the book. It posed problems that weren't all that well re-solved.

My rating: 4.3

About the author

Rebecca Kauffman is originally from rural Ohio. She studied Classical Violin Performance at the Manhattan School of Music before receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU. Her previous novels are Another Place You've Never Been and The Gunners. She currently lives in Virginia. 

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