The Salt House

Touchstone. Jun. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781501156557. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781501156571. F
DEBUT Every summer, the Kelly family lives in anticipation of moving into the Salt House, their inherited cottage by the ocean, which they lovingly renovated to be habitable for their family of five. The tragic death of Maddie, the youngest member of their tight-knit family, shatters their peaceful existence. Consumed by depression and guilt, Hope cannot focus on her family or work, and her husband, Jack, drowns his grief by constantly working on his lobster boat and neglecting his health. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Jess and eight-year-old Kat navigate their way through their parents' multiple arguments while trying to come to terms with the loss of their little sister. Then, Jack's high school nemesis returns to town and threatens the family's livelihood. Events start to spiral out of control, testing the strength of the family's love for one another.
VERDICT With alternating chapters focusing on each family member's thoughts and interactions, debut author Duffy eloquently displays the emotional complexities of a family going through the healing process. Readers of Elin Hilderbrand or Luanne Rice will enjoy.
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