The Cliffs

Knopf. Jul. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780593319154. $29. F
This highly anticipated novel from Sullivan (Friends and Strangers) was worth the wait. Protagonist Jane is a Harvard archivist who, like her mother and sister, is addicted to alcohol. After getting blackout drunk at a work event, she finds her job, as well as her marriage, in jeopardy, making this the perfect time to escape from all her troubles. She heads up to Maine to settle her late mother’s estate, which is complicated by the fact that her mother was a hoarder. As a teenager, Jane found an old abandoned Victorian house up high on a cliff nearby, which became her refuge. As an adult, she is surprised to learn that a wealthy young family has bought the house and turned it into a typical beach McMansion. The owner, who fears that the house is haunted, possibly due to some unsavory work she had done, hires Jane to research the house’s history. That research is at the heart of this novel that spans generations and covers colonialism, Indigenous history, spiritualism, the Shakers, and so much more.
VERDICT A beautifully written, expansive novel, sure to please fans of Daniel Mason’s North Woods or the work of Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley.
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