Wednesday 10 May 2023

Guest Review: The House on Rockaway Beach by Emma Burstall

A gripping tale of family secrets, sibling rivalry and summer romance, set against the backdrop of New York's sizzling urban beach.

Sisters Sophie and Celia haven't been on speaking terms for years. So it's a huge shock when they discover their grandmother has left them her quirky old house on Rockaway Beach, New York.

Just a stone's throw from the bright lights of Manhattan, they spent many idyllic summers there as children, swimming in the Atlantic ocean, playing in the sand and watching day trippers come and go. Then suddenly, the visits stopped. Sophie knows her mother and grandmother fell out, but has never found out why.

Together, the sisters return to Rockaway, and can't agree on anything. Sophie wants to keep the house, Celia's determined to sell. It seems they'll never see eye to eye, until Sophie makes a shattering discovery that forces her to question everything...

Why do she and Celia have such different memories of their grandmother? What caused the rift with their mother? Can Sophie trust the handsome stranger who seems to take such an interest in her? And who is the mysterious old woman watching them from afar?

Review: I have enjoyed several novels written by Emma Burstall, all of which were set in Cornwall. This book is different from that series, in that it is set on Rockaway Peninsula, part of the New York City borough of Queens. I found it an easy story to get into and a quick read.

The story concerns two sisters, Sophie and Celia, who have been left their grandmother’s house at Rockaway Beach. They arrive from the UK to clear out the house and come to a decision about its future. The sisters are very different and have never really got on, especially now in adulthood. Sophie has happy memories of summers spent in their grandmother’s house, which stopped abruptly with no explanation, and can feel her grandmother’s presence in the house. She wants to keep the house and perhaps turn it into a retreat for artists, but Celia wants to sell. They have a big fall out, which results in the revelation of a long kept family secret, which makes Sophie reevaluate her life so far. Fortunately, she has made several friends in the area, including a handsome man who can help and support her in this uncertain time if she can trust him.

For me, this book was a light and easy read full of secrets and family drama. The setting of Rockaway Beach sounds a place I would like to visit. The sisters in the story are so incredibly different that it’s no surprise that they have grown apart. Their late grandmother hoped to bring them together by leaving her house to them jointly, but I’m not sure that she achieved her ambition. I have to say that I didn’t really like the sisters, but was drawn to other characters such as the lovely man who took Sophie under his wing. There was lots going on in the story and promise of more but I felt it lacked real depth. I was slightly disappointed that the storyline here didn’t inspire me as much as other books I have read from this author, but I shall still look out for further titles.

To order your copy now, just click here!

No comments:

Post a Comment