The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

5 Stars from me

Oh my, the aching beauty that spills from these pages is just breath taking.

At 11% I adored the book, by 60% it made me cry and I simply didn’t ever want it to end.

I know of no other author who can create the emotive resonance that Amanda Jennings brings to life within the pages of a book: much like in her other excellent books Sworn Secret, The Judas Scar and In Her Wake.

All the characters (and there are only a handful) are utterly credible and I felt their emotions, their fragility their realness is if it were my own.

My favourite character? Probably Jago, although poor old Angie wins the sympathy vote. The rest of the characters weren’t particularly likeable but it was their flaws which made them so defined.

The setting and the era are flawlessly described. Who wouldn’t covet the lifestyle of the Davenports? The agony and deprivation of life for poor Angie is sensitively accurate – the grief, the loneliness, the worry are all spot on.

As for Tamsyn, the innocent mixed up teenage whose life has been turned inside out by grief, her portrayal is particularly raw and exposed – Jennings knack for honing in on the feelings of teenagers is uncanny.

A beautiful book – it literally is the perfect summer read – I want to dive into that pool and I want to go to one of the Davenport’s parties!

 

Synopsis: Some friendships are made to be broken.

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.

If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

‘A beautiful, stirring story of loss and obsession’ Lisa Jewell

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In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

In Her Wake5 Stars from me!

Just like Sworn Secret and The Judas Scar, In Her Wake takes you on a journey of emotions  as the story unfolds.

I find Amanda’s writing style incredibly comfortable and yet edgy and provocative all at the same time; it feels utterly natural and yet it still manages to make you question yourself at the same time.

In Her Wake has a fabulous story running through it which would be good enough in its own right but Amanda brings it to life with her unique way of uncovering deep rooted feelings and often hidden emotions.

I can’t recommend these books enough – they are all stand alone so can be read in any order – and are absolutely perfect for a weekend of solitude as, trust me, once you’ve started reading you won’t want to put the book down!

Synopsis: A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home. 

The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings

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Synopsis: Scars. We all carry them. Some are mere scratches. Others run deeper.

At a school rife with bullying, Will and his best friend Luke are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.

Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of Will’s painful childhood come flooding back to haunt him. His wife, Harmony, who is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, wishes Will would open up about his experiences. But while Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband’s past, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt, desire, betrayal and revenge…

 A happy 5 stars from me!

Having read and loved Sworn Secret, I was very excited to hear that Amanda Jennings had been busily scribbling away at a new novel and that The Judas Scar was available for review.

In anticipation of greatness, I settled myself down with a cup of coffee and a pile of cushions and began to read. Soon after I felt moved to tweet Amanda:

Tweet Amanda

Moving aside from the story for a moment, Amanda is lovely on twitter, she always replies to tweets and seems to warmly engage with everyone. I think it’s this genuine liking of people that makes her able to create such ‘real’ characters within her pages.

Anyway, back to The Judas Scar. So, as you can see, on the 4th of June 2014 I was unimpressed with Harmony! I won’t tell you why but I will tell you that I felt so connected to Harmony by this point that I genuinely felt unimpressed with her, I felt disappointed in her and frustrated with her decision making and lack of forethought. How amazing that a few words on a page can give rise to feelings and emotions about a fictitious character!

By page 121 this book had already made me cry. I almost never cry at books! In fact I think that prior to this one,  Sworn Secret was the last book that moved me to tears.

The Judas Scar is an absolute page turner, the first time I had to put it down I literally felt like I was tearing myself away from it. As the story unfolded I felt a strange feeling of foreboding as I guessed which direction the tale was going to take, almost like watching an accident in slow motion yet being unable to stop it or make yourself look away.

The characters did things I didn’t like, stupid things, irrational things, things that we fallible humans do all the time in real life and which made this book oh so believable and oh so hard to put down.

As well as vast depth of emotion and excellent, realistic characters, The Judas Scar’s storyline is intricately woven and intriguing to follow. Personally I had a sense of how it was going to end (although I was only partially right), although there were several unexpected twists and events along the way that I didn’t see coming.

Friendships aren’t perfect, relationships aren’t set in stone and life just doesn’t always go the way it should. In real life people are left to sweep these things under the carpet, ignore the elephant in the room and pretend everything is fine. In The Judas Scar we (as the reader) knew about their indiscretions, their lies and imperfections were exposed and raw for all to see and it made for an emotional journey with an almost voyeuristic viewpoint into the lives of the central characters.

I don’t want to reveal any of the story, I simply want to give this book my heartfelt recommendation – go and read it, you won’t be disappointed! Then you can go and read Sworn Secret too; as stand alone books they can be read independently of each other.

 

 

Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings

Sworn SecretSworn Secret

by Amanda Jennings

Brilliant Book!

I had this book at home for months before I read it, I’m going to say that most annoying of things now and admit that ‘I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea’. (Sorry Amanda Jennings I realise that must be an insult.)

In some ways I now wish I’d read it earlier but in a lot of others I’m glad I waited because oh my goodness this is an amazing book!

The story line sounds depressing and the subject matter sounds even more so but I actually found it had huge uplifting elements to it; the relationship between Lizzie and Haydn is just lovely, and the overall sense of a family pulling together is a very positive one.

The relationships between all characters are intense, engrossing and highly believable. I found myself completely and utterly drawn in and most definitely ‘caring’ about the people who were brought to life in the pages of this book.

I felt quite bereft that the book was over, I want to know more, I want to find out what happens to them next – if that isn’t the sign of a great book then I don’t know what is.