REVIEWED BY LINDA HILL
A story full of tension, lies and deception…
The Last House on the Cliff is steeped in lies, secrets and deception and I very much enjoyed its murky, almost gothic, atmosphere.
Often Lowry’s first person point of view put me in mind of classic writers like the Brontes or Daphne du Maurier as hers is a strong voice with a conversational, confessional tone that draws in the reader and makes them part of the story too. What I enjoyed most about The Last House on the Cliff was that through Lowry’s perspective I suspected everyone of everything and trusted no-one!
An island setting…
The Anglesey island setting gives an added frisson of danger and claustrophobia, balanced by the author’s evocative descriptions so that it’s easy to picture the house, church and landscape because of the filmic quality of the writing. The final reveals help illustrate how it isn’t just big conurbations where crime can be rife and I found it very refreshing to be transported away from gritty inner city places to somewhere ostensibly safe but seething with danger.
The plot writhes along and although I found some of Lowry’s delayed actions, or her inactions, occasionally at odds with how I might have reacted, I believed in her completely because her childhood upbringing is so well explored that we understand how her adult character has been created and why she behaves as she does.
“Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons…”
There are some profound themes around family, but to say more would be to spoil the story. Through Lowry and Ruby’s story we come to understand where loyalty, morality and truth lie. Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons and Anne Wyn Clark subtly makes the reader question their own moral compass making for a real depth to the plot.
There’s a creepy supernatural undertone where Anne Wyn Clark explores the blurred boundaries between the power of suggestion, the real and the inexplicable so that The Last House on the Cliff is very unsettling to read. The prescient hints feel menacing and add to the tension, especially when Lowry’s half recalled memories are threaded into the narrative and the swirling secrets just beneath the surface add to the intense atmosphere.
The Last House on the Cliff feels just right for curling up with on a stormy afternoon or evening when the lights are flickering and the wind is howling. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Out Aug 18 in paperback, The Last House On The Cliff by Anne Wyn Clark (Avon, PB £7.99) is available to pre-order now from Amazon.
Anne Wyn Clark has an exclusive short story, A Fish Out Of Water, in our August 13 issue (on sale Aug 9, 2022). Pick up a copy and enjoy a great read! Or why not take out a money-saving subscription for great fiction every week? Subscribe today and beat the price rise – get your first 13 issues of My Weekly for only £8, saving over £30 from the shop price! This fantastic deal also includes FREE UK delivery of each issue.