The Salt House by Lisa Duffy

I always enjoy books that take place in New England, where I grew up. It’s such a unique and special setting. And in my experience, the area produces many loveable yet difficult people, perfect characters for a book! I appreciate reading descriptions of the sea and fishing life—I can imagine myself standing on a dock in my hometown, feeling the sun on my face and breathing in the salt. (Memories!)

The Kelly family struggles with the grief that accompanies death of a loved one—in this case, baby Maddie, who has an unfortunate accident. It’s the sort of misfortune that could happen to anyone, but naturally her mother Hope is burdened with tremendous guilt. 

When a rival comes back to town after many years away, Jack (Maddie’s father) must struggle with demons from his own past. Exacerbated by his current sorrow, he doesn’t respond well when provoked. Throw in a love-struck teenager (whose love interest is related to Jack’s rival) and a precocious 8-year old, and you have a recipe for drama. There are many tense situations and misunderstandings; the action ramps up as the story progresses and I could not put the book down!

As I was reading, I was emotionally tied up with the family. Sometimes the healing process is a gut-wrenching one, and it is cathartic to witness a family go through it and come out the other side intact. A beautiful story.