The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas

The book title has 2 things that I absolutely am fascinated with. House and Sea. Not to mention the completely enticing book cover that shows a lovely house with a wrought iron gate that’s open a little bit as if inviting the reader in. And that’s how I chose to read it when I found it a few weeks back.

Edie is walking the dogs near the river when her friend calls to tell her that her mother-in-law Anna DeLuca is dead. She’s bitterly relieved and we learn of her estrangement not just with her mother-in-law but also her husband. We also learn of her son Daniel whom she lost many years ago and how she blames Anna for it.

It seems it’s the time to go to Sicily and claim and settle what Anna has left her – the family villa that Edie was supposed to have visited with child Daniel but never did. It also means she would have to work out the inheritance details with her husband Joe, leading to an awkward time that she absolutely wants to avoid.

However Edie turns up at Sicily and falls in love with the now-neglected but still beautiful house surrounded by verdant grounds, now overgrown, and the sea.

It’s the mood that Louise captures that kept me enthralled. The house of course is described so beautifully, from its architecture to its flora to its supposed ghosts.

The book has a little bit of a supernatural element, just a very little, enough to keep you feeling the charm and the magic of the place. There were times when I wondered what was I reading. Was it a ghost story, was it a romance, was it a murder mystery, was it supposed to be a thriller? There are elements of all of these and as I turned the pages, keeping pace with the unfolding story seemed the easiest thing to do. There’s no point obsessing over the genre or slotting the book into a particular type. That it is extremely well written and engrossing should be enough for the reader.

The handling of emotions and the way the transformation comes in Edie’s and Joe’s lives had me rooting for them all through. The house is a living creature of course, I too could feel the little graveyard, the ghosts of the generations gone by, the places where so many happy moments were spent, I haven’t had this connection with a house since I read and dreamt of Rebecca’s Manderley.

This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.