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The Cliff House Reader Reviews

The Cliff House

Kathryn Eastman

Devastating and deliciously dark, The Cliff House is less wish-fulfilment and more of a clever and disturbing reminder that things are rarely (if ever) how they appear on the surface.

What starts as a heady summer of escape and friendship on the North Cornwall coast soon takes a decidedly darker turn, one as black as the swimming pool around which much of the action takes place, in this novel of contrasts.

Tamsyn and Edie’s families illustrate the conflicting interests: locals looking for work and affordable housing in a place that daily reminds them of what they’ve lost; and holiday home owners longing for escape in an enviable property out of reach to most people, especially locals, while bringing seasonal work and spending power.

The Cliff House is the story of a place as much as the two families it brings together and Amanda Jennings makes its presence felt by breathing life into the house and the stretch of coast it sits on.

She also cleverly shows the light and dark of each character and place, and how changeable these are. As I learned more about each character, my perception of them changed and sympathies continually realigned while reading, which kept me on edge throughout.

As moody and intense as its teen protagonists and Cornish coastline, The Cliff House is a clever and twisted tale of the devastation caused when obsession, envy and grief run wild one summer, and which Amanda Jennings brings to a chilling yet fitting conclusion. Highly recommended.

Catherine Bryce

A superb thrilling exciting book that gives you that creepy someone is watching you feeling as you are reading.

First class story with excellent descriptions of all characters and the lovely Cornish coast which makes the reader feel as if they are part of the drama as the story unfolds.

A genuinely fantastic novel that makes each page turn exciting to see what happens next.  The story starts off light and fresh but as the reader gets deeper into the book so do their senses as they are caught up in the intriguing story itself.  Innocence turning into an eerie disturbing obsession which never seems ending with buried thoughts attempting to turn the fantasy into reality.  Superbly written and a brilliant story line.

This is one book that once you start to read you don't want to put down to the very last page. A must read this summer!!!


Katie Levers

There are twists and turns throughout with unexpected events, revelations and relationship.

From page 1 you're intrigued to find out more about each character. The descriptive writing engages you, painting a picture of the turmoils,  relationship and the Cornish landscape that plays such a central part in the story telling. You feel you're there with Tamsyn, seeing it through her eyes, as the story unfolds. It's a story of complex relationships, unrequited love and memories of happier times. 

From the beginning, there's an underlying tension of something dark and sinister that could be about to happen, in the intertwined relationship between the various characters. Repeatedly,  it draws you in to the characters thoughts and feelings, building to a crescendo in the final  chapters.

A must read that keeps the reader engaged throughout. 


Lucy Hall

A definite page turner... Heart-breaking as it is gripping, Jennings does a great job of drawing you in as the story of The Cliff House unfolds...

I read this book in over one weekend as I couldn't put it down!!

A brilliant story of obsession, envy, grief & heartache... Jennings draws you into the mind of sixteen year old Tamsyn who idolises the occupants of The Cliff House. The pace of the book is just right as the story unfolds & the obsession grows.. heart-breaking as it is gripping, Jennings does a great job of building each of the characters and you genuinely care for each of them.

Keeps you guessing until the end... 

Give this book a read, you won't regret it!


Linde Merrick

A haunting tale of longing overlaid with tension leading to tragedy.

This novel is a great evocation of the intense emotions felt by young teenagers, set within the “idyllic” surroundings of a remote Cornish village. Tamsyn is haunted by the death of her coastguard father and is obsessed with the Cliff House and its apparently glamorous inhabitants. When the family comes to for an extended stay, rather than their weekend visits, Tamsyn is befriended by their daughter Edith. Both girls and their parents are attempting to escape from sadness and emotional confusion over their relationships. The ensuing connections between the two families develops an increasing tension which leads to unexpected tragedy.

Amanda Jennings is able to show the all-consuming angst of teenagers whilst exploring the way emotional addiction can blur the line between love and obsession. Although I rather lost interest in the story and struggled to finish it, I am sure that this well-crafted novel will appeal to all readers who enjoy explorations of family dynamics tinged with overlying tragedy.


Victoria Emerson

A well written book, just not for me.

I really wanted to like this book. It was well written and the descriptions of Cornwall were wonderfully evocative, but the book left me cold. 

I didn't connect with any characters except Jago (the main characters brother) who became more interesting as the story moved along.

The pace was a little too slow for we.

 A very atmospheric book but very slow.


Siân Spinney

A story of loss, obsession and real characters with real flaws. Tamsin is sixteen, living in Cornwall and obsessed with The Cliff House and it’s occupants. She meets the daughter of the house, Edie and the stage is set for a sad but very readable story.

Set in Cornwall during 1986, The Cliff House tells Tamsyn’s story. Tamsin is obsessed with The Cliff House and the occupants who spend their time there. Through her binoculars she regularly spends time watching what to her seems to be the perfect couple. One day she meets the couple’s daughter and a strange friendship develops. Tamsin now has access to the house of her obsession which her late Father used to take her to whilst the family were away. She gets to swim in the pool and talk to the couple, Edie’s dysfunctional parents. The story involves other characters but it is Tamsin who connects them all. This is not a happy, easy read. It is sad but enjoyable. You cannot but help feel empathy for the characters. It is a story of loss, obsession and real characters with real flaws.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008250362
Publication date: 17th May 2018
Author: Amanda Jennings
Publisher: HQ an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Thriller / suspense, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),