By Lynn Willoughby
The Salt House ~ Lisa Duffy
This debut novel is told in four voices – Hope, Jack and their daughters Jess and Kat. There is an underlying tension in the family that had me hooked.
Jack is a lobster fisherman in Maine. He and his partner Boon have a successful and growing business. Jack spends his days on the boat pulling and baiting the traps while Boon handles the business end. But Jack is increasingly driven during this summer. He is angry, works long hours, sometimes sleeping on his boat. The Salt House is an oceanfront cottage he is renovating into the family dream home, but that project is on the back burner these days. Why?
We learn that the family tragedy happened a year earlier when their toddler didn’t wake from her afternoon nap. The family is frozen in that moment, each one trying to deal with their own grief, just not as a family.
In this particular summer seventeen year old Jess meets and becomes friends with Alex. His family are new to town and his interest in boats leads to his interest in Jess. I became a little disillusioned when the teenage romance started to take over the book.
However, eight year old Kat got the story back on track.
This is an easy read, but it did not ever really connect with me, emotionally. Jack was an interesting character, but Hope was dismal and flat. Other reviews said it dealt with marriage, family, friendship, grief and hope. I didn’t think it dealt with these emotions well at all. In fact, it was the opposite for me. No one communicated or dealt with any of their grief.
Maine produces both cold water and warm water lobsters.