Cover Image: The Salt House

The Salt House

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow, an emotionally charged, wonderfully written book that I just devoured. I could not put this book down. Kudos to the author on a great debut. 

A great story about a family dealing with a lot of things coming at them head on in their day to day life.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves to read books about family, human emotions, love, feelings, and day to day life.

Thanks to Touchstone and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
The problem with this book was the marketing (on the Goodreads blurb). Goodreads compares this author to Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova. I’ve read only one Lisa Genova book (Still Alice) so I don’t think I am qualified enough to pass my judgement as to how much that comparison is valid. But Jodi Picoult?? This book in no way compares to Jodi Picoult novels (which I’ve read many, many). The simple, pretty bland story of this book cannot even be compared to the morally ambiguos, riveting and emotionally-charged stories Picoult pens down. There’s absolutely no comparison.

So what basically happened? The Goodreads blurb naturally raised my expectations, and no wonder I was massively disappointed.

The book follows the four members of the Kelly family who are shook by a tragic accident in their past – and how they fight through their grief and make way to a happier life. The plotline is as simple as that, with a few secondary complications and storylines (for example, the romantic relationship of the older daughter of the household).

The problem with books like this is that they become boring after a while. Even though initially I quite enjoyed this book, it soon became boring. The story wasn’t compelling enough for me to actually care about whatever happened to the characters. The story didn’t pull me in at all : it sparked an initial interest like every other book does but as the book went on, the story got more and more boring.

The writing was mediocre, and I feel like the writing could’ve been the saving grace of the book : but it wasn’t. It was okayish writing and for a story about ‘grief’, it wasn’t too emotional either. The characters were well-structured and that was like the shining element of the book. They were well-written, well-developed and I liked every single one of them.

The setting was really good, I enjoyed it. I just wish the writing had the capacity to pull at my heartstrings a bit more – and the story was better. That would’ve made the book infinitely better.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.  This book was so well written full of emotion. Highly recommend,
Was this review helpful?
The previous year, Maddie died in her crib. The Salt House takes us through the secrets the remaining family members keeps from themselves and each other while trying to deal with their grief. The story is told through the alternating points of view from the 4 remaining family members. This method helps the reader learn the background that brought the Kelly family to this point of potential self-destruction. And while it sounds like the story is very depressing, Ms. Duffy manages to keep an optimistic feeling throughout the book as though the reader should know that while things are bleak now, better times are on the horizon. This feeling propels the reader through the book and helps them sympathize with the characters.
Was this review helpful?
Lisa Duffy is a wonderful new voice in women’s fiction and this debut  is a powerful, moving testament to the resiliency of family in the face of a traumatic event.   Duffy seamlessly weaves the story through the eyes and perspectives of all 4 family members, and while it is a heartbreaking read it is also infused with hope and honesty as the family redefines who they are and attempt to move forward.    The Salt House is a beautifully written, realistic, emotional portrait of a family who will touch your heart and stay with you long after you turn the last page.  Thank you so very much to Netgalley and Touchstone for provideing me with an advanced copy of this gorgeous debut.
Was this review helpful?
Good read but found myself skipping through too much detail.
Was this review helpful?
I was completely taken in by this cover and title, it was just perfect for my summer tbr.  When I read the description I was even more intrigued. While I'm a die hard mystery lover, some of my all time favorite books have been drama filled, character driven novels, so I was excited to give this one a go. It's really no spoiler in the blurb that the family is dealing with the aftermath of the grief involved with losing one of their find that out basically on page 1 and the novel begins a year after her death. I think it's pretty accurate to say this is an in-depth look at grief and how it effects each member of a family. 

I want to focus first on what worked for me. First and foremost, the setting was fantastic! The author did a wonderful job of bringing this small coastal town to life. I could picture the boats, marina, and most importantly The Salt House...the view sounded phenomenal. Speaking of The Salt House, this was the family's dream house and renovations were almost complete when their daughter died. Hope and Jack had poured their love and time into getting the house ready for their family to move into when tragedy struck with Maddie's death. Now, it literally stands at a crossroads along with each member of the family. Will they be able to move past their grief and continue on with their dreams of living in The Salt House or will Hope and Jack self-destruct bringing their daughters down with them? This central premise is what intrigued me initially and kept me reading after the fifty percent mark where I feel the plot started to meander and the pace somewhat lulled for me.

In terms of the narrative structure, the novel alternates between each family member's perspective so we get an up close look at what Jack, Hope, Jess and Kat are all thinking and feeling. On one hand, this worked for me because surprisingly (to me) the character I most connected with was sixteen year old Jess. Initially, I thought it would be Hope but I really thought Jess's voice came across to me better. I may be in the minority when I say this but I couldn't connect at all with Jack. I understood him channeling his grief in a different way than Hope but there were so many parts that I just felt fed up with him. He often completely seemed to be lacking common sense and his withdrawal from the family somehow made me feel unsympathetic to him. Finally, the drama with Ryland Finn left me feeling underwhelmed; whereas when I started, I expected the second half to be drama FILLED. Not the case for me. I do want to say I think the author's writing is top of the line and I'll gladly read whatever she publishes next, this one just missed the mark overall for me. If you enjoy alternating perspectives without the flashback factor, an amazing setting, and can hang in there with characters feeling, at times, heavy grief I think you should definitely give this a try.
Was this review helpful?
A page turning story of how tragedy touches and changes the lives of a family living in coastal Maine. Hard to put down.
Was this review helpful?
This book started of leg great, really emotional and raw, but it was soooooo slow I couldn't bear to read it. I felt like the same thing just kept repeating over and over like Groundhog Day.
Was this review helpful?
Great book!
Taking place in Maine,  the descriptions are so vivid, I felt as if I was there.
The sadness that this family is able to work thru, was truly heartwarming.
I would love to see a sequel with this wonderful family as they continue their lives in "The Salt House."
Was this review helpful?
In The Salt House, author Lisa Duffy masterfully takes us deep into the layers of emotions of the Kelly family as they work through feelings of guilt, responsibility and pain following a tragic family loss.  After losing their baby, Hope is paralyzed with her grief; she is having trouble moving forward and is unable to return to work.  She refuses to scatter the ashes and has been reluctant to continue with the renovation of The Salt House, the home the family loves and plans to move in to.  Jack, a lobster fisherman, throws himself into his work on the boat, is rarely home with the family and is neglecting his health.  Overcome with guilt, combined with  the sorrow of losing a child, and the stress it put on the marriage, the Kelly family’s world starts to cave in.  The daughters, Jess and Kat, are living and dealing with the loss of their baby sister in their own ways while baring the brunt of parental stress and disagreements at the same time they are trying to grow up.  So well written from each person’s point of view, the characters dig deep to expose their pain, past and current, and their journey together sets an example for how families can rescue each other from debilitating hurt and grief by facing it head on with truth and honesty.  I felt emotionally overwhelmed and shed many tears while I read The Salt House, a sign of a great book that really touched me, and when it ended I had feelings of renewal and hope for the future.  At under 300 pages, this is a great book to pick up this summer…I loved it!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars
The Salt House by Lisa Duffy is a poignant portrait of a grief stricken family who are trying to cope with the tragic death of their baby.

Although it has been one year since the heartrending loss of baby Maddie, Hope Kelly is still mourning her daughter’s loss. Unable to move forward, her once happy marriage to Jack is faltering and she is somewhat distant from their two daughters, eight year old Kat and sixteen year old Jess.  Since she has not been able to write her column, the family is also struggling financially since they are juggling two mortgages.  Renovations on Jack’s family’s home, The Salt House, are also at a standstill and he refuses to give in to her pleas to sell the property.  Although Hope is aware she is emotionally disengaged, she cannot seem to be able to remove herself from this destructive pattern.

While Hope gives in to her grief, Jack throws himself into work and spends long hours out on the water hauling in his lobster traps.  He is barely able to pay the bills as their savings dwindle and Hope’s income dries up. In the midst of trying to salvage his marriage, his unresolved past comes back to haunt him when Ryland Finn returns to town and threatens Jack’s livelihood.  Jack is already on edge when his exhaustion and stress lead to out of character behavior that could have devastating consequences.

Unlike their parents, Jess and Kat have worked through their grief over Maddie’s death.  Kat is in tune with the strife between her parents and she is trying to make sense of puzzling bits of their overheard conversations. Jess’s friendship with Alex brings unexpected complications to her life as she tries to keep their relationship under wraps.

The Salt House is a beautifully rendered story of sorrow, healing and love that is quite entrancing. The characters are complex and their struggles to learn how to live without Maddie are deeply affecting and realistically portrayed.  Lisa Duffy strikes a perfect balance between sadness and optimism as the Kelly family finally begins to emerge from their grief.  An absolutely captivating debut that will linger in readers’ hearts and minds long after the last page is turned.
Was this review helpful?
A beautiful written book which looks at how a family come to terms with the death of a daughter/sister.   Each person goes through their own process.  This book considers how the tragedy affects the family as a whole and whether they can learn to unite as a family unit again and learn to find a love of life again.
Was this review helpful?
A really good story well told. Held  my attention fast from start to finish. Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
“Am I one of your favorites, Hope?” Dad sometimes asked, his dark eyes drilling a hole into the back of Mom’s head. You got the sense he was holding his breath when he asked the question. It would get him a laugh and a hug, but over her shoulder, Dad wasn’t laughing. In those moments, if need had a face, it would’ve looked like Dad.

This is a heartbreaking story, about a terrible tragedy that rips every thread that keeps this family together. Everything was glorious between Hope, Jack Kelly and their three daughters. They were renovating The Salt House to create the perfect family home, their lobster business was finally thriving through their hard work and then their youngest child silently passes away through an accident that her mother Hope feels she could have, should have, prevented. The guilt is paralyzing, a monster that is devouring Hope and the rest of the family. Though time has passed, she can’t focus enough nor write a word, though her career was helping them financially. But how does a mother move on when she feels she too died in that horrific moment? How can she enjoy her beloved husband’s touch, allow herself a drop of joy, open herself to nurturing the children that remain when she can’t move past the loss?

And what of the husband and children? The husband now awash in his own silent grief, becoming angry with his helplessness, drowning himself in his job- desperate to keep his family from sinking? Someone has to earn the money, and he will do it, even if he dies in the process. It’s summer in Maine, but there isn’t much sunshine for Jess and Kat. Jess sees too much, not far from adulthood herself, and is angry at her mother’s emotional absence, determined to see her dad stop making excuses and blaming himself for her mother’s cold detachment. Kat doesn’t know the full story of what happened to her baby sister, nor her role in the tragedy, and Hope wants it to remain so. Jess wants to punish her mother, she wants to prod her to feel, because she isn’t the only one suffering. Young Kat can’t understand where exactly Maddie has gone, why there hasn’t been any sort of closure nor ceremony. Worse, she is being picked on by a boy and Jess wants to solve at least that problem for her kid sister, not realizing how her family is tied to his, nor that she is about to fall in love.

It is a summer of love and a little bit of madness. Who is Ryland Finn and why are there secrets between him and Jack? He is fast becoming a threat to the family’s business, and in a short time what was once a promising future has become a bleak horror show. Why can’t Hope bear to step foot into The Salt House, the dream home that once was the seed to their happy future? Why is it a year later the pain is still fresh, and no one is moving on? Secrets will out, and sometimes it takes nearly going over the edge before a family can find the pieces to put themselves back together.

Will they be able to find a new way to live after so much grief, tragedy? Or is this the end of the Kelly Family?

The girls will have your heart, the shifting perspectives is vital to the telling because any parent can relate to the horror of losing your child, the shame and guilt that while you were oblivious, wrapped in your work, your child suffered her last breath. To put yourself in the children’s shoes is different, because they seemed to lose their sweet sister and need to make sense of their grief but their parents are anchored to their pain and can’t see past their own loss. Everyone is aching but full of buckets of resentment. This story hurts, it’s too realistic, and that’s exactly why it’s beautiful. Some are too young to understand what’s happening around them and yet my well be the wisest ones to remember just what their little sister Maddie would have wanted. Don’t be fooled by the pretty summer cover, it’s not a light breezy read. It’s weighted with pain. Hold tight to those you love, because everything can change in a moment, and you can’t always see what’s dangerous until it’s too late. Wonderful.

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Was this review helpful?
First thank you to Net Galley for my advanced copy.  This book is about emotions.  It's a book about a tragic loss and what happens to the family afterwards.  Sadness, guilt, grief and forgiveness are the main themes.  It was a good read and a hard read for me.  I enjoyed the book  and Lisa Duffy's style of writing.
Was this review helpful?
This book was just so cry worthy! I could not put it down and had to just hug my sister afterwards. Loosing someone is not so easy and I would not even know what I would do if I lost one of my siblings. So much emotion, real life problems, and worries go through every page in this book. 

In Maine, The Kelly family suffered a very big lost when their youngest child, Maddie, died in an accident. After a year, Jack and Hope still struggle with the death of their baby girl. Jack works as a lobsterman and Hope was a writer. Since the lost, they have been drifting apart from their marriage and their surviving children. A rival comes into town and looked out to be Jack's childhood enemy, Finn. Jess, their eldest daughter, becomes involved with Finn's step son and that made Jack even angrier. Jack spends all his time at work and got sick. As the story evolves, past dark secrets start coming out that could hurt their marriage and destroy the family even more.

This was a telling of the aftermath of a sudden death of a young child or family member. I felt like I was living in the book and felt each emotion like if it was my sibling who died. The pain and grief that this family went through was so awful and unexpected. I did not want it to end, but the ending was amazingly well put together.
Was this review helpful?
Great read! Looking forward to reading more by this author! Highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
The Salt House's portrayal of coastal small-town living felt spot-on and made me long to return to New England. In this story, the Kellys struggle to cope with the grief of losing their youngest child. Told in alternating voices, each member of this family is a compelling character, though the voices of the two daughters were particularly affecting and added to sense of hope, and even humor, to this beautifully written novel. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Imagine putting your toddler down for a nap. You check on her an hour later to discover she is not breathing.  Despite your best efforts and those of medical personnel to revive her, your child dies, and your life is forever changed.  How will you possibly be able to move on?  Author Lisa Duffy explores this scenario in her debut novel, The Salt House.  

Almost a year after their young daughter Maddie’s unexpected passing, the Kellys are a couple in crisis. Jack is working at a frenzied pace in his lobster business, while Hope is incapacitated in her writing career.  Harsh words have taken the place of loving intimacy, and their grief is palpable.  They don’t have the mental strength to help themselves, let alone each other, navigate the depths of their shared catastrophe.  Meanwhile, their two daughters, eight-year-old Kat and sixteen-year-old Jess, are struggling to make sense of the dramatic change in their home life as strained family dynamics become the new “normal.”  When Jack’s nemesis returns to the area after a two-decade absence, he brings with him the potential to further damage the Kelly family’s fragile relationships and livelihood. 

The Salt House was an emotional roller coaster of a book.  We are all aware of individuals whose lives have been destroyed by a tragedy.   We are also aware of those who have survived a tragedy to become stronger people on the other side.  We hope and pray that if something calamitous happens in our own lives that we will be able to endure.  For that reason, you can’t help but sympathize with each member of the Kelly family and hope that they can find the peace needed to mend their broken hearts.  This is a very good book, and it’s easy to get caught up in the story.  I highly recommend The Salt House to fans of general fiction, women’s fiction, and books focusing on family relationships and struggles.   

Thank you to Touchstone, NetGalley, and author Lisa Duffy for a complimentary digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?