The House on the Cliff

Psychotherapist Jessica Mayhew should know better than to get personally involved with her patients, but her personal life hasn’t been going well recently so Jessica crosses the line. Now, hopefully, she will live long enough to untangle the mess she has stumbled into.

TV soap star Gwydion Morgan has an odd fear of buttons, of all things, and he’s sought Jessica help in dealing with this phobia. In their talk about the problem Gwydion mentions a strange dream he keeps having. Believing the dream holds the key to her patient’s bizarre button aversion, Jessica agrees to visit Gwydion’s family home and meet his parents.

While this encounter with Mr. and Mrs. Morgan is enlightening, Jessica finds that the story Mrs. Morgan shares about the long-ago death of the family’s au pair far more revealing. Sensing a link between the girl’s death and her client’s present problems, Jessica decides to play detective and do some digging into the girl’s past.

This psychological thriller with its flawed characters and foreboding, moody setting is a throwback to the Gothic novels of yesteryear. Charlotte Williams has been mentioned in the same breath as Daphne DuMaurier and Jessica Mayhew is, in many ways, reminiscent of someone who would perhaps be more comfortable in an earlier time period.

The cliffside setting of Craigfa House is the ideal backdrop for this British thriller. Readers who have a hankering for a solid Gothic thriller/romance won’t be disappointed by “The House on the Cliff”.

Book Blurb for The House on the Cliff

Jessica Mayhew is a sharp, successful therapist with a thriving practice and loving family. But the arrival of a new client, actor Gwydion Morgan, coincides with a turbulent moment in her life: her husband has just confessed to a one-night stand with a younger woman. The son of a famous stage director, Gwydion is good-looking and talented but mentally fragile, tormented by an intriguing phobia. When Jessica receives a frantic call warning that he is suicidal, she decides to make a house call.

The Morgans live in a grand clifftop mansion overlooking the rocky Welsh coast. It seems to be a remote paradise, but there's something sinister about it too: Jessica learns that the family's former au pair drowned in the bay under mysterious circumstances. In her quest to help Gwydion, to whom she's grown increasingly attached, Jessica becomes ensnared in the Morgan family mystery, which soon becomes an explosive public scandal—one that puts her directly in harm's way. Meanwhile, Jessica is doing her best to keep her marriage and family together, but her growing attraction to Gwydion is impossible to ignore.

Smart, stylish, and suspenseful, The House on the Cliff announces the arrival of a winning female protagonist in Jessica Mayhew and an exciting new crime writer in Charlotte Williams.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2014 4.00