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The House by the Loch by Kirsty Wark


The House by the Loch by Kirsty Wark
Published in: 2019
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

Have the tissues handy, you have been warned!

This ARC was provided by John Murray Press (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Scotland, 1950s Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can’t believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family, nor Walter’s care, can seem to save her.

Many years later, Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.

The House by the Loch is the story of a family in all its loving complexity, and the way it can, and must, remake itself endlessly in order to make peace with the past.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: Well I am guessing the blurb should have warned me that this was not going to be a happy book but I really wasn’t expecting the level of sadness I found inside. This book literally made me cry several times, it is a book I suggest you read on your own when you can give vent to your emotions in peace, do not read in a public place unless you enjoy people staring and wondering what the heck is wrong with you.

At its heart this is a story about family and about the damage family members can do to each other without even thinking about it. It is also a story about mental illness and addiction and how these things can have a big impact on the individual and everyone surrounding them. It also explores how the isolation of Loch living is not something everyone can cope with, for some it provides a perfect heaven to escape to while for others the lack of amenities and company can become a gilded cage.

While a lot of the book deals with heartache and tragedy the ending is about learning to forgive yourself and others; understanding that you are stronger with support and about how moving on doesn’t mean forgetting it means accepting.

Who would like this? If you like sad books I would definitely recommend this, if you like books that look at the darker side of family life this is for you, and if you like descriptive books about nature, the countryside, art and architecture this has those points covered as well.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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