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!
As seen in Goodreads:
In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy.
In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound.
A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart.
When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future.
Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.
Lisa Duffy is the author of The Salt House, her debut novel. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and can be found in The Drum Literary Magazine, So to Speak, Breakwater Review, Let the Bucket Down, and elsewhere. Lisa is the founding editor of ROAR, a literary magazine supporting women in the arts. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children.