Thursday 15 September 2022

The House on Rockaway Beach by Emma Burstall Blog Tour

 What counts as a beach read?

Does it necessarily have to be summery or do you think any book counts as long as it allows you to sit and escape in the sunshine?

Whatever your answer to that question, Emma Burstall's latest novel definitely comes under that category.

The House on Rockaway Beach screams pure escapism. Its front cover showing an idyllic situation, a stunning house backing on to copious amounts of sun, sea and sand.

And the story held within is just as charming.


Sophie spent many happy summers at Rockaway Beach, visiting her beloved grandmother. Endless days playing in the sand with her sister Celia, watching day trippers come and go, never straying far from the quaint old house on the edge of the sea.

Then, one summer, the visits stopped. Sophie knows her mother and grandmother fell out, but she never found out why. So, many years later, it comes as a huge shock when she learns that her grandmother left the house to her and Celia in her will.

Together, the sisters return to Rockaway, but they cannot agree on anything. Sophie wants to keep the house, Celia is determined to sell. It seems they will never see eye to eye, until Sophie makes a chance discovery which will make her question everything...

This is the story of two sisters.

How their family seemed to fall apart at the seams.

And just how they were going to repair the damage made.

I was cleverly transported into a different world as I began to read this book. Emma has a real knack for rich descriptions.

Making the scenery and surroundings so clear and vibrant.

Right from the beginning, I was whisked away to somewhere else.

Siblings Celia and Sophie have travelled from England to Rockaway Beach, New York to sort out their Grandmother's beloved home, Piping Plover House, a place that they've inherited together despite being quite estranged as the years have gone by.

Told from both women's points of view, it is clear early on that this pair have very little in common if you discount the fact that they are related. 

Celia is more prim and proper, a successful doctor, she likes things done a certain way and there is very little room for mistakes to be made. But although she has a husband and two children are at home waiting for her, I couldn't help but feel sad as clearly this was the life that she thought she should have, not necessarily the life she dreamed of. 

Sophie on the other hand is much more carefree, willing to take a chance and go with the flow. A single parent to her daughter Layla, she lives with very little money to her name but isn't afraid to see where life takes her. However she too lives with regrets. 

No life is perfect.

The intention for them both is to clear and clean the house and eventually put it up for sale. Not something Sophie wants but she doesn't put up much of a fight with her stubborn sister to keep the house and its memories. 

As furniture is moved and items are uncovered, family secrets once hidden begin to pour out of the cracks and the space between these sisters begins to widen further as truths are told, leaving Sophie's world quite literally turned upside down and both ladies re-evaluating their lives, their past actions and their future desires.

I loved reading this book.

The family dramas were actually a small part of the tale.

What stood out for me was the love for the destination, almost an ode to the beach, the unsung character within this tale.

Emma has real knack for writing something that I could highly imagine to be real. It was a joy to see the character's journeys, the growth and strides made with each chapter. The emotions felt pure, honest and my heart was truly warmed by the closing chapters.

The House on Rockaway Beach is a cosy and inviting book just waiting to be read.


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