“The House on the Water’s Edge” by C.E. Rose is not your run-of-the-mill thriller. it’s more a domestic suspense novel. The book is a completely first-person narrative by the central character Ali/Alison, who is a new mother struggling to cope with the demands of motherhood, and who has just found out that her mother has passed away in a car accident. To make matters worse, her mother had tried to contact her leading up to the accident. Ali just couldn’t make the time to talk to her and this puts on a bigger load of guilt on top of her already-existing insecurities about herself.
It begins to place a strain on her marriage and her at times insensitive husband isn’t much help either. This brings her almost to the edge of a breakdown. She eventually goes to her mother’s house in Norfolk, hoping to get some answers regarding her mother and also to get some perspective about her life.
There, as Ali begins to dig deeper into her parents’ pasts, she discovers many secrets — some which astonish her and some that give some clarity on her childhood and her parents. In fact, from about halfway through the book, the reader is treated to one revelation after another. At one point I just stopped guessing what secret might next be exposed and instead just concentrated on reading getting through the book. By the end of it, both Ali and the reader finally understand the various secrets each person had carried with them and the various dynamics these secrets created.
Author C. E. Rose has a unique style of narration wherein the reader can easily relate with all the characters to some extent. However, these characters are not people you would want to meet in your real life. Most of them have dark secrets and are struggling one way or another. The author has managed to create an atmospheric story with a malevolent presence with just these regular characters and of course, lots of twists and turns, some of which were easy to guess but there were also many that astonished me.
For all these positives, the book just didn’t grab me as I would have liked it to. The pacing of the story was very slow at the start and never picked up. In fact, it’s fair to call it a show-burn. But you can try this book out if you like to read atmospheric stories with elements of a psychological thriller.