Read The House on the Cliff by Charlotte Williams Online

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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 byJessica 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....

Title : The House on the Cliff
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062284570
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 338 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The House on the Cliff Reviews

  • Raven
    2018-12-12 22:48

    This assured debut from Charlotte Williams is perfect for fans of the psychological thriller very much on a par with Erin Kelly, Sophie Hannah et al. Focusing on the professional and personal life of psychologist Jessica Mayhew, balancing the demands of a difficult family including a wilful teenage daughter and a snake-in-the-grass husband, Jessica’s life is further complicated by the arrival of a troubled new patient, Gwydion Morgan. Morgan places many demands on Mayhew emotionally and professionally, as events from his childhood reveal a dark tale of jealousy and murder.Williams skilfully interweaves this two disparate areas of Jessica’s life into a fluid and engaging narrative, and although for me personally, the guilty party was quite evident in the murder plot, I was carried along quite nicely by the dilemmas facing Jessica. There was a good intergration within the book of psychological detail and the professional treatment of psychological disorders which made for an interesting curve in the central plot as Jessica’s professional life plays such a central role. Her family life, focusing on the demands of a difficult teenage daughter and the rebuilding of trust with her husband after his sexual indiscretion, also had an extremely authentic feel leading the reader to feel great empathy with Jessica’s woes. Her relationship with Gwydion Morgan also makes for an interesting dynamic, professionally and personally and likewise her interaction with other members of the Morgan clan, a family steeped in jealousy and untruths. One aspect of the book I felt was particularly good was William’s depiction of place and atmosphere especially in relation to the central setting of the rugged west coast of Wales. She captured perfectly the wild beauty of the area, and there was also a nice little sojourn in Sweden as Jessica attempts to untangle the complicated threads of Morgan’s troubled family history. All in all a good thriller and certainly an author I would read again.

  • Lesa Parnham
    2018-12-05 23:56

    This has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. I didn't offer it to a friend, didn't put it in the Goodwill box, but threw it away. Now, to someone who has never approached the mental health profession in any way, sense or form, this may have had some redeeming features, but as someone who has a lot of ties to the world of psycoanalysis this book is not only inaccurate ind insulting, but would make those who are in therapy run for the hills. Therapists are tightly bound by rules of confidentiality. They do not run all over two countries telling your problems to all concerned, they do not have any kind of relationships with their parents, and if any of this occurs,they should promptly have their licsence revoked. There are also many story lines going every which way that are so unessecary. Perhaps if Jessica had been a detective the story might have been more palatable. Also if you love REBECCA this story is a poor excuse so it might be for you.I read between 80-100 books a year and this was the very worst I have read in a while. STAY AWAY!

  • ✰☽♥✰Unsolved Mystery ✰♥☾✰
    2018-11-20 00:39

    - My Description -Dr. Jessica Mayhew really didn't know what she was getting into when Gwydion Morgan comes in for sessions to cure his phobia. At the beginning, Gwydion tells Jessica about a dream (or is it a memory?) he's having. Through different sessions, more of the dream (memory??) unfolds. It draws you inside. Is Gwydion's dream really a past memory?Gwydion's parents house draws Jessica in.Gwydion's mother tells Jessica she thinks her son is depressed and contemplating suicide. Jessica makes a house call. There is something about that house and the water.What is it trying to tell her? Jessica is also trying to fight off the growing attraction she is having to Gwydion. It's not easy to do, especially considering her husband had a one night stand with another woman. This leads Jessica to be more than a little peeved and more than a little curious. She is also having to protect her daughter from a former client.Did I mention someone is watching Jessica?Poor Jessica! She might have to have doctor care for herself after it's all over with....- My Review -This book had so much going on inside, but it wasn't confusing at all. Everything came together in the end. =)Loved it. What a page turner! =)I recommend it.

  • He110Ne0
    2018-11-20 00:36

    This book should have been called "A Therapist's Career On The Edge Of A Cliff." Holy hell. Where to start.OK our main character is a psychotherapist named Jessica Mayhew who lives in Wales with her husband Bob and two daughters, 16 year old Nella and 10 or 11 year old Rose. We come into this book learning that Bob has had an affair with a younger woman while on a business trip and Jessica is left to deal with whether or not she feels like salvaging her marriage as a result. Meanwhile, she has a new client named Gwydion Morgan coming to see her who has a button phobia and a whole heap of straight-from-a-soap-opera set of therapy issues that are the stuff psychologist's wet dreams are made of. As many reviews have stated, it is very clear that the person who wrote this is not, in fact, a psycho therapists. That's fine. I've read plenty of perfectly enjoyable sci-fi by people who aren't astronauts and urban fantasy from writer's I'm pretty sure aren't vampires. Unfortunately, however, this book revels in pscyho babble involving dream interpretation, repressed memories, and Freudian theories (which even I know are not really taken seriously at this point anymore). Simply put Jessica is a terrible doctor and an even more annoying mother. She simultaneously is not dealing with the emotional repercussions of her husband's one night stand and, almost instantly, starts having sexual thoughts about her new client Gwydion. We are almost immediately told with great description IN THEIR FIRST SESSION about how sexually attracted she is to him and she tries to rationalize it with pheromones. Yes, you read that right. PHEROMONES. Then, when that excuse isn't enough, she decides to blame it on transference of the anger she has at her husband's affair, and wanting to take spiteful revenge by having an affair with a younger man. Despite the obvious fact that she should immediately stop seeing this individual as a client, she instead gets ridiculously embroiled in his family situation by making a house call when he is bed ridden, learning of an unsolved death from Gwydion's mother, and Googling her client and his father - a rather famous figure in the movie industry and a well known womanizer. At the same time, Jessica's 16 year old daughter Nella is growing up into the kind of awful teenager that a good smack upside the head tends to fix in short order. There's teenage angst and then there's just flat out being a disrespectful brat. Nella falls into the second category but, hey, Jessica is mom of the year and tries to give Nella her space and understand how hard it is to be a teenager. After a school concert, she discovers her daughter has quite a good voice that she's been keeping under wraps and on the way out of the recital sees a former client of hers entering the school. This client, mind you, had lost his job for alleged indecency with a minor. It had never been proven but he was disgraced in the teaching world for his actions and even Jessica has misgivings about the guy. He comes up to her and flatly announces he's working with talent recruitment for new, young artists. He specifically indicates he has interest in representing her daughter. Jessica says "NO OF COURSE NOT THAT'S TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE." No, I'm sorry that's what ANY OTHER MOTHER IN THE WORLD would have said. Jessica takes his business card and trusts her otherwise neanderthalish 16 year old daughter to have the right instincts and not do anything stupid, and LEAVES THE SCHOOL. The book continues to unveil an unsolved murder that took place on the Morgan estate of a young au pair that worked for the family when Gwydion was very young. Gwydion decides to take his father to court based on memories he has recovered from a dream. Jessica decides that fool proof evidence like that is a good reason she should testify in court. Her husband, Bob, who is a lawyer and conveniently an old friend of Gwydion's father Evan Morgan decides it's not at all a conflict of interest to represent his old buddy convinced the man's being set up. There are so many WTF's in that last paragraph that I don't know how it even got past an editor's desk. But here we are. The rest of the book is entirely predictable and full of lots of other entirely inappropriate and unbelievable moments, including the ending which is so ridiculous in its "reveals" that I was practically laughing. I'll tell you what, if this is what your average psychotherapist is like in Wales than by all means, I do not recommend having any nervous breakdowns while visiting. The things I liked about this book was the author's clearly skilled use of vocabulary and setting moods and locations. Her descriptions of environments pull you in, and each character is visible in the mind's eye. In fact, her ability to write these situations is the only thing that saved this book from one star. I think Charlotte Williams would do her talents a better service by writing a book involving mild supernatural elements, or perhaps a gritty detective story where you can take more liberties with rule-breaking. This entire book seemed torn between wanting to be a romance novel and a thriller and never could manage to quite do either. There are so many times it could have become extremely creepy but pulled back, as if shy. Other places it could have been quite erotic and similarly, pulled back. Supposedly this is the first in a series of books that will feature Jessica Mayhew, but I certainly won't be reading anymore. It's a book that will quickly be forgotten.

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2018-11-29 22:32

    Forty-something psychotherapist Jessica Mayhew has a successful practice in Cardiff, Wales; a handsome husband, Bob; and two beautiful daughters, Nella and Rose. But appearances can be deceiving. At fifteen, Nella is at a difficult age and Jessica is finding it hard to keep the lines of communication open between them. And she's still trying to recover from learning that Bob had a one-night stand with a much younger woman while on a business trip in Europe a month ago.On the day Jess's story starts, she meets a potential new client on his first appointment. Gwydion Morgan is a young and extremely handsome local actor, whose best known for his on-going role in a popular Welsh TV soap. His father is the renowned stage director, Evan Morgan, who is equally famous for his numerous affairs and dalliances with other women, while his wife, Arianrhod, once a beautiful actress, wastes away at the family home, a forbidding stone mansion on the rocky Welsh coast. Gwydion has no love for his father but is close to his mother, and no other siblings.Gwydion comes to Jessica with a fairly typical button phobia, which is a concern now that he's been picked to star in a new costume-drama (the costume he'll have to wear will have numerous buttons). Then he opens up to her about a recurring nightmare he's been having, in which he's a terrified little boy trapped in a dark box. Each time he returns to her office, he recounts the dream as it progresses, and each time, Jessica is sure she thinks she knows where it is going.As much as she tries, she can't quite keep her own, very human, sense of curiosity out of Gwydion's case. Her friend, an actress called Mari, once had an affair with Evan and imparts some random bits of gossip about the family. And when Jess agrees, against her own rules, to visit the Morgan home in person when Gwydion falls into a deep depression, she is taken on a tour of the cliff-top garden by Arianrhod. At the edge of the cliff, at the top of a steep flight of stairs cut into the rockface, she sees a plaque, written in Swedish, memorialising the death of a young, pretty Swedish backpacker who drowned there.As the Morgan family's secrets come bubbling to the surface, Jess gets more and more deeply involved in uncovering the truth in the hope of helping Gwydion recover and move on. But all is not as it seems with the Morgans, and Jess is not as in-control of the case as she believes.I'm a bit torn over this one. While it had many qualities of good writing: swift, smooth, consistent pacing, a well-developed protagonist, some atmosphere and enough details to keep me interested, it was a bit predictable and a bit thin, plot-wise. The setting - the Welsh coast, in particular - was a good one, and lively for the imagination. There was some atmosphere, but not as much as I would have liked; not as much as would have added tension and real suspense to the story.Jessica was an interesting character, intelligent and honourable but flawed in the sense that she's a bit over-confident in her own analytical abilities and her own sense of righteousness, and she makes mistakes. She can be a bit unlikeable at times, which actually made me like her more because it made her feel more human. She could be surprisingly slow on the uptake at times, despite being intelligent overall, and she came across as rather cold and unfriendly. The reasons why Bob had a brief affair are hinted at, and as much as it doesn't excuse it, Jess has something to do with it. Her analysis of her own marital difficulties is patchy, and no wonder: it's all very well to look deep into someone else's problems while they sit on your couch, and discreetly guide them to the answers buried in their own minds, but quite another thing to accurately and honestly reflect on yourself. It takes Jess quite a while to realise that, and in the meantime - I can hardly believe it - I actually felt slightly sorry for Bob. Sorry for him in that he's a bit of a pathetic figure (anytime a 50+ year old man shags a 20-something woman, it's a bit sad, really. Mid-life crisis and all that), but also sorry for him because he could use a therapist himself, no doubt.I am always very fascinated by the descriptions of therapy. Never having attended any kind of therapy session myself, I feel like a real voyeur, peeping in on someone else's. And it speaks to our all-too-human curiosity as to what's going on in other people's lives, partly to see what we can learn about coping techniques for ourselves. I studied some Freud at uni, in a couple of English courses, and was not impressed, but while his ideas were a bit ludicrous at times, I can see the merit in the principals of psychotherapy for some people, at least in the way Jessica works with her clients. As in Liane Moriarty's excellent novel, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, I love getting that intimate access to a therapist's room, and hearing about the processes behind it.But the plot, oh dear the plot. It really was rather predictable, and Jessica's family drama with Nella was more interesting to me than the murder mystery. It just felt a bit too contrived, a bit too convenient, and a bit too flawed. The concept for the set-up - which I don't want to explain as it would spoil the story, and I don't like giving spoilers if I can help it - seemed flimsy to me, and too obvious. After all, Jessica's dealing with a whole family of actors here, which she notes in the beginning and then forgets, so dazzled is she by Gwydion's beautiful face. (Was it just me or was the flirtation between them just plain creepy?)As far as a quick mystery read goes, this was certainly quick. As far as a satisfying, suspenseful thriller goes, it was decidedly lacking. I didn't wholly dislike it, for the reasons mentioned above, but by the time I got to the ending I had rather lost interest in the whole family-secret-murder-mystery plot, and just wanted to hear more about human nature and Jessica's internal analysis.My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via TLC Book Tours.

  • Lyn (Readinghearts)
    2018-11-26 02:46

    Some of the best mystery/thrillers that I have read have belonged to the genre of "psychological thriller", so when I read the synopsis for Charlotte Williams' debut novel, The House on the Cliff, I was immediately intrigued. Therapist Jessica Mayhew has just met her new client, the brooding Gwydion Morgan. As an aspiring actor, Gwydion has just been offered the role of a lifetime, but he suffers from an unlikely phobia that could end his ability to handle the part. As Jessica tries to help him overcome the phobia, she becomes aware of another problem that threatens not only Gwydion, but her life as well.If I had to categorize The House on the Cliff, I would have a hard time choosing the type of thriller it is. There were definitely elements of the psychological thriller in the book, but at times it almost had a "Gothic" feel to it. You have a young women hired to help a brooding, dark man under whose spell she increasingly falls, a domineering mother, a forbidding house on windswept cliff above the sea, and a decades old unsolved death. At times it reminded me of the books of either Victoria Holt or Georgette Heyer, only this one was set in the current time period. In fact, I thought the book worked much more as a Gothic than as a psychological thriller. I loved that the author included the uniquely Welsh spelling of the names, also. It gave the book a more real feel to me. And although I was able to figure out the ultimate resolution to the murder early on, in a Gothic story that is not necessarily a drawback. There were a few things, though, that kept the book from being a 4 or 5 star read for me. For one thing, the original phobia that Gwydion is trying to overcome has really nothing to do with the rest of the book. After using it to introduce the main two characters, the author lets it fall in the cracks. Unfortunately for me, I found myself wondering why the phobia developed and whether it could have played a more integral part of the story. There were a couple of other plot disconnects similar to that that I found myself wondering about and wishing were either left out of the story altogether, or were integrated in the story more successfully. All in all, I enjoyed this debut novel. I believe Charlotte Williams definitely has a future as an author of thrillers, and look forward to reading more from her in the future.I would like to thank the publisher for making a copy of this eARC available through Eidelweiss in exchange for a review.

  • Cheryl
    2018-11-27 02:37

    Therapist Jessica Mayhew's professional life is good but her personal life is in turmoil. Her husband cheated on her with a younger woman. Although he said it was a one time thing , Jessica can not help easily forgive and forget. That is why when her newest client, Gwydion has a freak out moment and needs Jessica's help, she decides to pay Gwydion a house visit and stay for a while. To give herself space from her husband. When Jessica arrives at the house, she learns a secret about Gwydion's family. One that drags Jessica into the mix and into danger. I was really looking forward to reading this book. It sounded a little like it might be a gothic psychological thriller or maybe it had to do with the book cover. Sadly, I was not feeling this book as much as I had hoped to. Don't get me wrong as it is alright but none of the characters reached out and connected with me on an emotional level. In addition, I found them to be somewhat dull. I know if I had connected with the characters better then I would have liked this book more. The story line was fine as I did read this book really fast. The mystery surrounding Gwydion and his family was not really a big secret. The author tried to make the secret dark but it did not come off that way. Finally, the ending was a little of a let down. I was like "really, this is how it is going to end regarding Jessica and Gwydion?"

  • Michelle
    2018-11-14 21:28

    received a copy from the goodreads giveaway... a well written story that I found myself really getting lost in not sure how it would end. very pleasantly surprised with the ending she left where there is hope for the future, but not everything is neatly tied up in an automatically happily ever after, even the ending keeps her characters seeming real

  • Kelsey
    2018-11-19 21:53

    Not great but not bad for a debut

  • Hannah Fullmer
    2018-12-10 01:49

    The House on the Cliff was a novel that I liked, but which was different from what I expected.The book's cover, description, and the fact that it was listed as similar to ghost stories like Wendy Webb's The Vanishing, led me to anticipate that The House on the Cliff would be a lyrical, gothic ghost story. In fact, this drama by author Charlotte Williams does contain a house on a cliff, as well as murder, betrayal, and family secrets, but for all that, it is more rooted in the ordinary world than the mysterious. The narrator and main character is Jessica Mayhew, a psychotherapist who follows in the Freudian tradition, in which she notes that clients come to her for years and don't always get better. Jessica has just the smallest hint of self-effacing humor, which makes her otherwise self-satisfied pontification seem bearable.When we meet Jessica, she is dealing with the fallout from the recent discovery that her husband Bob, has cheated on her with a much younger woman. She is also struggling to communicate with two daughters, as they attempt to assert their teen/pre-teen independence.The story itself is not bad, but it's more about Jessica's relationship to her family, rather than anything ghostly or mysterious. It feels like at its core, this story is about psychology, rather than about the magical or inexplicable.Also, as noted above, none of the characters are very compelling. Jessica herself makes some callus life choices, and the other characters seem irritating or self-absorbed without having any redeeming qualities. The House on the Cliff, and its characters, emanate a certain detachment, much like the professional relationship that Jessica strives to achieve with her clients. Ultimately, The House on the Cliff had all the ingredients to be a haunting mystery. There is a crumbling gothic pile on a cliff, the mysterious drowning of a beautiful young woman, a tortured artist who might or might not be insane. But despite these tantalizing elements, the story stays firmly rooted in the everyday world of urban, contemporary life. If you're looking for something with a bit more gothic sensibility, I'd recommend the following:Cauldstane by Linda Gillard (contemporary ghost story set in Scotland)A Cry in the Night by Tom Grieves (contemporary, disturbing, thriller set in the Lake District)Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James (ghost story set in an insane asylum in 1919)

  • Krysten Quiles
    2018-12-11 02:44

    I really wanted to like this book. When I read the back of the book it sounded like an intriguing mystery. The reviews on it weren't great but they weren't horrible and I figured I'd give it a shot.Unfortunately, what was said in the good reviews I found not to be true. This book, for me, was not a quick read, mostly because I didn't find it that mysterious. I read it slowly because I didn't find myself addicted. It wasn't really BAD, it just wasn't GREAT either. And the mystery? I guessed it nearly from the get go. The entire time I found myself gathering clues for an ending I had already guessed.The part that I did like from the book was that it had interesting back stories. I wanted to find out what would become of Jessica and her husband after his affair. And I wanted to know what kind of trouble Jessica's daughter was getting herself into. Although the main mystery didn't really interest me, I did like the other storylines and almost wished that the author would have gone further into them. All in all I can't highly recommend this read, but it also wasn't a total waste. I'd say if someone wants to lend you their copy it's worth a shot but don't go out and buy it.

  • Sarah Hyatt
    2018-11-25 02:37

    Apparently everyone hated this book but it is the first book I've read in a long time where I just read and enjoyed it and wasn't distracted by how much I HATED EVERYTHING, and that is all I ask for in a book. Also I hate supposedly "good" books (I'm looking at you, The Fault In Our Stars, and your ironic hipster drivel) so maybe I should start looking for more 2 star reviews. This book was so devoid of strong feelings of hatred that I loved it. Not because it was great, because it wasn't. But because it was actually good enough. In the same way that Nancy Drew is good enough. I just read it and enjoyed it and that was all. I had absolutely no expectations going in, no idea what it was about, nothing, and it was blissful.

  • Moira Riley
    2018-12-04 22:30

    I'm being pretty generous with 2 stars. This book is terrible. The therapist is an idiot and completely unbelievable. I mean, I hope to hell if there are therapists like this out there that someone has already identified them and revoke their licenses... kissing clients, private consultations about adult client with parents, trolling clients on the internet, visiting people in other towns to investigate client, recovered memories... I found myself yelling at the main character throughout the book. I think the author should have done their homework to find out what a real therapist would likely do in these scenarios. I wish I read the reviews before I chose this title. I downloaded this from the library as an audio book so I just stuck it out.

  • Jenny L
    2018-11-13 20:33

    Elegantly written and a very good story. Easy to quickly become immersed in the life of Jessica Mayhew, the main character, a psychotherapist who becomes embroiled in the life of one of her patients. There are quite a few twists and turns in the story and some good surprises. Overall, a great book, will be looking out for the next from Charlotte Williams.

  • Renita D'Silva
    2018-11-14 21:54

    A fast paced psychological thriller that delivered on all levels. Liked it.

  • Kristy Lewandowski
    2018-11-18 01:29

    Initially I like it, but I got annoyed with the main character, who was endlessly introspective without being terribly insightful (despite being a therapist) and the mystery wasn't very mysterious (there weren't a lot of available suspects and it was rather obvious.) By the end, I was constantly wanting to yell at the main character or else rolling my eyes at her. Won't read anymore by this author.

  • D.S.
    2018-11-25 19:33

    Skip it.

  • Reeka (BoundbyWords)
    2018-11-25 03:44

    As seen on my blog:This is what I would like to call: a fluffy psychological thriller. It was just okay for me, packed with an exciting enough plot line that had me starting and finishing the book within a couple of hours. The House on the Cliff was no spectacular addition to it's genre, nor does it live up to it's seriously sinister front cover art, but I enjoyed it's twists, and would definitely recommend it as a rainy day read.We meet Jessica Mayhew in the midst of marriage troubles. Her husband is fresh off a one-night stand he shared with a co-worker overseas, and insisting that it was definitely "nothing." I felt like this incident was satisfyingly handled. Jessica was the right amount of angry for me, and her inability to just forgive and forget throughout the novel was refreshing, and realistic. Jessica, a psychotherapist by trade, then meets an interesting new client by the name of Gwydion Morgan (what a name, right?). The attraction to this man, and his mysterious inner turmoil, is instant, and soon Jessica finds herself entrapped in a unsolved murder case involving Gwydion and his equally mysterious family. With her husband's act of betrayal playing the catalyst, and excuse, for much of Jessica's behaviour as the story unfolds, we are brought along as she takes it upon herself to solve not only Gwydion's mystery, but eventually, her own.The writing in The House on the Cliff wasn't profound, or unlike many mass produced mysteries out there-actually,it tended to be a bit overly descriptive, and repetitive, at parts. However, it was solid, and did exactly what it needed to: it laid out the facts, and helped bring the bad guy to light. Everything that filled in those spaces was enjoyable, and definitely kept me engaged. I was a fan of the author's scenic descriptions, especially when the main character traveled to Stockholm. There were sub-mysteries to solve: like, who was Jessica's daughter Nella sneaking around with? What kind of person was her husband Bob, before he married her? Side note: This is my own personal pet peeve, but I could not, for the life of me, accept Jessica and Bob's style of parenting. They were OVERLY lenient with their 16-year-old daughter, and at one point, the author has them point out that she's "of age" to be doing as she pleases. Um...no she most certainly is NOT. If I was doing what Nella did at the ripe age of 16, I would have been LOCKED IN MY HOUSE FOR LIFE. I just found that aspect of the book to be a little unrealistic, and extremely hard to connect with/understand. But, again, that is most likely just a cultural difference.In all, The House on the Cliff wasn't a book that knocked my proverbial socks off, but I was happy to be introduced to the author and Jessica Mayhew: a main character that the author intends to write a series of novels about. If you're looking for a quick, in-between read, this book is exactly the remedy.    Recommended for Fans of: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense.

  • Annabee
    2018-12-09 02:27

    KABBELEND NAAR DE FINALEPsychotherapeute Jessica Mayhew begeeft zich op glad ijs: zij onderhoudt buiten haar praktijk om contact met (ex-)patiënt Gwydion Morgan en diens familie. Dat is niet te doen gebruikelijk, noch raadzaam. Jessica is geïntrigeerd door een gebeurtenis in het verleden van Gwydion. Berusten diens herinneringen op waarheid of zijn het pseudoherinneringen? En hoe zit het met de overige leden van de familie Morgan? Tegelijkertijd heeft Jessica privéproblemen. Manlief is vreemdgegaan en oudste dochter denkt zelf te kunnen beslissen wat goed voor haar is. Locatie: Wales. Verwachting: beschrijvingen van de prachtige natuur aldaar en een goed geschreven spannend verhaal, want 'literaire thriller'. De natuurbeschrijvingen blijken summier, de spanning is - voor zover aanwezig - subtiel, onderhuids. Goed geschreven dan? Nou nee, het is aardig, maar niet bijzonder. Eén keer papieren zakdoekjes uit de tas halen is voldoende, zoals ook één keer de term thuisblijfmoeder voldoende is en de keren dat de leeftijd van dochter Nella aangeduid wordt - ze is 16 - zijn niet te tellen. Charlotte Williams schrijft omslachtig, gebruikt enorm veel woorden om situaties beeldend te maken. Voorbeeld: "Ik liep naar de kapstok, pakte mijn jasje en keek in de spiegel. Ik had alweer donkere wallen onder mijn ogen. Mijn gezicht was een beetje rood, mijn wangen vlekkerig. En mijn haar had ook weleens beter gezeten. Wanneer ik moe ben, heeft mijn haar de gewoonte om zo te gaan zitten dat het er slordig uitziet, met overal plukken, en het proberen glad te strijken heeft dan geen enkele zin. Maar hoewel ik er moe en lichtelijk slonzig uitzag, had mijn gezicht die dag vreemd genoeg ook iets ongewoons, vond ik, in mijn ogen speelde een glinstering van nieuwsgierigheid, van levendigheid. ..." Het verhaal is goed, voldoende boeiend, zit mooi in elkaar. Verdieping wordt ingebracht door de psychologische bespiegelingen van Jessica en de uitleg over de werking van de geest met betrekking tot herinneringen. Interessante materie, waar best iets meer uit gehaald had kunnen worden. Gedurende het lezen blijft lang onduidelijk wat de waarheid is en wie er liegt/liegen. Dat maakt het slot dan nog een beetje spannend, al was het wellicht voor een thriller beter geweest om enige onzekerheid over te laten. Is dit wel de echte waarheid? Voor lezers met een rijke fantasie is het een kleine moeite een theorie te ontwikkelen die haaks op het slot van 'Het huis op de klif' staat en het tot een onaf verhaal maakt ... Dat zou pas spannend zijn! Al met al 'Het huis op de klif' met plezier gelezen, ik ga meteen door met deel 2, 'Zwarte vallei'. Helaas is de auteur in 2014 overleden, de reeks rond Jessica Mayhew zal op twee boeken blijven steken. [spanning 3, plot 3, leesplezier 4, schrijfstijl 3, originaliteit 2, psychologie 3]

  • Laura
    2018-12-09 20:55

    Charlotte Williams has great ambitions for "The House on the Cliff" ...trying to write a mystery (turns out average and easy to unravel), a thriller (fails to build any real suspense), and a romance?? (just something to shake my head in confusion/disbelief at). Dr. Mayhew--just call her Jessica--is a psychotherapist with 20 years of experience, who seems to still struggle with daydreaming while her clients are talking to her, can't seem to set appropriate boundaries, and downright dislikes many of her clients. Our journey with Jessica commences with the addition of a new client by the name of Gwydion. He has a phobia of buttons, also known as koumpounophobia (who knew?), which turns out is a rare but real thing. Under this pretense, he seeks treatment from Jessica, but soon divulges that he has much deeper issues--he can't sleep at night due to a recurrent dream/nightmare. He also has a pretty intense dislike for his father. Turns out the dreams are actually repressed memories which unfold like magic over the next few sessions.Jessica, being the dutiful and ethical therapist that she is, proceeds to look up her client on the internet, has multiple in-depth discussions with her client's mother, comes (unbidden by the client himself) to visit him on a house call, makes thinly veiled digs for information about her client and his family with her group of friends at dinner, and travels out of the country to find out more about her client's backstory. Just a typical day in the life of a therapist right?In other news, Jessica's husband Bob has had a one-night stand which he confesses to her. She responds as any good therapist would by bottling up her emotions, giving Bob the cold shoulder, and hiding/ignoring the repercussions on her family, her marriage, and her practice as a therapist. Also, Jessica's teenage daughter is a 16 year old with an attitude and a plan. Unlike the rest of the side stories in the book, I felt this was realistic, and relate able to any reader who parents a teenager. Side stories aside though, the majority of the book involves Jessica turned investigator, attempting to unravel the storyline revealed in Gwydion's dreams/memories. The mystery is decent, has a few (if predictable) twists, and the ending ties up strings nicely. If you are looking for an accurate portrayal of psychotherapy or a tense psychological thriller this is *not* the book. However, if you are about to go on a trip and want a fluffy mystery with a nice setting, and at least an average plot then this might be a good pick. Bonus points if you can get it free from the library!Overall given 2 stars or "Average".

  • Tom Donaghey
    2018-12-02 23:38

    I like a good mystery, a good psychological suspense novel and a good, hidden killer murder mystery, so when I received this novel through the Goodreads site I had high expectations. The story started strong with a handsome male soon-to-be leading man coming to see Welsh psychotherapist Jessica Mayhew for counseling concerning a button phobia which will have consequences when he tries to act in a costumed period piece, replete with seemingly hundreds of the little things. As a Freudian, Jessica sees through this thin display of problem to the deep issue of whatever it might be that the young man might be hiding from. As a woman Jessica is overly attracted to the much younger man and tries to see though his clothing leading to a rise in her own body temperature. As the story progresses we discover the cause of the patient’s neurosis even as Jessica finds herself falling for her young client. Toss into this mix the man’s parents: the father, a well know theatrical producer with many affairs to his credit (or shame) and a mother who has stood mutely nearby as the family had disintegrated. Shake in a large portion of unhappiness within Jessica’s life with her husband and children and we have the start of a quite unseemly relationship which can only have dire consequences for all involved. Add to this mix a possible murder that may lie as the basis for the young actors problems and you have what should be a very moving read. But you don’t. Jessica’s home life, especially the story of the older daughter, appears to be nothing more than filler, tossed in to pad out the pages, give a little more insight to the struggles Jessica has put herself in and, in the end, adds nothing to the story. Jessica herself, rather than being an intriguing character upon which to build a series, comes out as a troubled individual who should not be counseling others but should be talking to her mentor on a weekly if not daily basis. There is a nod to this lapse in Jessica’s behavior but I felt it was a shoddy attempt to gloss over a major problem with the story. To sum up, while this could have been a tighter written book with more time devoted to the major story, I do understand that this book is to act as a platform from which to launch a series and as such the author might have thought it necessary to build in the additional characters and their stories at the onset. All in all “The House On The Cliff” was a good read, not the least bit suspenseful, but with just enough juice to pull the reader from one page to another.

  • Amy
    2018-12-09 21:34

    Welsh therapist Jessica Mayhew has achieved some professional success. Her practice is established, she has a steady flow of clients, and she helps them. Her personal life, though, is a different story. Her husband has confessed to a one-night fling, and Jessica struggles with forgiving him. Every time she starts to do so, she can't escape the vision of his cheating.They have two teenage daughters, the older of which, Nella, is every bit as cooperative and docile as you'd expect from a sixteen-year-old. Jessica struggles there, too. She wants to control Nella, but she knows she can't. When Nella decides to try her hand at singing, Jessica aches to protect her, even as Nella rebuffs her at every turn.Into Jessica's office walks Gwydion Morgan, an up and coming star. Gwydion is stricken with a quirky phobia: he's terrified of buttons. And as he is on the cusp of a period drama, he needs to find a way to manage his terrors. He also has a recurring dream in which he's locked in a box and hears his parents - or at least his father - arguing.This sets Jessica on a course of inquiry that surprises her at every turn. She is not the type of person to investigate a potential crime, but something about an au pair who drowned when Gwydion was a boy compels her to find resolution.At the same time, she is equally as drawn to Gwydion himself. He's younger, and he's attracted to her. But is her interest in him genuine or is it retaliatory?There were good things in this book, chiefly the sub plot involving Nella. That one is better developed than the au pair mystery, the resolution of which you will see coming long before Jessica does. Her ambivalence toward her marriage is believable, and there is a very real moment when she wonders if a man's sexual interest in Nella bothers her more because of Nella's age or because she's jealous.But the central mystery is a bust, largely because there is no mystery. You can figure out who did it pretty early on, which makes all of Jessica's wrong assumptions somewhat frustrating. Jessica herself is not the easiest person to like, although when she shows vulnerability - especially with Gwydion - she becomes easier to cheer for. There is a sort of sub mystery entailing Jessica's husband that is a head scratcher. It goes nowhere and is nothing other than a diversion.I wanted to like this book more than I did, let's just put it that way. I think Charlotte Williams could be a better writer than this indicates.Thanks to edelweiss for the previewPublished on cupcake's book cupboard@VivaAmaRisata

  • Becky
    2018-11-21 03:29

    When Gwydion Morgan hires Jessica Mayhew as his therapist, it's under the guise of treating a button phobia and insomnia he fears will hinder his burgeoning acting career. Gwydion is charming and attractive but soon confesses he's been dealing with another issue: a recurring dream that reveals itself a bit more with each session. Jessica soon learns that a young woman died while working for the family when Gwydion was just a boy. As Gwydion recalls more and more of the dream, it soon becomes clear that it's linked to the woman's death and a secret the Morgan family has tried to keep under cover for many years now. Gwydion isn't Jessica's only concern either. Her own family is in turmoil as she faces the fact that her husband has recently cheated and her teenage daughter becomes entangled with one of Jessica's former clients.This is apparently the first in a series that will feature Jessica Mayhew. It's just been released here in the States but was previously released in the UK.This is a tough post to put together because while I know I can't possibly love or even like every book that I read, I still expect to love or at least like every book that I read. THE HOUSE ON THE CLIFF should have had everything necessary for me to like it - a UK psychological suspense debut described as "pacey" and "intriguing" by The Guardian. The publicity material even compared it to Daphne DuMaurier. With all of that in mind I'd started Charlotte Williams's debut with pretty high expectations, not the least of which comes with the new Bourbon Street Books brand. Unfortunately the book just doesn't deliver on any of those counts. It was not very suspenseful, though the pacing was fine. Williams's writing over all was fine as well. Fine. Not wonderful, not particularly intriguing, and sadly not what I would expect at all from a psychological suspense or as the set up for a new crime series. Jessica Mayhew comes across as a kind of lackluster therapist as well. I hate to say it, but the way her character is set up and the way things play out I was scratching my head the whole time wondering if a real therapist would react in the same ways and seemingly miss all of the various things going on around her. THE HOUSE ON THE CLIFF was an unfortunate miss for me.

  • Laura
    2018-12-06 23:45

    Again, not exactly what I was thinking,but okay

  • Eliza
    2018-11-24 21:46

    This book wasn't bad, exactly. I certainly enjoyed reading it. But I found the plot to be almost shockingly predictable. I am used to mystery novels where the detective is frightfully clever (ha ha ha! Hercule Poirot!) and figures everything our using their superior grey matter while I am still straining my wee brain. The House on the Cliff was so completely the opposite of this that it was almost funny. It seemed painfully obvious that Jessica was being manipulated by everyone (Gwydion, Ar-however-you-spell-it, Evan, Nella, Ewyn Griffiths) but not only does she not realize this, she has long, ponderous thought conversations with herself to show just how completely everything is going over her head. Particularly ironic is the fact that Jessica is a psychotherapist, a profession that seems like it should require some modicum of insight into the minds of others. I feel like psychotherapist will have mixed feelings about this book as Jessica's job seems to consist entirely of listening to her patients, nodding encouragingly, and then sitting alone in her office ponderously (yes, I used that word again!) reading academic journals and having banal insights about Freud. I was somewhat curious about the author's intentionality. Were we supposed to be shocked and surprised by the "twists" at the end? Also, I was a little unsatisfied with the resolution. Ariand-what's-it murdered the girl, yes, but how did she know that Elsa was going to randomly dive off the boat and swim to shore on her own, and that Ar-whatever should be there at the pier (a long walk/climb from their house) to drown her? It didn't really make sense.I love plots like this (British seaside, fancy house, mysterious romantic family) and am always hopeful about finding a new mystery author. Unfortunately, no luck this time!

  • Luanne Ollivier
    2018-11-28 00:55

    I enjoy a good crime novel, but I also really enjoy psychological thrillers. The cover copy of Charlotte Williams' debut novel, The House on the Cliff, sounded right up my alley. "A riveting psychological novel featuring Jessica Mayhew, a therapist who becomes entangled in the long-dormant murder mystery that haunts her patient's family." I was intrigued by the initial meeting of Jessica and her patient, actor Gwydion Morgan. He has a fear of buttons. (It is a real phobia! Who knew?) However as their sessions continue, the button phobia takes a backseat to a remembered dream from childhood. Gwydion dreams of hiding in a box to escape an loud argument. His father is a well known director and a serial philanderer. Could the dream be a repressed memory? Is there more for Gwydion to remember? Jessica herself is dealing with issues as well - her husband has had a brief affair and although they are still together for the sake of the children, she has not forgiven him. Here's my problem - I didn't like Jessica at all. Not as a person, wife or mother and certainly not as a therapist. She crosses way too many lines, all while justifying her actions to herself. Her daughter is involved in a potentially dangerous situation, yet she blithely lets her walk into it anyway. For me, this storyline seemed more intriguing and more 'psychologically thrilling' than the main plot. Williams has a very clinical style of writing, that perhaps suits a psychotherapist recounting a tale. But, I found it dry and somewhat tedious. Although Williams does give us a twist at the end, I wasn't overly surprised by the whodunit. Sadly, for this reader, The House on the Cliff wasn't quite what I had hoped for. The House on the Cliff is the first in a planned series featuring Mayhew.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-16 01:54

    Not Much of a MysteryAlthough her husband Bob, has apologized for his one-night-stand, Jessica Mayhew finds that she can't forgive him. Her anger with her husband colors all aspects of her life including her job as a psychotherapist. Gwydion Morgan, a young actor, comes to Jessica with a button phobia and recurring nightmares. Jessica begins to think that there's more to the nightmares than a mental problem, and at the same time is drawn to the young man. This book didn't live up to my expectations. The plot is fairly obvious, and the main character not very likeable. Jessica Mayhew is supposed to be a psychotherapist, but her behavior often borders on the unethical. Although the setting in Wales is well described, it isn't enough to carry the problems with the plot and main character. On the other hand, I did like some of the secondary characters. Bob, Jessica's husband, seems too good to be true. He may have had an affair, but he helps with the children and is trying very hard to get back in Jessica's good graces. Her daughters are realistic. Nella is a typical teenager testing her limits, and although we don't seem much of Rose, she is realistic. I can't recommend this book as a mystery. However, if you enjoy interesting settings, you may like that aspect. I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.

  • Ann
    2018-11-30 02:47

    Jessica Mayhew is a forty-ish psychotherapist in Wales. One day, a new client walks into her consulting office : a handsome young actor with a strange phobia for buttons and a recurring dream of lying down in a boat while a man and a woman argue. Jessica's attempts to help Gwydion are hampered by her physical attraction to him and the trouble in her own marriage. She feels compelled to find out more about her client's past, and when she hears of the au pair girl who drowned when he was a child, she is convinced there is a connection. She sympathizes with Gwydion's downtrodden mother and is fascinated by his charismatic father. In the meantime her teenage daughter is getting involved with an unsavory older man. Slowly, Jessica begins to understand that everybody is lying : Gwydion, his mother, his father... what is the truth? I thought the mystery was rather predictable - perhaps I have read too many mysteries, but I had figured out very early who was the guilty party. The best parts were simply those where Jessica mulls over the history of psychotherapy, hangs out with her friends or goes about her daily business. She's an appealing heroine - except for her attraction to the much-younger Gwydion and her terrible lack of judgment in embarking on a flirtation with him. I'd say : a fun book for a rainy afternoon.

  • Kelly
    2018-12-06 00:50

    I had high hopes for this book and it really started out well. It didn't seem to fall into a specific genre which didn't bother me. I thought it was a romance but then the mystery began to unfold. It was a little refreshing that you weren't sure where the story was going, which storyline was going to play out. The subplots were well written revolving around the main character's family. But about 2/3rds through, it went downhill. The main character is a therapist but none you would actually want to see. She is hardly professional, zones out during therapy sessions, doesn't seem to care when patients don't show up. She starts to seem like an idiot. I also think she was a stupid parent. How can she be so educated in behavior and not read into her daughter's actions? She saves her daughter from an almost-rape and then 5 pages later tells dad it's entirely fine for their daughter to take her boyfriend into her bedroom to make-out? What? I thought the husband's character could have been written a little better to give us a chance to get to know him better. I wish the last 3rd of the book had been as well written as the first 2/3rd.

  • Bibliophile
    2018-12-01 02:48

    Mostly I came away from this book thinking that Jessica Mayhew is the worst therapist ever - she seems to have disdain for all her clients except the hot young actor, she spends endless amount of time detailing what she's wearing and how great she looks in it, and the author (RIP) details every single action the character takes whether or not it's pertinent to the story. "She opened her car door, put her feet on the ground, stood up, shut the door, and then locked it, and put the key in her purse." (That's not a direct quote, but just to give unwary readers a sense of how this book reads!)And honestly, the mystery was pretty easy to figure out - I kept hoping I'd be wrong and there'd be another twist like (view spoiler)[Gywdion had somehow killed the au pair to help his mother and suppressed the memory (hide spoiler)] but NO! It was exactly what I thought would happen.So why am I now reading the sequel to this mediocre novel? Well, it's a bit better (so far) and also I bought it, and now I have to read it before I chuck it. So onward I go ...