Thank you to Libro.fm and RecordedBooks for providing me with a free audio copy of The House on Fripp Island in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Fripp Island, South Carolina is the perfect destination for the wealthy Daly family: Lisa, Scott, and their two girls. For Lisa’s childhood friend, Poppy Ford, the resort island is a world away from the one she and Lisa grew up in—and when Lisa invites Poppy’s family to join them, how can a working-class woman turn down an all-expenses paid vacation for her husband and children?
But everyone brings secrets to the island, distorting what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach. Lisa sees danger everywhere—the local handyman can’t be allowed near the children, and Lisa suspects Scott is fixated on something, or someone, else. Poppy watches over her husband John and his routines with a sharp eye. It’s a summer of change for all of the children: Ryan Ford who prepares for college in the fall, Rae Daly who seethes on the brink of adulthood, and the two youngest, Kimmy Daly and Alex Ford, who are exposed to new ideas and different ways of life as they forge a friendship of their own. Those who return from this vacation will spend the rest of their lives trying to process what they witnessed, the tipping points, moments of violence and tenderness, and the memory of whom they left behind.
Well, hello! This little summer vacation novel surprised me. Going into it, I was worried it might be one of those typical summer thrillers that are entertaining but lack any depth and slip from your mind before the summer is even over, but that was not the case with The House on Fripp Island. While I have a hard time calling this one a thriller, it wasn’t exactly a slow burn either. I was fully vested in these characters and their lives and their vacation together. I think I mostly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the financial differences: Lisa’s family much wealthier, yet not happy. Always trying to make things appear a certain way but feeling hollow within. And Poppy’s family, while of more limited means, were overall better adjusted adults and teens.
I also found this novel to be extremely realistic, even down to the tragic event at the end. This story was so different from other thrillers in that it focuses on the characters and their vacation as a way to lead up to the loss of one of the members, rather than start with that and examine what went wrong. I’m not sure if I am giving this one as much credit as it deserves, but it was just such a nice breathe of fresh air in the midst of a genre that I am growing weary of (dramatic suspense thrillers). I originally rated this one at four stars, but seeing as it has been in my mind a week after finishing it, I am now going with five stars! Highly recommended summer thriller!