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.
About the Author
Lisa Duffy is the author of The Salt House, named by Real Simple as a Best Book of the Month upon its June release and one of Bustle’s 17 Best Debut Novels by Women in 2017, and This is Home, a favorite book club pick. Lisa received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts. Her writing can be found in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children. My Kind of People is her third novel.
“A poignant story of the power of faith, hope, and love to transcend loss.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“The Salt House, Lisa Duffy’s fine debut novel, is a compelling examination of grief and the way loss threatens the lives of every family member. Though all the characters are vivid and memorable, I am especially drawn to the younger voices as they maneuver in the uncharted wake of their parents, attempting normal lives under conditions that are anything but.”
— Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life
“One of the best human portraits I’ve read in a novel—Lisa Duffy’s The Salt House masterfully depicts a family stuck in the cracks of unhealed wounds and profiles complex behavior with stunning clarity. You’ll need to make room on your keeper shelf for this beautiful debut.”
— Therese Walsh, author of The Moon Sisters
“Lisa Duffy has burst on the scene with this at once heartbreaking and life affirming debut. A lyrical and beautifully written story about love, loss, forgiveness and moving forward, The Salt House confirms that Lisa Duffy is one to watch.”
— Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of Lies and Other Acts of Love
"Lisa Duffy paints a realistic and heart-wrenching portrait of a family trying to move on from an unimaginable loss. Emotionally complex and as atmospheric as the rocky Maine shores where the story is set, The Salt House reels you in and doesn't let go until the final, satisfying page."
— Kristin Contino, author of The Legacy of Us
"[A] touching novel."
"Duffy eloquently displays the emotional complexities of a family going through the healing process. Readers of Elin Hilderbrand or Luanne Rice will enjoy."
— Library Journal
“This insightful, emotionally potent debut is ideal for fans of Amy Hatvany.”
“The Salt House is a portrait of a family in distress. Lisa Duffy explores marriage, family and friendship and the psychology of grief. Impeccably written, The Salt House is a heart-stopping story. Full of emotions, it will grip all your attention.”
— The Washington Book Review
"Duffy writes with sharp insight about the troubled hearts of all her characters.... lean, sharp prose that sweeps the story along. “The Salt House” is a marvelous debut novel.
— Portland Press Herald
"A fine novel about a family deal with loss."
— Providence Journal
“If you don’t mind a good cry, The Salt House by Lisa Duffy follows a family in Maine picking up the pieces after a tragedy shakes their entire world.”