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Home » Book Review » The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea–the power of secrets and gossip

The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea–the power of secrets and gossip

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The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea

by Liz Eeles

The third book in the Heaven’s Cove series is quite powerful and touching. Freya’s life seems full and satisfying. She has a husband and a job as a caregiver—until her life falls apart and she loses both. Struggling to get her feet on the ground again, she accepts an offer from her half-sister Belinda to come to Heaven’s Cove to interview for a position as the full-time carer for the eighty-three year old Kathleen, a proud and independent woman who is harboring a powerful secret. Freya has secrets from her own past as does Belinda who is known as the town fixer and gossip. Despite their biological relationship, the sisters hardly know each other.

Kathleen’s son Ryan, a widower, has a guilty secret of his own that makes him suspicious of Freya. He locks himself away from most society focusing on the task of caring for his mother and his daughter Chloe. Chloe is struggling with the death of her mom, their move to a new town, fitting in with new friends, and the hormones of a typical twelve-year old girl.

Freya is a talented listener and people open up to her and tell her their secrets. Unfortunately, along with sharing their pasts, people often insist that Freya not speak of their disclosures with anyone. That request is not usually an issue as Freya is not a gossip. In The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea, however, things spoken in confidence can conflict with well-meaning promises Freya makes to various family members. She is honoring their wishes and motivations, but the secrets can still hurt if and when they are revealed.

Freya finds that Kathleen has lied about never having been to Driftwood Cottage on the cliff; the little cottage, now a B&B, holds both an attraction and a revulsion for Kathleen. What could have happened in Heaven’s Cove to draw Kathleen to move there after the death of her husband? Freya wants to help, but the request needs to come from Kathleen herself.

I loved this book. Its plot includes a part of history that affected many families painfully but is now thankfully in the past. The plight of the various characters is moving. The sadness and agony Kathleen suffers is heart-wrenching, but there is also hope in the book as secrets are laid open and the air is cleared. The final upset in the book comes from a surprise source, and the denouement is particularly satisfying.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (A), Romance

Notes: #3 in the Heaven’s Cove series, but could be read as a standalone. Although there are a few minor characters who overlap from the first two books, the plot is self-contained.

Publication: February 28, 2022—Bookouture

Memorable Lines:

But today, a sea view was just what she needed, because the endless movement of the water was calming. Life might disintegrate into an unholy mess but the waves would roll on.

Freya spent some time inspecting the photos, which were of the village from decades ago and people long gone. The pictures were fascinating and made her realize that her current problems were merely a blip along the way of life.

Secrets held power—the power to surprise or delight, to hurt or harm—because they were so often bound up with primal emotions.


  1. WendyW says:

    I have read A Letter to the Last House by the Sea, and now I need to get to this one! I love books about secrets as they always seem to come out att the worst times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carla says:

    Excellent review Linda. I loved this book and also enjoyed the historical information. It is a very enjoyable series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy says:

    Thanks for such a great review… I need to think about reading this series!
    Happy April my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. At first this didn’t appeal, but the more into reading your review the more intrigued I got! Secrets are always so tempting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gretchen says:

    It sounds like a well written book. I don’t mind difficulties and sadness if there is hope. I like the quote about water being calming – that is so true.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Ah, water has always been fascinating to me–oceans, rivers, waterfalls, springs. I love them all. As a young person, maybe junior high, I did a project for school where I combined photographs taken by my older brother with a talent for photography with poems I selected. It was so much fun. That probably would be ho-hum to a teenager these days, but this was during a different age. People didn’t carry cameras in their pockets, and I got to help him develop the pictures in our home darkroom that he built.


  6. I’d like to read all three books someday, thank you Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

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