Review: The Lost Summers of Driftwood by Vanessa McCausland, by Shelley Carter

Title: The Lost Summers of Driftwood
Author: Vanessa McCausland
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia (2020)

This book was provided by NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.

From the outside, it seems as though Phoebe has it all. A successful job at luxury champagne company Joet et Halo, a relationship heading for marriage, and the perfect urban lifestyle. That is until a vacation that was set to end in an engagement took a sharp turn and left her feeling lost and alone. When an opportunity arises to visit Driftwood, a small community in which her now-deceased sister once resided, Phoebe takes it.

As a child, Phoebe would spend summers at Driftwood with her two sisters, Camilla and Karin. The sisters befriended Tommy and Jez, brothers who resided there full-time. We soon realise that Jez and Phoebe have history together, and her arrival brings forth a flood of nostalgia and unresolved feelings towards Jez.

The main thread of plot that runs through The Lost Summers of Driftwood is the mystery behind Karin’s suicide, the first anniversary of which is approaching. Phoebe doesn’t believe it was a suicide, and that someone within Driftwood may be responsible for her death. While still coming to terms with Karin’s death, she attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the way in which the author not only constructed the setting, but also developed characters that were all complementary to each other. The group dynamic of the residents in Driftwood was outstanding and believable. The tension between Phoebe and Jez built at a steady pace, and the conflict between them was realistic. The author did a great job making the reader feel as though they were living at Driftwood too.

I also really enjoyed the way in which the story was wrapped up, as some books in this genre rush to a conclusion and don’t maintain the tension that has been built throughout the story. There was a sense of urgency at the end, that left me feverishly turning the pages in order to know what really happened to Karin and who was responsible. I don’t usually feel caught off guard by plot twists, but this one surprised me!

If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty, definitely pick this one up. The mystery element combined with the personal issues and character interactions were reminiscent of Moriarty’s writing style. This is the perfect book to curl up with by the pool, or at the beach under the refuge of an umbrella.

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