Book Review: The Boat House by Jana D. Barrett

Title: The Boat House
Author: Jana D. Barrett
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date: September 2017
Genres: Mystery, Suspense


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The Boat House
Jana D. Barrett
BookBaby, September 2017
ISBN 978-1-54391-251-7

From the author—

Genevieve Vandermere- Anderson lives in an elite world carefully crafted by her stepfather. While other girls her age are ecstatic to revel in the freedom of summer break from college, Genevieve is forced to return to her childhood home in Hilton Head, South Carolina to play sidekick to her vindictive stepfather. Forbidden from social media and isolated from her peers, she returns home from college, disheartened and oppressed by the actions of her past; the secret that her stepfather uses to control her.

Though she is fearful of the repercussions, Genevieve decides it is time to start making her own choices. She sneaks out of her fortified house to attend the annual beach bonfire. There she meets a handsome stranger and follows him to an abandoned boathouse hidden in low country marshes. Little does she know that this small act of rebellion will be the catalyst for unraveling the truth about her regretful past, and the layers of deception her stepfather has masterminded.

When she begins to investigate the boating accident that tragically killed her mother and two other people, she discovers that her stepfather’s suspicious behavior and control tactics are all part of a greater agenda.

When I first met Genevieve and Anderson, I had to wonder why felt she was trapped with her stepfather, unable to get away. He’s clearly an unpleasant person and, with her mother having died, he’s her only family but this is not a child or young teen. Genevieve is in college and, while it might be difficult to do, she could leave if she really wanted to. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t like her any more than him so, in the beginning, I didn’t have much sympathy for this young woman.

Then, Genevieve seemed to become aware that she had some options and I began to want to see her escape. How she was finally going to do that is the focus of the story with enough twists to keep me guessing , especially about what truths she would discover along her way to freedom. Various characters have enough secrets to almost—almost—overshadow whatever is going on with Anderson.

There are some plotholes and questionable behavior but, all in all, I found The Boat House to be a satisfying tale of treachery and redemption while, at the same time, an evocative setting. My only real complaint is that I really dislike the use of first person present tense but I know many other readers like that style and it didn’t prevent me from wanting to keep reading.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2018.

About the Author

Jana was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina.   An avid reader, she loves to travel, cook and try exotic foods.  She is a self- proclaimed ‘city girl’ who fell in love with a country boy.  Jana, her husband and their daughter live on a retired pasture, with a lovely farmland view.  An animal lover she has Siberian Husky named Blizzard, a barn kitty named Winter and an impolite group of wild turkeys.

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