Title: The Summer Party
Author: Rebecca Heath
Published: January 10th 2023
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
An atmospheric psychological thriller about a glamorous family living on the coast of southern Australia. 2023’s most addictive beach read.
A perfect family. A devastating secret.
Summer, 2000. In the tranquil town of Queen’s Point in southern Australia, the Whitlam family marks the end of every season with a lavish party in their clifftop mansion. Here, clutching her first glass of real champagne, the summer breeze intoxicating on her skin, sixteen-year-old Lucy Ross is kissed for the very first time. And then, in the shadows of the rose garden, she sees something she shouldn’t.
Winter, 2019. After two decades of silence, Lucy is back in Queen’s Point. She hasn’t planned on staying long. But when human remains wash up on the freezing beach, the police close the town. Unable to leave, Lucy is forced to rekindle old friendships – and examine old truths – she has long ago tried to forget.
As long-buried secrets start to surface, Lucy must decide. Will she confront the past and tell the truth? Or will she still do anything to protect the people she loves?
A glamorous, escapist psychological thriller set in Australia, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, A.A. Torre and Adele Parks.
Adelaide based author Rebecca Heath presents her debut adult fiction novel, The Summer Party. A gripping double timeline and multiple perspective murder mystery title, this was a great read to kick off the new year!
Travelling back in time to the year 2000, we are introduced to the Whitlam family, who enjoy throwing lavish parties. The owners of a spectacular clifftop mansion, a summer season would not be complete without the traditional summer party hosted by the Whitlam clan. For sixteen-year-old Lucy Ross, an invitation to the annual Whitlam party is like gold. As Lucy experiences her first champagne and her first kiss, it will also be the first time Lucy witnesses something sinister. Moving forward twenty years later, Lucy returns to Queen’s Point. Lucy is keen to make her trip back home a short one, but the shocking discovery of a body on the local beach sends the community in a spin. The police shut down the local town and Lucy finds that she is now stranded in the place that she never wanted to return to. In the wake of this shut down, Lucy reconnects with old friends and she is also forced to look deeper into the events of the fateful night of the summer party at the Whitlam residence. Will Lucy finally uncover the truth?
A brand-new year of books to enjoy and a fresh voice in fiction to follow, yay! The Summer Party is South Australian author Rebecca Heath’s gripping debut. It is nice to meet a new face on the Australian contemporary fiction scene. The Summer Party was an evocative and page turning mystery novel that I found very entertaining.
Dual timeline novels that draw in multiple perspectives are definitely my favourite brand of fiction. The Summer Party seemed to be exactly like the sort of read I gravitate towards and my prediction was right, I enjoyed this one immensely. Situated in the summer of 2000 and the winter of 2019, the juxtaposing seasons of summer and winter was fantastic. I liked the contrast between the sultry heat of the past to the cold blustery winter of 2019. It really seemed to compound the events of this tale. The 2000 timeline gripped me the most. I was slightly older than the main protagonist in this time frame, but I distinctly remember the parties I attended during this season. It was almost a nostalgic step back into the past for me as I followed young Lucy during her pivotal awakening and summer romance. Heath does an excellent job of placing us in the thick of the action in this past narrative. I felt as though I was placed right in Lucy’s shoes as she observed the suspect events that occurred at the Whitlam residence.
In terms of the mystery side of things, Heath does a good job of releasing various clues for her reader to grasp hold of as the book makes its winding journey. The events in the present day heighten the tension and mood of this novel, so you feel as though you are clinging to the cliff face of the location in question. Heath allows us to feel a certain sense of satisfaction as though we have predicted exactly how the murder mystery happened. Then boom, we are taken in a different direction. I enjoyed feeling both clever but also fooled by Heath. There is a strong line of unpredictability and unreliability in this one, I wasn’t sure where to place my trust. I did find a connection with Lucy and I also warmed to the memorable dog Hades in this tale. For me, the setting was the absolute standout. I adored the Whitlam home and the coastal backdrop. Heath did this setting completely justice as a South Australian local.
An emerging and exciting new voice in Australian fiction, Rebecca Heath has produced a dynamite debut. I’m keen to be reacquainted with Heath’s work in the near future!
The Summer Party by Rebecca Heath was published on 10th January 2023 by Head of Zeus – GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Summer Party, Rebecca Heath visit here.