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The House on the Cliff

(Jessica Mayhew #1)

2.88  ·  Rating details ·  564 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Jessica Mayhew is a sharp, successful therapist with a thriving practice and loving family. But the arrival of a new client, actor Gwydion Morgan, coincides with a turbulent moment in her life: her husband has just confessed to a one-night stand with a younger woman. The son of a famous stage director, Gwydion is good-looking and talented but mentally fragile, tormented by ...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Bourbon Street Books (first published March 1st 2013)
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2.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  564 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This assured debut from Charlotte Williams is perfect for fans of the psychological thriller very much on a par with Erin Kelly, Sophie Hannah et al. Focusing on the professional and personal life of psychologist Jessica Mayhew, balancing the demands of a difficult family including a wilful teenage daughter and a snake-in-the-grass husband, Jessica’s life is further complicated by the arrival of a troubled new patient, Gwydion Morgan. Morgan places many demands on Mayhew emotionally and professi ...more
Lesa Parnham
Feb 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014-books
This has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. I didn't offer it to a friend, didn't put it in the Goodwill box, but threw it away. Now, to someone who has never approached the mental health profession in any way, sense or form, this may have had some redeeming features, but as someone who has a lot of ties to the world of psycoanalysis this book is not only inaccurate ind insulting, but would make those who are in therapy run for the hills. Therapists are tightly bound by rules of conf ...more
This book should have been called "A Therapist's Career On The Edge Of A Cliff."

Holy hell. Where to start.

OK our main character is a psychotherapist named Jessica Mayhew who lives in Wales with her husband Bob and two daughters, 16 year old Nella and 10 or 11 year old Rose. We come into this book learning that Bob has had an affair with a younger woman while on a business trip and Jessica is left to deal with whether or not she feels like salvaging her marriage as a result. Meanwhile, she has a
{ U n s o l v e d M y s t e r y }
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to { U n s o l v e d M y s t e r y } by: Given to me for a honest review

- My Description -
Dr. Jessica Mayhew really didn't know what she was getting into when Gwydion Morgan comes in for sessions to cure his phobia.

At the beginning, Gwydion tells Jessica about a dream (or is it a memory?) he's having.
Through different sessions, more of the dream (memory??) unfolds.
It draws you inside.

Is Gwydion's dream really a past memory?

Gwydion's parents house draws Jessica in.
Gwydion's mother tells Jessica she thinks her son is depressed and contemplating suicide.
Jessica ma
Hannah Higgins
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: good, read-2019, average
A lot better than i thought considering the reviews i read. Don't cross it off your list!
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Forty-something psychotherapist Jessica Mayhew has a successful practice in Cardiff, Wales; a handsome husband, Bob; and two beautiful daughters, Nella and Rose. But appearances can be deceiving. At fifteen, Nella is at a difficult age and Jessica is finding it hard to keep the lines of communication open between them. And she's still trying to recover from learning that Bob had a one-night stand with a much younger woman while on a business trip in Europe a month ago.

On the day Jess's story sta
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like gothic thrillers
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: publisher through Eidelweiss
Some of the best mystery/thrillers that I have read have belonged to the genre of "psychological thriller", so when I read the synopsis for Charlotte Williams' debut novel, The House on the Cliff, I was immediately intrigued. Therapist Jessica Mayhew has just met her new client, the brooding Gwydion Morgan. As an aspiring actor, Gwydion has just been offered the role of a lifetime, but he suffers from an unlikely phobia that could end his ability to handle the part. As Jessica tries to help him ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Therapist Jessica Mayhew's professional life is good but her personal life is in turmoil. Her husband cheated on her with a younger woman. Although he said it was a one time thing , Jessica can not help easily forgive and forget. That is why when her newest client, Gwydion has a freak out moment and needs Jessica's help, she decides to pay Gwydion a house visit and stay for a while. To give herself space from her husband. When Jessica arrives at the house, she learns a secret about Gwydion's fam ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
received a copy from the goodreads giveaway... a well written story that I found myself really getting lost in not sure how it would end. very pleasantly surprised with the ending she left where there is hope for the future, but not everything is neatly tied up in an automatically happily ever after, even the ending keeps her characters seeming real
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The House on the Cliff was a novel that I liked, but which was different from what I expected.
The book's cover, description, and the fact that it was listed as similar to ghost stories like Wendy Webb's The Vanishing, led me to anticipate that The House on the Cliff would be a lyrical, gothic ghost story.
In fact, this drama by author Charlotte Williams does contain a house on a cliff, as well as murder, betrayal, and family secrets, but for all that, it is more rooted in the ordinary world than
Dec 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. When I read the back of the book it sounded like an intriguing mystery. The reviews on it weren't great but they weren't horrible and I figured I'd give it a shot.

Unfortunately, what was said in the good reviews I found not to be true. This book, for me, was not a quick read, mostly because I didn't find it that mysterious. I read it slowly because I didn't find myself addicted. It wasn't really BAD, it just wasn't GREAT either. And the mystery? I guessed it n
Sarah Hyatt
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Apparently everyone hated this book but it is the first book I've read in a long time where I just read and enjoyed it and wasn't distracted by how much I HATED EVERYTHING, and that is all I ask for in a book. Also I hate supposedly "good" books (I'm looking at you, The Fault In Our Stars, and your ironic hipster drivel) so maybe I should start looking for more 2 star reviews.

This book was so devoid of strong feelings of hatred that I loved it. Not because it was great, because it wasn't. But b
Moira Riley
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, murder-mystery
I'm being pretty generous with 2 stars. This book is terrible. The therapist is an idiot and completely unbelievable. I mean, I hope to hell if there are therapists like this out there that someone has already identified them and revoke their licenses... kissing clients, private consultations about adult client with parents, trolling clients on the internet, visiting people in other towns to investigate client, recovered memories... I found myself yelling at the main character throughout the boo ...more
Jenny L
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
Elegantly written and a very good story. Easy to quickly become immersed in the life of Jessica Mayhew, the main character, a psychotherapist who becomes embroiled in the life of one of her patients. There are quite a few twists and turns in the story and some good surprises. Overall, a great book, will be looking out for the next from Charlotte Williams.
Renita D'Silva
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
A fast paced psychological thriller that delivered on all levels. Liked it.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Hmmm…yet another book about a therapist whose life is in shambles. This time it’s Jessica Mayhew in Charlotte Williams’ novel The House on the Cliff.

Jessica is married to Bob and they live in Wales with their two young daughters. Their marriage isn’t rock-solid: Bob has recently admitted to a one-night stand, and Jessica is having a difficult time forgiving him. Understandably.

Enter Gwydion Morgan.

I noticed immediately when he walked into the room that he was a remarkably handsome man, tall and
Jona Taylor
May 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Typical of the genre, didn't add any significant twists or surprises. The author made a big deal about the main character being a Freudian psychoanalyst. She may have done her research on Freud but seemed unaware most of Freud's theories have been disproven or are regarded as ridiculous. The main character was too wishy-washy to be taken seriously and the author failed to make the reader care much about the character or the story.
Kristy Lewandowski
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Initially I like it, but I got annoyed with the main character, who was endlessly introspective without being terribly insightful (despite being a therapist) and the mystery wasn't very mysterious (there weren't a lot of available suspects and it was rather obvious.) By the end, I was constantly wanting to yell at the main character or else rolling my eyes at her. Won't read anymore by this author.
AnnMarie Latimer
May 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
I absolutely hated this book. I don't believe in throwing out books and yet I can not in good conscience pass this one on to my friends. Very pathetic storyline and very poorly written.
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

This is what I would like to call: a fluffy psychological thriller. It was just okay for me, packed with an exciting enough plot line that had me starting and finishing the book within a couple of hours. The House on the Cliff was no spectacular addition to it's genre, nor does it live up to it's seriously sinister front cover art, but I enjoyed it's twists, and would definitely recommend it as a rainy day read.

We meet Jessica Mayhew in the midst of marriage troubles. Her hu
Charlotte Williams has great ambitions for "The House on the Cliff" ...trying to write a mystery (turns out average and easy to unravel), a thriller (fails to build any real suspense), and a romance?? (just something to shake my head in confusion/disbelief at). Dr. Mayhew--just call her Jessica--is a psychotherapist with 20 years of experience, who seems to still struggle with daydreaming while her clients are talking to her, can't seem to set appropriate boundaries, and downright dislikes many ...more
Tom Donaghey
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I like a good mystery, a good psychological suspense novel and a good, hidden killer murder mystery, so when I received this novel through the Goodreads site I had high expectations. The story started strong with a handsome male soon-to-be leading man coming to see Welsh psychotherapist Jessica Mayhew for counseling concerning a button phobia which will have consequences when he tries to act in a costumed period piece, replete with seemingly hundreds of the little things. As a Freudian, Jessica ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Welsh therapist Jessica Mayhew has achieved some professional success. Her practice is established, she has a steady flow of clients, and she helps them. Her personal life, though, is a different story. Her husband has confessed to a one-night fling, and Jessica struggles with forgiving him. Every time she starts to do so, she can't escape the vision of his cheating.

They have two teenage daughters, the older of which, Nella, is every bit as cooperative and docile as you'd expect from a sixteen-y
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
When Gwydion Morgan hires Jessica Mayhew as his therapist, it's under the guise of treating a button phobia and insomnia he fears will hinder his burgeoning acting career. Gwydion is charming and attractive but soon confesses he's been dealing with another issue: a recurring dream that reveals itself a bit more with each session. Jessica soon learns that a young woman died while working for the family when Gwydion was just a boy. As Gwydion recalls more and more of the dream, it soon becomes cle ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Again, not exactly what I was thinking,but okay
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luanne Ollivier
Jan 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoy a good crime novel, but I also really enjoy psychological thrillers. The cover copy of Charlotte Williams' debut novel, The House on the Cliff, sounded right up my alley.

"A riveting psychological novel featuring Jessica Mayhew, a therapist who becomes entangled in the long-dormant murder mystery that haunts her patient's family."

I was intrigued by the initial meeting of Jessica and her patient, actor Gwydion Morgan. He has a fear of buttons. (It is a real phobia! Who knew?) However as
Aug 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Not Much of a Mystery

Although her husband Bob, has apologized for his one-night-stand, Jessica Mayhew finds that she can't forgive him. Her anger with her husband colors all aspects of her life including her job as a psychotherapist.

Gwydion Morgan, a young actor, comes to Jessica with a button phobia and recurring nightmares. Jessica begins to think that there's more to the nightmares than a mental problem, and at the same time is drawn to the young man.

This book didn't live up to my expectati
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Jessica Mayhew is a forty-ish psychotherapist in Wales. One day, a new client walks into her consulting office : a handsome young actor with a strange phobia for buttons and a recurring dream of lying down in a boat while a man and a woman argue. Jessica's attempts to help Gwydion are hampered by her physical attraction to him and the trouble in her own marriage. She feels compelled to find out more about her client's past, and when she hears of the au pair girl who drowned when he was a child, ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this book and it really started out well. It didn't seem to fall into a specific genre which didn't bother me. I thought it was a romance but then the mystery began to unfold. It was a little refreshing that you weren't sure where the story was going, which storyline was going to play out. The subplots were well written revolving around the main character's family. But about 2/3rds through, it went downhill. The main character is a therapist but none you would actually want ...more
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