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The House on the Cliff

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  48 reviews
When Elfrida Jane Ware inherits the House on the Cliff, she is determined to settle down to a quiet life and forget the man she once loved. But Devonshire is vastly different from the world she had known as a struggling young actres. Ignorant of local customs and attitudes, Elfrida unwittingly gets herself into some rather awkward situations. How she copes with her predica ...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published by Holt Rinehart And Winston. (first published 1966)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  443 ratings  ·  48 reviews


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Dorcas
This is a clean, sweet read and I enjoyed it very much. If you're ever looking for a feel good "palate cleanser " between books, D E Stevenson seems a good choice.

There's really not a complicated plot or even much in the way of twists and turns. I found it fairly predictable but I still enjoyed it. I was debating what to rate it...
Because of its simplicity I thought a solid 3. But you really can't compare apples to peaches. 'The House On the Cliff ' isn't trying to be 'War and Peace ' so you ca
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Julie  Durnell
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk
I loved this story and the setting! It was a very light and satisfying read, enjoyed it but I found Elfrida to be a silly goose of a girl in some instances, which was in stark contrast to other brave moments of her life. Her hiding in the basement or in the woods from people, not knowing how to ride a bike or wanting to learn, or getting a car to visit her neighbors, just seemed strange to me, even though she was living without much income. She had a hard life up until the point of her inheritan ...more
QNPoohBear
Elfrida Jane Ware is a not-so-great actress with a hopeless crush on the leading man when she discovers that the grandmother she never knew has left her a house! Many years ago, Elfrida's mother Marjorie ran off with Elfrida's father much to the anger and dismay of her family, cutting them off for the rest of her life. Now all the family has passed on and only Elfrida is left. Elfrida has never had a place to call home, living her life in the theater and is delighted at the prospect of owning Mo ...more
Hana
Recommended by Bree, Dorcas and Hannah--Thank you all!

The House on the Cliff is the sort of charming, easy read that's a perfect refresher in between big, serious classics or non-fiction books. It is a lovely story, gently told.

When we first meet Elfrida Ware she is standing outside a lawyers office, debating whether to go in. Elfrida is twenty, but thin, worn and tired. She has come through a terribly difficult time, having just lost her beloved mother. Her stage career is going nowhere. Her re
...more
Bookworman
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even better the second time around!

Another delightful story from one of my favorite authors. A sweet, lovely story filled with romance, great characters, and yes, a very happy ending.
Bree (AnotherLookBook)
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who dream of inheriting a house
A novel about an orphaned actress who inherits a house in Devonshire and instead of selling it makes the less practical decision to move in. 1966.

Full review (and hand-picked reading recommendations!) at Another look book

Golly, did I forget to review this one! It's particularly painful to admit because it's a wonderful book. One of my favorite DES reads so far. Lovely, true-to-life types of characters and some small but profound messages you wouldn't expect from this genre of book. Also, unlike,
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Joan
First published in 1966

This was 'of its time' - sweet and honest and dated, but nevertheless contained some lovely thoughts that are sometimes missing in modern romance. The 'decent' men treat women with respect, no one ever forces a kiss on a woman, the elderly and handicapped are likewise treated with respect and there was absolutely no sexism, ageism, sizeism in this book.

A delightful 'comfort' read. Yes, its old-fashioned, but that is where its strength lies.
Hope
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reading
Elfrida Jane is a struggling to make ends meet. Her mother has just passed away and she discovers that her mother's parents (who had disowned their daughter upon her marriage to an actor) have died and left their home to her. The story is built around what she decides to do with the old house.

This was classic D.E. Stevenson with its good dialogue, friendly lovers and the rootedness of place/home. I enjoyed watching Elfrida grow from a timorous, insecure heroine into a courageous woman who knew h
...more
Alisha
Very enjoyable story about a girl named Elfrida Jane, an actress of mediocre talent who finds herself alone in the world after the death of her mother. A friend sees an advertisement in the newspaper from someone who is looking for Elfrida or her mother. When Elfrida answers the ad, she finds that a lawyer stands ready to help her claim her inheritance-- her mother's family's ancestral home, an estate called Mountain Cross. Because of a family disagreement, Elfrida never met her grandparents and ...more
K.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
1966. I can't really put this book in the category/shelf I did for real. Except that she began her writing career in 1923 and this book has the same feel with just a few more modern trappings such as telephones IN the house and black Jags.

Didn't find this one as thoughtful as "Celia's House" or "Listening Valley." I would guess one's motives might change when the time of living through two world wars has long passed.

The house given to the poor, tired-of-life, London girl motif is still going s
...more
Joyce Alice
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read almost all of D.E. Stevenson's books. She was related to Robert Louis Stevenson and is a very good writer. Her books are set in the 30s, 40s, and 50s and have really good characterization. I wish I could find other books with the same flavor. Pure romance, no bad language, explicit sex, etc.
Hannah
Completely charming, cozy and vintage.

Who wouldn't want to inherit a centuries-old house on the cliff?
:D
Rebekah Giese Witherspoon
I love stories about a girl and a house. Gothic stories about a girl and a creepy house. And sweet stories (like this one) about a girl and a cozy house.

The romantic ideal that a home can be an anchor, that salty sea air can soothe wounded hearts, that a little farm (complete with a happy milk cow and sweet little pigs) can be restorative, and that a peaceful forest can change one’s life…I embrace it, heart and soul. Somebody, please, sign me up for ALL of it.

Time was no object here; she had all
...more
Rebekah
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-on-kindle
The House on the Cliff Is a simple sweet story of how a girl out of place finds her place. Young Elfrida has been drained by being in the wrong profession, infatuated with the wrong man, and by the death of her beloved mother. When she inherits a lonely house on the Devonshire seaside, she recovers her spirit and her health and finds the right man for her.
What makes it compelling and charming is it’s sense of place and time, and the deft characterizations including the growth of our shy heroine
...more
Carol Bakker
After a cluster of mournful books, I turned to a light novel to cleanse my palate. (My go to authors in this genre are D. E. Stevenson, O. Douglas, Miss Read; I still need to try reading Angela Thirkell.) Granted, it's not high literature. The plot is predictable and the characters are facile.

But when a girl needs an easy read full of Briticisms, literary references, a charming vocabulary, and a most gentle romance (the R word), this book is couthie and comfy.

Samples of the wondrous words:

dota
...more
Amy
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Elfrida is an actress in London and she is really sad because 1) her mother/best friend died and now she is alone in the world, and 2) she is madly in love with the charismatic lead actor and it's depressingly one-sided. Elfrida's terrible life changes when she inherits the majestic Mountain Cross in Devonshire from her estranged grandmother. Despite objections, Elfrida moves into Mountain Cross because her mother loved it so much. She is still poor because her grandfather was bad at Business (o ...more
Carm9n
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CLM
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't remember this one right away but then it all came back to me - without lessening my enjoyment in any way!
Shareen
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit, charming
This book written in the 60s could I suppose be classified as romantic-suspense, but both the romance and the suspense is so mild by today's standards that it hardly seems right to put it in either category. The story is of a young woman who unexpectedly inherits an old country house in Devonshire. I just love the old-fashioned writing.
Laura
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-tripping
Ho hum. Closer to two and half stars. Devonshire.

This was a pleasant story and the heroine, Elfrida, was mostly likable. A few times she comes off as really...I don't know, priggish maybe? For example, at one point the housekeeper is chatting away to her and suggests that Elfrida borrow her (the housekeeper's) bicycle.

"I've never ridden a bicycle in my life," said Elfrida shortly. She was getting a little tired of the saga.

It comes off as unnecessarily snappish to me. Maybe I'm not "hearing" th
...more
Julie
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a read-aloud reread with my daughter. I have lost track of how many times i have read it. I probably reread it once every two years or so. A young girl, alone in london, who takes bit parts on stage, finds that she has inherited her mother's family home - a large stone house on a cliff by the sea. Reading the book is like going on vacation to a house by the sea, and i like to visit often.
Carolyn
A young orphaned girl answers a newspaper ad to discover that her little-known family had left her a house on a cliff. She leaves a poor, dismal acting career to return to her mother's home. She learns about herself when she takes over the responsibility of caring for her mother's loved home. She finds she can be a strong person in her own right, when a Canadian cousin comes to try and take the home away from her.

connections: The Blue Sapphire (the landlady)
Antonia
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for me because it is a sweet, old fashioned story with a happy ending, but I’m guessing to most readers it won’t appeal since the story is simple and somewhat predictable. Still, this may be my favorite D.E. Stevenson yet because I really liked the main character - she deserved her happy ending.
Erin Seaman
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love D.E. Stevenson's Miss Buncle and several other of her recently republished stories which was why I was looking forward to this. However, there are some darker elements to this story that you don't find in most of Stevenson's work. And her main characters were not drawn as well; Elfrida Jane was kinda annoying. So, readable but not her best in my opinion.
Regan
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally awesome book. It's set in the modern day but Stevenson tells it in that wonderful dark Gothic fashion. You can feel the chill of the fog and the aura of danger. House on the Cliff is billed as a mystery but there is also a great suspense element to it.
Megan
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. It was quite charming. The characters were great, it was clean, and I'd probably read it again. This is the third book I've read by DE Stevenson and I look forward to reading more.
Polly
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, nice-books
One of the first D.E.'s my mother suggested to me, and still one of my favourites.
Cindy
Read it again and want to live here so badly that I am giving it 5 stars now. Some books are not great but they touch me. That makes me love it.
Anna
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this; light hearted but moving. Well written, sweet love story. For anyone who has gone through a very bad patch and would love a chance at a fresh start.
Deb
Feb 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elfrida Jane Ware is an unsuccessful actress living on air, who inherits a house on a cliff in Devon. This book uses characters from the Bel Lamington/Fletchers End duo.
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Full name: Dorothy Emily Stevenson.
Her father was a Cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson

D.E. Stevenson had an enormously successful writing career: between 1923 and 1970, four million copies of her books were sold in Britain and three million in the States. Like E.F. Benson, Ann Bridge, O. Douglas or Dorothy L. Sayers (to name but a few) her books are funny, intensely readable, engaging and dependable
...more