Review: The House on Biscayne Bay by Chanel Cleeton

Posted April 11, 2024 by Sophia Rose in Historical Fiction, Rating A, Reviews Tags: , , ,

Book cover of The House on Biscayne Bay by Chanel CleetonThe House on Biscayne Bay
Chanel Cleeton
Sophia Rose
Rating: A-

What I’m Talking About:

Foreboding and tragic, a fabulous house by the sea has a history from its first moments. Many claim Marbrisa is cursed when deaths and accidents plague those who come to this ominous place of seeming paradise.  Chanel Cleeton tackles the gothic fiction genre with brilliance when her dual timeline tale captures the tone to perfection.

In the 1920’s, Anna Barnes is there from the inception of Marbrisa when her husband presents her with the Miami estate for a birthday gift- a present she doesn’t want at first and worries his grandiose plans and ambition for high society is too much for their bank account. Florida and her home slowly grows on her though she can’t get over the feeling that something is wrong about the place until her first sparkling party and a woman dies in the bay. The police say its no accident.

In the 1940’s Carmen Acosta leaves Cuba after the death of her parents to join her sister, Caroline, and brother in law, Asher, her legal guardian to live at their fabulous home on Biscayne Bay.  She’s not even unpacked when she senses all is not well in that house. Death follows to prove her intuition is right.  Marbrisa’s dark history has bled into the present, it seems.

First person narration in alternating dual time line chapters. Both women, Anna and Carmen,  sensitive to place and atmosphere and observant of odd occurrences, bring the reader deeply into their stories and show the life of the main character of the story, the house, Marbrisa. All good hallmarks for any well-told gothic tale.

I enjoyed how the setting, period history, social and cultural history of South Florida, and even down to the appearance, demeanor, and dialogue of the characters were pitch perfect. Add in the personalities of the characters, uncertainty of who to trust, and the lovely pacing and tension from the twisting and tense plot, I was primed for the final escalation and reveal of what was going on at Marbrisa and where the timelines would intersect.

A far cry from the author’s usual, excellent historical fiction- okay not distant for the historical part, but the dive into a new genre went so well. I was well satisfied with both timelines and women narrators and stayed greatly interested for the length of the read. I hope there is more gothic coming from Chanel Cleeton’s pen. Definitely recommend.

My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot
Sophia Rose

About the Book:

As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s atmospheric new novel.

With the Great War finally behind them, thousands of civilians and business moguls alike flock to South Florida with their sights set on making a fortune. When wealthy industrialist Robert Barnes and his wife, Anna, build Marbrisa, a glamorous estate on Biscayne Bay, they become the toast of the newly burgeoning society. Anna and Robert appear to have it all, but in a town like Miami, appearances can be deceiving, and one scandal can change everything.

Years later following the tragic death of her parents in Havana, Carmen Acosta journeys to Marbrisa, the grand home of her estranged older sister, Carolina, and her husband, Asher Wyatt. On the surface, the gilded estate looks like paradise, but Carmen quickly learns that nothing at Marbrisa is as it seems. The house has a treacherous legacy, and Carmen’s own life is soon in jeopardy . . . unless she can unravel the secrets buried beneath the mansion’s facade and stop history from repeating itself.

Release Date: April 2, 2024
Historical Fiction, dual timeline
hardcover (336 pages), paperback (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)