Review: Lullaby Beach by Stella Duffy


No more days, no more times, no more tides. No more secrets.

This book came right when I needed it. I've been trying everything to get through what looked like the biggest reading slump ever but nothing worked. Until Stella Duffy came around and saved the day.

Lullaby Beach took my breath away. It's a multi-generational story about women's strength and courage, even in the darkest times. 
The book starts with a shocking discovery: Lucy, a teenager, is at the beach, ready to pay her daily visit to her great aunt Kitty, who lives nearby, in an old house that is full of Kitty's life and bold personality. When Lucy finds her dead on her bed, she knows something is up but can't really see past the pills and the drink still in her aunt's hand.

This event starts a back and forth from Kitty's past life and present, where her nieces have to deal with the aftermath, trying to find the answers to why Kitty decided to take her own life.

I usually stay away from books that jump from past to present, mainly because not every writer is capable of executing that perfectly without confusing the reader but Stella Duffy is a master of storytelling. I was never confused, never lost sense of the plot and got me engaged the whole time.

Kitty's life becomes the main focus of the novel, the journey of a naive young woman who leaves her small home town for love and for the desire to become someone. But sadly, things escalate pretty quickly as she finds herself in the hands of a man who loves success more than he loves her and that starts ruining her life to become a powerful man.

Kitty is such a strong character. Her love for Danny is so blind and necessary to her that she starts making excuses when he treats her badly, when he covers her in shame, so much so that she stays, even when she shouldn't. Until a breaking point.

Fast forward to the present day when her nieces try to dig deep into Kitty's life to know more, to uncover all those secrets they didn't know she had, some secrets buried in the lies, others closer than they could ever imagine. 

Lullaby Beach is an ode to women, the struggles we have to face, the shame we often carry because of men and their belief that we don't matter as much as them. It's a call to action, to speak up against men, to stop allowing them to have the upper hand and set ourselves free.
I am sorry it has taken so long for me to come forward now. I am sorry I have been part of a conspiracy of silence built on shame - the shame of women forced into sex, of women abused, women raped. A shame that shuts us up and allows perpetrators to get away with it. A conspiracy of shame that names us victims or survivors and does not name the perpetrator for fear of damaging his good name. I am no longer silent.



When Lucy discovers the body of her great aunt Kitty, with a puzzling note and empty pill bottles by her bed, she can't believe that the formidable woman who held her family together is gone - or understand why she has taken her own life. 

Lucy is determined to decipher Kitty's final message. What she finds will overturn everything she thought she knew about her family. 

Lullaby Beach takes the reader on a journey through three generations of a complicated, close-knit family whose joys and misfortunes track many of the most pressing conflicts and concerns of post-war Britain, from the promise and hypocrisies of 1950s London to the political divides and risky freedoms of the present day. 

Get your copy here: 
Hardback / Paperback

*A copy of this book has been provided by Virago but all opinions are my own. 
** TRIGGER WARNINGS: domestic violence, abuse, abortion, graphic description of self-harm. If you think you'd be triggered by any of these actions, please, put your mental health first and do not read this book.