Skip to main content
The Vacation House: A Novel

The Vacation House: A Novel

Current price: $18.99
Publication Date: December 26th, 2023
William Morrow Paperbacks
Off the Beaten Path Bookstore
3 on hand, as of Apr 16 7:23am
On Our Shelves Now


The Edgar-nominated, #1 internationally bestselling author of The Daughter and The Playground weaves a breathtaking tale of betrayal, family, and secrets from the past in this crackling novel of psychological suspense.

Two women. Two secrets. One terrible night.


The vacation house is a luxurious getaway for a wealthy English family, windows open to sun and the sea, a sparkling swimming pool, and a verdant garden. One hot summer night, while the parents and their friends drink wine and amuse themselves, a young woman—the teenage daughter of the Greek caretaker—ventures for a walk on their private beach. Her life will never be the same again.


Julia is the perfect spouse and mother. Slender, blonde, expensively dressed, she’s the classic “yummy mummy” of high society: cook, organizer, arm candy, and speechwriter to her influential husband.

But behind her winning smile is a stifled woman trapped in a gilded cage, stricken with anxiety and perfectionism. When Julia meets Laurel, a therapist who promises to help her find fulfillment, Julia opens herself up to the hope of a different future.


What happened in Greece all those years ago that binds these two women together? And will uncovering the truth destroy everything… or set them free?

About the Author

While working full time as a physician, Jane Shemilt received an M.A. in creative writing. She was shortlisted for the Janklow and Nesbit award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for The Daughter, her first novel. She and her husband, a professor of neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol, England.

Praise for The Vacation House: A Novel

“A beautifully written, suspenseful portrait of a settled life fracturing violently.” — Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author, on The Patient

“Mind games and cunning betrayals . . . [a] well-constructed psychological thriller. For fans of Carol Goodman and Mary Higgins Clark.” — Booklist on The Patient

“BRILLIANT, and frighteningly credible, partly because the characters are so beautifully realized. Exquisitely written, utterly gripping and almost unbearably tense—you’ll be thinking about it long after you read the final page.” — Lucy Foley, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on The Playground

“Countless psychological thrillers get compared to Big Little Lies; Shemilt is the real deal.” — People on The Playground

“In The Daughter, what appears to be a simple abduction soon turns into something far more complex and baffling. Jane Shemilt builds layer upon layer of tension in a thriller you won’t be able to put down.”  — Tess Gerritsen