Review: The House on Harbor Hill by Shelly Stratton


Release date: March 27, 2018

Publisher: Dafina

Genre: Fiction


Set in the past and present, The House on Harbor Hill is a murder mystery that tackles the issues of racial prejudice and spousal abuse in the lives of two very different women…

She’s generous, kind, and compassionate–yet Delilah Grey will forever be an outcast in the small seaside town of Camden Beach, Maryland. She takes in women shattered by abuse, poverty, illness, or events beyond their control. But no matter how far she’s come or how many she’s helped find their way back, there is no safe place for Delilah. Acquitted of her rich husband’s mysterious death decades ago, she lives in her beautiful mansion consumed by secrets–and mistakes she feels she can never atone for. . . . Until she takes in desperate mother Tracey Walters and her two young children.

Tracey won’t say where she’s from or what sent her into hiding. But her determination and refusal to give up reminds Delilah of the spirited, hopeful girl she once was–and the dreams she still cherishes. As Tracey takes tentative steps to rebuild her life, her unexpected attraction to Delilah’s handsome, troubled caretaker inadvertently brings Delilah face to face with the past. And when Tracey’s worst fears come brutally calling, both women must find even more strength to confront truths they can no longer ignore–and at last learn how to truly be free . . .

Resonant, moving, and unforgettable, The House on Harbor Hill paints an unforgettable portrait of two women struggling to forgive themselves, take a chance on change, and challenge each other to finally live.


This is one of those books that’s tricky to categorize, it doesn’t really fit neatly into any specific genre but rather it dips it’s toes into several. Parts are set in the sixties and parts in the current day so you get a historical fiction vibe and some of the writing is so beautifully poetic you think maybe it’s literary fiction. Then at times it reads like a straight up contemporary novel, but at the end of the day it all comes together and works really well regardless of the genre.

Delilah and Tracey are the main characters and while Tracey was likable enough, Delilah is the true star of the show. Her past is shrouded in mystery and in the present day she’s a spunky little firecracker, I just adored her. She has a habit of taking women into her home who are down on their luck and this is just one of her eccentricities that made me like her. Tracey’s children were also adorable and added some mischief and light to the tale.

This tackled racial issues in the sixties and unfortunately similar issues that are still happening today giving the reader much to reflect on and I can see it sparking discussion for a book club as well. Recommended for when you want a read but aren’t in the mood for anything specific, it has a little bit of everything and is extremely well written.

The House on Harbor Hill in three words: Eloquent, Moving and Character-driven.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for my review copy.

About the Author:

Shelly Stratton is an award-winning journalist who earned her degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. Another Woman’s Man, her novel written under the pseudonym Shelly Ellis, was nominated for a 2014 NAACP Image Award. A film buff and amateur painter, she lives with her husband not far from Washington, D.C. Visit her online at


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