I rather foolishly thought when I picked up this book that I was going to get a book which fitted into the women’s fiction category that sort comes under the terrible sub genre of chick-lit one of those books which you can read and then pass on, it was an enjoyment reading it but that is about it, it does not necessarily stay with you much after that.
What I got was a story with much more depth and in one of my favourite plot devices, dual narrative.
Evacuees Will and Alice are placed at Skylark farm in Cornwall, as far from London as they can get. To them it is on the edge of the world out in front of them the vast expanse of the Atlantic. Behind them, freedom they never knew existed.
They fit into family life on the farm with parents Evelyn and Joe and their daughter Maggie.
As war rages away far from Cornwall, it seems that nothing is going to touch this beautiful idyll. One summer though, everything changes and the consequences of actions are still felt some seventy years later.
Lucy’s life it seems is falling apart. An error she makes at work, leads to her taking a leave of absence at the same time as she discovers her husband has been cheating on her. Lucy returns home to Skylark Farm. Her life in London a far cry from the sanctuary of home and the farm she left some years before.
She returns to a farm that is struggling and starts to learn about the past as she discovers herself amongst the cows grazing in the field and the waves as the crash against the shore.
Of course these two narratives are intrinsically linked and as the past is brought up and resettled, it helps the future and those that will continue to farm at Skylark.
This is a strong story and it does not shy away from the harsher aspects of life and farming, nothing remotely romantic about seeing you future go up in flames, whether it is with the discovery of foot and mouth or catching your husband having an affair.
There was something quite poetic in the way the author has described the Cornwall of the Nineteen forties and that of the present day, whilst the surroundings may have altered very little, the way life moves on has changed. Despite the tinges of sadness in both the narrative there is something hopeful about the story and the fact that everything is cyclical and it can all be reborn, even if it does take a number of years to achieve.
I highly recommend this book, it will affect you in many different ways, if nothing else it will take you to Cornwall and you can experience the magic of the place almost as if you were there.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The Farm at the Edge of the World is out now.