Fern takes us back to Cornwall and to a place we have visited before – Pendruggan. If you have read any of Fern’s previous books then you will immediately recognise the characters and the setting. However it can quite easily be read as a standalone novel and will no doubt tempt you to go back and read more about Pendruggan and its residents!
Penny seems to be settled as the vicars’ wife and mother to the gorgeous Jenna, she is also still very much involved in her job as a television producer. She has all she needs in the village, her family and her close friend Helen.
But when her sister turns up to share the news that her mother has died at the same as her popular television programme is cancelled Penny struggles to cope. Her cry for help is noticed but not properly heard and it takes an outsider to realise what is going on as Penny’s past is laid bare for all to see.
Ella is that outsider, she becomes involved in Penny’s life through looking after Jenna as well as working for Penny’s new next door neighbour Kit. Ella though is in Pendruggan for another reason, she has come to speak to her grandmother’s solicitor about her legacy – trouble is Ella is not the recipient that is Ella’s mother who walked out and left Ella and her brother a very long time ago.
This novel for me was really honest as it deals with some rather sensitive issues and I became immersed in the storyline. Penny’s decline of mental health was distressing to read and I wanted to step inside of the book and somehow do something to help. In equal measure I also wanted to step inside and have it out with Penny’s sister about her behaviour. That is how good I think the writing is – when you want to throttle a particular character on one page and sweep up another into a hug on the next.
Along with the main characters there is of course all the secondary ones and the lovely quirikness of village life that jumps off the page along with the setting and the scenery – what more could you want in a book?
A worthy read.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. It has taken me rather a while to get round to reading it.
The Postcard is out now. The new novel Coming Home takes us back to Pendruggan and we learn more about Ella.