Books

The Sea Gate – Jane Johnson

I always like to challenge myself with new authors, it can be too easy to get into the habit of sticking to the same all the time and eventually they can have a tendency to merge into one big story.

The premise for this book intrigued me and still does now, long after I have finished it.

Rebecca along with her brother is sorting through her recently deceased mother’s possessions. Rebecca stumbles across some letters from an elderly cousin, Olivia in Cornwall. Feeling rather bereft at the death of her mother and the worry of her own health, Rebecca takes herself off to Cornwall.

Olivia’s letters tell of her desperation to save her home Chynalls. Olivia is in hospital after a fall, the circumstances are all a bit sketchy and she will not be discharged unless the house is brought up to a good standard.

There lies Rebecca’s first problem. Add to that the lack of money, the foul mouthed parrot and the discovery of what looks to be a finger in the cellar and Rebecca finds herself caught up in Olivia’s mysterious life.

As Rebecca starts to rebuild the house, which she sees as her mother’s dying wish, but she stats to rebuild herself and rebuild the life of Olivia. The book use the dual time narrative to show what Olivia was like as a young girl during the Second World War and what life was like and why perhaps events of the present day were all tied up with the long held secrets of the past.

This book starts slowly, perhaps too slowly, but perseverance with the plot and the characters sees a story develop from the house and the page. This was an intriguing read and I was swept away with the plot and the unlikeability of some of the characters and of course the wonderful setting of Cornwall which added it’s own unique charm to the story.

A book to sweep you away into the past from the present.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

The Sea Gate is published on 4 June 2020.

 

 

Books

May Roundup

Another month in ‘lockdown’ and the weather has been glorious which has probably been a blessing in disguise. As measures are carefully eased everyone waits to see what happens. In the meantime the reading and enjoying the simple things in life continues.

May has been quite a bumper month of reading, warm nights, nothing on the TV and good reads makes it all that much easier to get lost in a good book. There have been plenty.

I plough on with the amount I have requested from Netgalley and it times it panics me when I see what I have requested and read and then I see what I have on my shelf and wonder when I will ever get to it all?

Emylia Hall – A Heart Bent out of Shape has been one of the books languishing on my shelf for a while and so it made its way off there and was the sort of fiction book I have not read for a while. A coming of age novel, first loves and losses and with the backdrop of Switzerland it was a well crafted novel. This author’s work has always been excellent.

Of course knowing the author is always a draw when picking up a new book and all the books I have read this month have been by authors known to me, I have not branched to try something new. Which probably given our current circumstances is the right thing. There is something comforting by the familiar.

Always comforting and fascinating is Agatha Christie – The Body in the Library, read for the Christie 2020 challenge, ironically seen so many times on the television I haven’t actually read the book. Remedied now and one of the most clever pieces of Christie in my opinion.

Sticking with crime and set in similar times and locations I was delighted to rejoin Kitty Underhay in Helena Dixon – Murder at the Playhouse. The third in this serious and such perfect escapism, there are many on these ‘types’ of novels out at the moment, but this is the series I have decided to stick with and enjoy. I think the hotel setting and base for the main characters is one of the interesting draws for me.

As is train journeys and big houses and Sara Sheridan – Highland Fling in the latest Mirabelle Bevan novel is one of the best. We get to see more between Mirabelle and Alan and start to learn a lot more about their past.

So from the thirties, the fifties I was taken back to the Second World War with Fern Britton – Daughters of Cornwall. A multi narrative novel which was not what I was expecting from this author but is a sheer delight of mystery and intrigue made all the more interesting with the backdrop of Cornwall. Fern has definitely added another string to her bow with this novel.

Sticking in Cornwall as many books I read just happened to be set there is Helen Pollard – The Little Shop in Cornwall. Her latest takes us to the shop Healing Waves and the residents of the little seaside community. A book full of passion and frustration and a bit of balm to soothe.

Still in Cornwall, (the place must be over run with authors!) Rachel Dove – The Second Chance Hotel  introduces us to Shady Pines Chalet Park and the start of a new life for all the characters.

All this up down the country is making me feel dizzy but I was back in Scotland with Jenny Colgan – Five Hundred Miles From You. A book which is packed full of scenery, weather and landscape which adds so much to the story.

Back down to the coast and Brighton for Bella Osborne – Meet me at Pebble Beach, not quite the best I have read this month, felt the title was very misleading as it did seem to me that the beach was not mentioned enough to warrant it.

Finally I got to leave the UK with Julie Caplin – The Little Teashop in Tokyo and went half way round the world. These books could be compared to bringing holiday brochures to life with background and quirky characters from both home and abroad. This was certainly my cup of tea.

I have enjoyed all the books I have read, they have kept me occupied, enthralled, captivated and let me escape from the real world. Where has your May reading let you escape to?

On with June’s travels.