The Girl Who Came Home to Cornwall – Emma Burstall

I have visited Tremarnock many times (four) over the years and it is always delightful to go back for another visit, this time it has taken me a while to go back. But here I am with Emma Burstall’s fifth novel set in this Cornish Village where everyone knows everyone else and everything that is going on.

But the village is going to be shaken up a bit with the arrival of a visitor Chabela Penhallow. A Mexican woman with a very Cornish name. She is visiting to escape from the present and to very much find out about her past and links to her surname.

Chabela is not very forthcoming and is keeping herself and her real story back in Mexico to herself, but she finds herself drawn to Simon who is nerdy by his own admission and is helping her with her family history.

So is Rick, who has temporarily suspended his internet search for the perfect woman and sets his sights on Chabela.

However her presence is upsetting the equilibrium it seems in many of the relationships within the village. Characters you will have met from previous novels, Liz and her husband Robert are still struggling through some difficulties. Rosie and Rafael, the first flush of young love. Loveday and Josh solid and dedicated to each other.

Chabela seems to have got to them all in different ways. Can she explain her situation and perhaps solve the undercurrents of the village that seem to have been their since she arrived?

Going back to Mexico might focus her mind on exactly what she wants, but she still has some demons to get rid of first.

I enjoyed the book, though I realised what was the ultimate happy ending, I was intrigued as to how we were going to get there. Get there we did and learnt a lot out about all the characters, tin mining and the connections between Mexico and Cornwall. Emma Burstall is never afraid to deal with some issues which are perhaps glossed over in or not mentioned, in other comparable women’s fiction books. The stories can have areal impact and this book was no different.

It was great to be back in Tremarnock and reminding myself not just of the characters but the familiarity of the landscape which is a character all in itself. Cornwall makes a great setting for so many books and it certainly works for this series.

Having been a fan of Burstall’s work for a long time, I look forward to see whether we return to Tremarnock next or perhaps venture further afield. Whatever the theme and wherever it is set, no doubt it will have depth not often found in some books.


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

The Girl Who Came Home to Cornwall is out now. 

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