Books

An Endless Cornish Summer – Phillipa Ashley

The latest from bestselling author Phillipa Ashley has to be up there as one of my most favourite reads of the year so far and perhaps even my most favourite from the author herself.

Rose has had a fairly bumpy start to life, being brought up mainly by her grandmother whilst her mother flitted in and out of her life, she then faces the ultimate test but she survives the life threatening illness thanks to a mystery donor. When life changes again for Rose, she decides she wants to find this mysterious man who helped her.

The search takes her to Cornwall, far from the flat fens of Cambridge and the surrounding area. With the pull of working on an archaeological dig, Rose finds herself in the little fishing village of Falford.

She makes an impact instantly on two bothers, Joey and Finn and it could possibly be that one of them is the man she has been looking for. Being drawn into the community of Falford, she finds herself a flat with wonderful sea views over the local Cornish Magick shop and befriends Oriel. Wanting to experience everything she can, she finds herself involved in learning to sail and explaining where some of the myths and legends come from to sceptic Oriel.

Friendships and relationship blossom and Rose seems to blossoming most of all. She realises that she enjoys this way of life especially when she can combine it with her own work as well. Of course nothing is going to run smoothly, whether is squally storms at sea, returning loves or the discovery of magical swords there is much to keep you turning the page.

If you want to experience Cornwall and the sea without getting your feet wet, then this book does it in abundance. I learned just as much about sailing as I did about stone circles and the legends. Phillipa Ashley had me caring about the main character Rose from the outset and even if some of the characters were slightly full of themselves, as the story goes on you can sort of start to like them too!

A perfect read to bring sunshine into your life whatever the time of year and a book I didn’t want to end!

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

An Endless Cornish Summer is out now.

Books

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace – Kate Forster

Tressa has found her niche in Port Lowdy, in a brightly coloured cottage by the sea. She has a part time job at the local newspaper and spends the rest of her days painting and battling with her cat, Ginger Pickles.

Dan is angry, angry is his job title in Dublin on a newspaper. But when a journalistic story goes wrong Dan finds himself out of a job, out of his home and with only his dog for company nothing else to live for.

He needs to escape, when a part time journalist role comes up at the local paper in Port Lowdy he thinks this will be the furthest he can get form Dublin so he can reassess want he wants from life and can not tax his brain too much reporting on local issues.

What Dan did not bank on was Tressa.

What Tressa did not bank on was Dan.

Both with strong personalities and ways of doing things,  these two clash quite early on, but as readers we can see the sparks fly off the page between them and it doesn’t take long for cupid to weave her magic. But Tressa is not one for looking at herself too deeply, her relationship with her parents a large factor in this but Dan has a way of looking at everyone deeply and can see that even the most ordinary of person has an extraordinary tale to tell.

Port Lowdy it seems is a bed of underlying romance. Newcomer Remi has a secret to tell and whilst given a new opportunity in the local pub he is desperate to say sorry about what happened and find his one true love.

Penny has always lived in Port Lowdy, her actions when she was a young girl caused problems and since then she has never given her heart to anyone else. But after all this time is her heart only calling for one person?

This is a joyful book to read, the sparky relationship between Dan and Tressa is great fun albeit tinged with some sad moments which made me cry. All the characters had that something in their descriptions and actions that me want to read more, made me care or simply made me want to shout.

A well rounded book full of colourful characters and a cosy story to while away the days when we can all go and find our own love on Mermaid Terrace.

 

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

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace is published on 4 February. 

Books

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. 

Books

The Little Shop in Cornwall – Helen Pollard

Where better to be than by the sea. Where you can breathe in the clean air, listen to the waves crash and retreat against the shore as your worries drift away and you start to heal.

What better place to visit that Healing Waves, Claudia’s little shop at the end of the beach road. Claudia escaped here from her frantic city life and re-balanced herself and made friends with the locals, her neighbours and the tourists that come to her shop. With her cat Pudding, Claudia has found the life she wants.

Jason and teenage daughter Millie, have moved to be nearer Millie’s grandparents. Life has been tough for them in recent months and Jason is hoping a change of scenery will be what they both need. What he wasn’t expecting was Millie’s fascination with Claudia’s shop and her interest in things that Jason has no understanding of.

Jason is scared of the unknown which is why he has taken an immediate dislike to what he thinks Claudia stands for. When he learns of a new shop opening in the seaside town and that Claudia’s friends are perhaps slightly usual he starts to question the rights and wrongs of his move and the influence over impressionable teenagers.

But it seems that someone else in the town is none too take with Claudia and her shop, as natural disasters and man made ones seem to hit Claudia perhaps there is some sort of curse hanging around.

Help comes for Claudia where she least expects it and it seems that opposites can attract and that getting under the skin of someone and making them question is perhaps what she has been missing in life.

A bright sunny book which has so much spark in it, the interaction between some of the characters jumps right off the page and you find yourself fully immersed in the story and the setting. I was writing my own worries and problems on the sand and watched the sea take them away.

Escape to Cornwall this summer and heal all your troubles and meet some new friends. I hope we get to return here again soon.

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

The Little Shop in Cornwall is published on 15 June. 

 

 

Books

A Perfect Cornish Escape – Phillipa Ashley

Back in the Cornish town of Porthmellow from Ashley’s earlier books but you need no prior knowledge of the regular inhabitants of the place, you just need a love of Cornwall and cracking good story.

Marina’s husband was lost at sea almost seven years ago and time is a healer and when it comes to when she can finally let go and move on. Can she really move on to another love though?

Tiff is Marina’s cousin and comes down to Porthmellow to stay with her to let the dust settle on her journalism career after causing a bit of a stir with a well known politician.

Lachlan is in Cornwall to escape, he clearly has a story to tell. His scars go deeper than those on his face, there is a story to tell but who is the best person he can tell it to.

Dirk, a resident and local of Portmellow who has been on the receiving end of being well known by association is a bit stormy. He is used to storms, his manner creates them buthe is also quite used to the ones out at sea as well, working on the lifeboat.

All of them are escaping from one thing or another and it seems that maybe by doing so they can start to heal and move on with their lives. Because you can never really escape love.

Plenty is packed into this novel as well as the relationships that are forged, along with a few complications just to make it difficult. Life is not easy and it is great to read a book where the happy ending is perhaps not inevitable and that changes have to be made on a all sides to find a new way, a new life.

The book is full of everything that you might love about a seaside harbour town. I was taken away to where you can see the lifeboat launch dealing with everyday occurrences when tourists and sometimes locals don’t listen to those that know best. It was if the clear blue water, was washing over my feet as I walked whilst the sunset along the shore and I could be swept away with the warmth of the sun as well as the love. I wanted to sit and eat chips and devour them and the story. Utter bliss.

Another great visit to Porthmellow and I hope we get to go back soon.

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

A Perfect Cornish Escape is published on the 11 June. 

 

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

The Newcomer – Fern Britton

When Angela Whitehorn arrives in Pendruggan she wants to make an impact. She is only going to there for a year and she wants to make a success at her first job.

Angela Whitehorn likes to be called; Angela, Reverend Whitehorn or Vicar. Because that is who she is – she is to take on the parish of Pendruggan when the current incumbent Simon, his wife Penny and daughter Jenna go to Brazil.

With her handsome husband Robert and teenage daughter Faith, Angela hopes she has all the support of her family as well as the new friends she hopes to make. When her Aunt Mamie becomes a fixture at the vicarage as well and embracing village life wholeheartedly, her year in Pendruggan seems a positive move.

She has new ideas for the village, empowering women through other means than the rigid structure of the WI, a pet blessing service and being there for people who need her help, spiritually or otherwise. Having been through a tough time herself, Angela wants to share her experiences and pass on what she has learnt.

Unfortunately there are others who think Angela is not the right person for the job and should go back from whence she came. When the letters start it seems as if this quiet Cornish village is not so quiet after all. But who is sending them? I had my suspicions and I so wanted it to be one person, if only for them to get their comeuppance – they did but for very different reasons! The culprit well I didn’t see that coming but how upsetting it was.

This book whilst being jam-packed full of Cornish weather and scenery that leaps off the page and paints a picture of the grey skies as well as the blue ones. Also deals with some serious and not so serious subjects in a sensitive and well thought out way. Cancer, abuse, drugs, jealousy, friendship, witches and curses are all covered in this book.

Personally I would like to have known a bit more about how Simon and family were tackling life in Brazil but that was just me. The story has enough to keep you reading and also embraces the village of Pendruggan and it’s inhabitants and if this is the first time you have visited then go back and read the others and find out what a real sense of community can mean to some people.

I do hope Fern Britton returns to Pendruggan again.

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

The Newcomer is published on 7th March. 

Books

Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van – Ali McNamara

I am back in Cornwall again with another author who has visited before, it is three years since I was in St Felix with The Little Flower Shop by the Sea which got me back reading and loving this author’s work.

This time though St Felix is welcoming Ana as she comes to claim the camper van she has been left in her will by her closest friend Daisy when she passes away.

Ana is struggling to come to terms with her friends bequest as camping and certainly being away from a city is everything that Ana is not! But it seems there are other forces at work and it is not just the sea air and the fish and chips that is going to keep Ana in St Felix.

In the process of getting Daisy renovated by the intriguing Irish man Malachi they discover a number of old postcards written by someone called Lou to a Frankie and seemingly never sent. What story are they telling of Daisy and what really happened to them. Helped by local antique shop owner Noah, Ana tries to piece together the past as she seemingly settles into the present in St Felix and starts to feel very much at home there and with Noah.

A search goes on for the mysterious Lou and Frankie, Ana’s relationship with Noah and changes and they are thrown together when they take a trip to Brighton which is in the past for both of them. Will the past be the answer to the future?

However, all Ana can see is signs and they all seem to have taken on an eighties theme – that was her favourite era of music, even though she was born towards the end of the decade and it is what drew Daisy and her together as friends. Surely these signs are pointing Ana on to her new life.

The mysterious and at some points magical moments of this novel had me hooked, even if I did work out who Malachi was, it did not spoil my enjoyment of the story, the escapism to a beautiful place in the country and perhaps the possibility that I might not be so averse to a camper van!

A lovely uplifting book to read to soothe the soul. I hope we get to return to St Felix, because there has to be more to learn about that lovely place and all its residents. But them I am a sucker for a good saga.

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

Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van is out now.

 

Books

Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: The Starfish Studio – Phillipa Ashley

And so ends another magical trilogy from Phillipa Ashley where we have returned to those gorgeous little isles (more commonly known as Scilly Isles) and catch up with some of the locals we have grown to love and know in the first two novels and meet some new characters too.

Poppy and her boyfriend Dan come to Cornwall on holiday, to escape the inner city life they are living they fall in love with place so much, and with the little Starfish Studio Dan makes the decision that they should have what they know behind and take it on and live there all the time.

It sounds like the perfect dream for Poppy, that is until Dan changes his mind about going and also about Poppy being his girlfriend with only days before she goes.

Poppy therefore arrives to lick her wounds, heal and make a success of this little studio. She learns to accept help from the locals – Jake the landlord’s grandson is tasked to make sure she settles in well but he is very distracted as well as being ruggedly handsome too!

Poppy does everything she can to get the studio to open to catch at least some of the summer season – despite leaks, territorial cats and obnoxious artists she manages to open and then Dan suddenly reappears…….just when she thought her emotions were more stable.

Like the previous two novels I was immediately transported to these little Isles and could see myself calling in at the Starfish Studio to purchase a piece of unique artwork to remind me of the journey I had taken. Of course I can’t, I have been reading a book and that is the skill of the author I was drawn right in. I wanted to know why Jake is distracted by his past, why Leo is flitting from one to another and how can I possible wipe the smug look of Minty’s face?

This and all the other previous novels will take you away to a wonderful place and give you a great story at the same time.

I wait with anticipation to see what Phillipa is going to write next and where she is going to take us.

 

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

Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: The Starfish Studio is out now.

 

Books

Annie’s Summer by the Sea – Liz Eeles

Back in the beginning city girl Annie came down to Cornwall when she receives an unexpected letter from an unknown relative, Great Aunt Alice. Annie ends up staying and becoming part of the community of Salt Bay.

In this the final part of the trilogy we get to see how far Annie has come from that city slicker to a real Cornwall local who is loved by all.

Of course it is not going to be an easy ride and when Annie finds that she has been left the house she now calls home, Tregavara House she realises being away from the city is not merely a whim or fancy it has become reality. Even more so now her gorgeous boyfriend Josh has moved into the house and along with step sister, Storm and Emily Alice’s carer they make for an interesting story.

Of course being married to Josh would certainly mean Annie will stay in Cornwall, but when a fierce summer storm batters Salt Bay the house shows its true colours and worth and along with ruining Annie’s wedding dress it might ruin her chance to have a permanent home.

It was great to return to Salt Bay and catch up with everyone there. I disliked Annie at the very beginning of this trilogy and so was thrilled that the writing was so good that I actually changed my mind and grew to love her and everyone else in Salt Bay.

I will be sad to be leaving but know that now I am gone, that all will be well,.

A great trilogy for a summer read that gives you that feel good factor long after you have finished the book.

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

Annie’s Summer by the Sea and the first two novels are out now.