Author: Liz Fenwick
Published: April 2013 by Orion
Category: Contemporary Fiction
Maddie Hollis, recently widowed, and her step daughter Hannah, arrive in Cornwall to take possession of the house Maddie has inherited. Left to her by Daphne Penventon, someone she never met, Maddie can’t imagine why Trevenen should have come to her. But Maddie desperately wants a fresh start and is very grateful for the house and the chance of a quieter and peaceful life in the country.
Maddie and Hannah don’t get the best of starts to their new life however. The car breaks down before they arrive and when they do eventually get there they find a run down and dilapidated house. Hannah has been in the worst of moods since her father’s death, blaming Maddie for something she’s not quite sure of. But the house seems to have a hold on Maddie from first glance and she feels the connection to it. The historic old house has housed generations of Penventons and has secrets to uncover.
For someone who loves Cornwall and visits often this book was a joy. Even if you’re not familiar with the places mentioned I think the descriptions would make it a destination to head for. Set in the beautiful Helford/Falmouth area the serene countryside contrasts sharply with the turbulent emotions running through the story.
Hannah is hostile and aggressive towards Maddie, trying to hide her fears and cope with her mixed up feelings, while Maddie’s emotions are seesawing all over the place. She’s having doubts about her decisions and wonders if she’s made the right choices.
There are lots of overlapping layers running through, heartbreak, loss, new beginnings, and hints are dropped in at odd moments adding depth and intrigue to the story. The supporting characters are solid and real, I especially like Old Tom and Gunnar for some reason. The old house plays it’s part in the unravelling of the mysteries of Maddie’s and the Penventons' pasts.