Talking Location With author Leigh Russell – YORK
Five great books set in Cornwall
20th November 2018
Cornwall is the latest destination in our ‘Five great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in Cornwall.
Like Yorkshire, Cornwall retains its own distinct culture, history, language and literature. Recognised as one of the Celtic nations, the proudly nationalist Cornish people seek greater autonomy from Westminster, and a measure of the devolution now enjoyed by Scotland and Wales.
Historically, the county is best known for tin mining, china clay, King Arthur and Tintagel Castle, fishing and more. But now, with the decline of its mining and fishing industries, the Cornish economy is largely dependent on tourism. Just as well, then, that its mild climate, natural beauty and almost mystical qualities make it a magnet for Cornish people and visitors alike.
Let’s take a look at five great books set very firmly in Cornwall, to transport readers to this proud and beautiful county – whether from the comfort of your own armchair at home, or whilst physically in this very special part of the country
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers . . .
Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
Behind the large house, the fragrant camomile lawn stretches down to the Cornish cliffs. Here, in the dizzying heat of August 1939, five cousins have gathered at their aunt’s house for their annual ritual of a holiday. For most of them it is the last summer of their youth, with the heady exhilarations and freedoms of lost innocence, as well as the fears of the coming war.
The Camomile Lawn moves from Cornwall to London and back again, over the years, telling the stories of the cousins, their family and their friends, united by shared losses and lovers, by family ties and the absurd conditions imposed by war as their paths cross and recross over the years.
Mary Wesley presents an extraordinarily vivid and lively picture of wartime London: the rationing, imaginatively circumvented; the fallen houses; the parties, the new-found comforts of sex, the desperate humour of survival – all of it evoked with warmth, clarity and stunning wit. And through it all, the cousins and their friends try to hold on to the part of themselves that laughed and played dangerous games on that camomile lawn.
Esme Posorsky is an enigma. For as long as people can remember, she has been part of community life in the quaint Cornish fishing village of Tremarnock, but does anyone really know her? She is usually to be found working in her pottery studio or at home with her beloved cat, Rasputin. But when an old school friend turns up with a secret from the past, nothing will ever be the same again.
Meanwhile teenager, Rosie, is excited to find a bottle washed up on Tremarnock beach with a message from a former German prisoner of war. While the rest of the village is up in arms about a new housing development, she sets out to find him. Little does she know, however, that her discovery will unleash a shocking chain of events that threatens to blow her family apart.
Tremarnock may look like a cosy backwater, but some of its residents are about to come face-to-face with tough decisions and cold reality…
Demi desperately needs her luck to change. On the sleeper train down to Cornwall, she can’t help wondering why everything always goes wrong for her. Having missed out on her dream job, and left with nowhere to stay following her boyfriend’s betrayal, pitching up at her grandfather’s cottage is her only option.
Victoria thinks she’s finally got what she wanted: Boscawen, the gorgeous Cornish estate her family owned for generations should now rightfully be hers, following her husband’s sudden death. After years of a loveless marriage and many secret affairs of her own, Victoria thinks new widowhood will suit her very well indeed . . .
But both women are in for a surprise. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and the sea, Boscawen is about to play an unexpected role in both their lives. Can two such different women find a way forward when luck changes both their lives so drastically?
Bella Poldark is the twelfth and final novel in Winston Graham’s sweeping series of Cornwall, Poldark.
Cornwall 1818. We continue the tale of Ross and Demelza; of the wayward Valentine Warleggan, whose existence keeps open the old wounds of the feud between Ross and George; of Bella, the Poldark’s youngest daughter, whose precocious talent as a singer is encouraged by her old flame, Christopher Havergal, and by a distinguished French conductor, who has more in mind than Bella’s music; of Clowance, the Poldark’s widowed daughter, who considers remarriage to one of two rival suitors; and of a murderer who stalks the villages of west Cornwall.
Andrew for the TripFiction Team
Which titles would you add to this list? Any you would like to add to our database? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below, and you can buy any of these books through TripFiction by clicking on the link on any book page.
Other posts in our ‘Five great books set in…’ series:
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