Discovering Cornwall’s historic Godolphin House

  • Book: One Cornish Summer
  • Location: Cornwall
  • Author: Liz Fenwick

Review Author: Rae Cowie

Location

Content

Spending time by the coast is always restorative and so it was a delight to discover that One Cornish Summer by Liz Fenwick revolves around the purchase and restoration of Helwyn House, based on Godolphin House, set along the Cornish coastline. With its crumbling, gothic exterior and overgrown gardens, historian and academic Hebe has dreamt of owning the property for years, whilst for her niece, Lucy, it holds sad childhood memories she finds hard to shake free.

But Helwyn House isn’t alone in harbouring secrets. Hebe and Lucy are both drawn to Cornwall by the need to escape; Hebe from the distressing knowledge that her memory can no longer be trusted, a symptom of early onset Alzheimer’s; whilst Lucy’s heart is bruised following an unfortunate decision in love.

Fenwick’s portrayal of Hebe doing her best to contain the impact of Alzheimer’s by list writing, as her grip on day-to-day life rapidly loosens, is heart breaking. However this is an uplifting rather than a sentimental read.

One of the joys of reading is learning something new and I loved that One Cornish Summer is sprinkled with both fascinating Cornish history and the work of English poet John Donne. All of which mean that a trip to Cornwall, and Godolphin House in particular, now feature high on places I’d love to visit.

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