Talking Location With author Leigh Russell – YORK
Ten Great Books set in Cornwall
28th March 2021
Cornwall is the latest location for us to visit in our Great Books series. Ten Great Books set in Cornwall. Cornwall is a county on England’s rugged southwestern tip. It forms a peninsula encompassing wild moorland and hundreds of sandy beaches, culminating at the promontory Land’s End. The south coast, dubbed the Cornish Riviera, is home to picturesque harbour villages such as Fowey and Falmouth. The north coast is lined with towering cliffs and seaside resorts like Newquay, known for surfing.
Backofforillsmackee – Cornish saying (‘Continue to aggravate me at your peril’)
Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger
When a young man washes up, naked, on the sands of St Piran in Cornwall, he is quickly rescued by the villagers. From the retired village doctor and the schoolteacher, to the beachcomber and the owner of the local bar, the priest’s wife and the romantic novelist, they take this lost soul into their midst. But what the villagers don’t know is that Joe Haak has fled the City of London fearing a worldwide collapse of civilisation, a collapse forecast by Cassie, a computer program he designed.
But is the end of the world really nigh? Can Joe convince the village to seal itself off from the outside world?
And what of the whale that lurks in the bay?
Intimate, funny and deeply moving, Not Forgetting the Whale is the story of a man on a journey to find a place he can call home
Summer in a Cornish Cove by Kate Ryder
Oliver Foxley is an acclaimed movie star and global heartthrob. But under the glare of the spotlight his ‘perfect’ life – and marriage – is slowly starting to crumble.
Cara Penhaligon is a struggling young Cornish artist, and widowed mother of two children. Life has been unbearably harsh to Cara, but meeting Oliver might just give her a second chance at the happiness she deserves. As each begins to heal the other, the pieces of Oliver’s frustrating jigsaw puzzle effortlessly fall into place. But as the Cornish summer draws to a close, Oliver faces the toughest of choices, and no one emerges quite as they were at the start.
Flight by Isabel Ashdown
When Wren Irving’s numbers come up in the first ever national lottery draw, she doesn’t tell her husband, Rob. Instead she quietly packs her bags, kisses her six-month-old daughter Phoebe goodbye, and leaves. Two decades later, Rob has moved on and found happiness with their oldest friend, Laura. Phoebe, now a young woman, has never known any other life. But when Rob receives a mysterious letter, the past comes back to haunt them all. With their cosy world thrown into turmoil, Laura sets out to track Wren down and discover the truth about why she left all those years ago.
In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but her life.Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.
Somewhere Beyond the Sea by Miranda Dickinson
Can you fall in love with someone before you’ve even met?
Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes.
Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope.
Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it.
Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?
Tremarnock by Emma Burstall
A beautiful Cornish village, a shocking turn of events… Tremarnock is a classic Cornish seaside village. Houses painted in yellow, pink and white, cluster around the harbour, where fishermen still unload their daily catch. It has a pub and a sought-after little restaurant, whitewashed, with bright blue shutters. Here, Liz has found sanctuary for herself and young daughter, Rosie – far away from Rosie’s cheating father. From early in the morning with her job as a cleaner, till late at night waitressing in the restaurant, Liz works hard to provide for them both. But trouble is waiting just around the corner. As with all villages, there are tensions, secrets – and ambitions.
Under a Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick
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?
Diving Belles by Lucy Wood
12 short stories…..Cornwall’s magic casts some pretty strong spells. The stories in Lucy Wood’s debut collection have a distinctly otherworldly sensation to them – slightly surreal, steeped in enchantments and shimmering with an infusion of the area’s folklore and landscape. This is a world in which fairies and spirits and bards circulate freely – and steal just as freely from modern-day television soaps – while humans are tethered by conditions of love, nostalgia and regret.
Cornwall’s physical elements – the stones, the sea, the woods, the moors, the fields – constantly lay claim to the human inhabitants as they go about their daily lives.
A Body in Seaview Grange by Dee MacDonald
Practice nurse Kate Palmer is ready for some peace and quiet in her little Cornish village, but there’s soon to be a murder on her doorstep…
Kate’s retirement in Cornwall hasn’t quite gone as planned – Lavender Cottage is in need of substantial repairs and her sister Angie’s fondness for gin does rather stretch the purse-strings.
So when Kate is asked to do some nursing at the luxury retirement flats in Seaview Grange, she jumps at the chance. The old Victorian house has stunning views of the sea and the retirees are a peaceful bunch. That is, until Edina Martinelli, a glamorous ex-opera singer, is found poisoned in her home.
Edina’s death is ruled an overdose by Digoxin, the same medication she had been on for years. But Kate is sure the woman she met was not suicidal, and with the reputation of her practice on the line, she decides to do some digging. Luckily she’s got the newly retired Detective Inspector Woody Forrest to help her…
It’s not long before Kate discovers evidence of foul play, and there’s no shortage of suspects. Was it the besotted vicar? The ill-tempered stepson? Or perhaps Edina’s neighbour finally had enough of her constant warbling. It seems everyone had a motive, but who amongst them had the stomach for murder? And will they kill again?
A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott
Now she’s been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.
There’s just one small snag: she’ll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.
And Flora discovers she’s not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags.
Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families with the woman who stole her husband’s heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it?
Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?
Enjoy your literary trip to Cornwall – and let us know in the Comments below if there are any books you would add!
Tony for the TripFiction team
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