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the Stranger HB jacket

** My thanks to Jenny at Penguin Random House for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of the night a woman is taken by the sea.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

My Thoughts & Review:

The Cornwall setting of this novel really pours out from the pages as you read it, you can almost smell the sea air and feel the heat of the sun, the way that the author manages to perfectly capture these and put them so vividly on paper makes for wonderfully immersive reading.

This is a character rich tale that showcases the best or worst of people.  Each of the leading women in this book has their own troubles and a past that plays a very important role in their present.
Narration switches between the perspectives of the leading characters, broken up with diary entries dating from 20 July 1940 which count down incrementally to the disappearance of Diana.
Being able to experience the story through the perspectives of the three leading women gives readers a wonderful glimpse into the mindsets of each, seeing their lives unfolding and their feelings towards each other and the war.  The way that Kate Riordan writes these women means that we also discover them through their own thoughts which is more powerful.

Secrets and lies play a huge part in the plot of this novel and the way that they are masterfully woven together makes this an addictive read.  There is a real sense of unease that swirls around the story, and readers cannot help but be drawn in as the characters hint at their respective secrets.

This is a thought provoking read that transports readers to the rugged setting that develops slowly and captivatingly.

 

The Stranger blog tour

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cover91008-medium1

Published: 14 July 2016
Reviewed: 7 November 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Urbane Publications in return for an honest review

 

Description:

We all have secrets…… Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn’s dying wish.

Jocelyn has also passed on a secret – in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn’t seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory’s arms.

Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why. Rosa is reluctant – she has a job in London, a deadline that won’t wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go.

Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory.

Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?

My Thoughts & Review:

Summer in Tintagel was one of those books that immediately grabbed my attention from the description, something about it screamed “read me!” and I was more than happy to oblige.  This is the first book by Amanda James that I have read, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed her style of writing, and I would be keen to read more books by this author.

This is a genuinely lovely book to read, it’s heart warming romance brings a smile to the face of readers and the vivid descriptions of the settings are utterly breathtaking.  I admit, I did google Tintagel to see if such a place existed when I finished reading this, it does.  If you’ve never been to Cornwall I would suggest looking it up, the images online are exactly how I imagined the village when I was reading, Amanda James transports her readers to the setting with her beautifully descriptive writing.

Characterisation in this is superb, they are realistic and engaging.  Rosa in particular is a lovely character that many readers will feel an an instant liking towards.  The slow journey to self discovery is an emotional one that the reader experiences along with Rosa which helps to strengthen the connection to this character.

The paranormal/otherworldly edge to this is written well, it fits in well with the story and does not seem out of place as I was worried it might.

Pace of the book is good, characters and settings are wonderful, the story is richly atmospheric and the narrative is humorous in the right places.  The real wonder of this book is the skill in the writing, Amanda James effortlessly weaves together a story about relationships between various individuals that cannot fail to capture the heart of readers.

You can buy a copy of Summer in Tintagel here.

About the Author:

Courtesy of Goodreads

Amanda James (aka Mandy) was born in Sheffield and now lives in Bristol with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, singing, and spending lots of time with her grandson. She also admits to spending far too much time chatting on Twitter and Facebook! Amanda recently left her teaching role to follow her ambition to live her life doing what she most enjoys—writing.

 

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