We'll start at the very beginning, a very good place to start: CORNWALL
Updated: Apr 8
So for those of you who don't know, I am Cornish. Whilst I live in South Wales now, my first 18 years were in Cornwall. With this in mind, I thought I'd kick my bookish blog off with books set in Cornwall. Take a look and see what you might fancy from my Home county.
First up... The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex. Based on a true story....In 1900, 3 lighthouse keepers disappeared from the Eilean Mor lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides. They were never found and there has been no explanation for their vanishing. This is set in more modern times- 1972 and 1992 (and in Cornwall). Emma gives us an answer to the mystery that has surrounded the three missing men for all these years. It's dark (and light). The sea landscape is almost another character as its unforgiving and all seeing and all unknowing. Told from many perspectives, including the men's wives/partner the reader sees the reaction to "her" -the Maiden Rock lighthouse in many different forms.
A really beautiful read that keeps you interested, invested, captivated and feeling the waves beneath the pages. I particularly liked the change in narrators, and also seeing how the viewpoint changed in a reflection 20 years later.
And if that doesn't entice you- check out that cover!!
Charlie Carroll- The Lip
Charlie has been previously known for his non fiction but this is his debut fiction. The Lip is set on the North Cornwall coast and focuses on Melody Janie. Living in a caravan in Bones Break, whilst Melody feels connected to the place, she feels disconnected to the people. Isolated due to family circs and village gossip, and hating on the emmets (what we call tourists- it means ants) ahem we're friendly really, honest... Melody accidentally gets talking to a stranger and events unfold. A really thought provoking back story here that unravels and really shocks with maximum impact and focuses on mental health.
As a Cornish woman, this is the first novel I've read that feels 100% authentically Cornish. This is packed with things to think about and as our perceptions change, so too does the landscape literally both in front of our eyes. Some great minor characters in this too. Can't wait to see what Charlie does next.
The Invitation- A.M Castle
Set on an island on the coast of Cornwall, The Invitation is not as inviting as it may seem. Tregowan Castle (which in my head is the exact same as real place St Michaels Mount) is the place where 13 guests become 12.
A brilliant mix of characters who mostly know each other from university and some have secrets, nearly all have a motive for each other. The victim/s (no spoilers here!) are revealed at around the half way mark so plenty of Miss Marple-ing to do before you get to the big one.
Lots of characters to remember who's who sharpish as it feels that they all get to the castle very quickly and there you meet even more people (well, 13.) A perfect amount of whodunnit cliché's- no 13, its Halloween, its midnight, lights go out- every component you expect from this genre and it absolutely does not disappoint.
Invisible Borders- by Linda Cleary (editor)
This is a collection of writing from 23 women writers with poetry and stories that take you on a journey through Cornwall and beyond.
An excellent collection of women's writing at its best. A really diverse collection that focuses on real themes of identity, relationships for e.g. as well as landscape.
A good mix of poetry and prose and I was really interested in them all. Each has their own great style and on re-reading them come to life even more.
My particular highlights were: Bengale Richards- Cold Fish, Diana Dixon- Still Life, Katherine Stansfield- Cornish/Welsh/Space and Lesley Hale's Porthkidney Dune.
I was given a copy of this by Hypatia Trust in exchange for an honest review. https://hypatia-trust.org.uk/bookshop
Hope you enjoyed my whistle stop tour of my top picks from my home county. Phew I think I've successfully completed my first bookish blog- bob is still swishing as it should...
Bobs and Books